Leadership for kids: Why it's important & activities to build the skills

Leadership for kids: Why it's important & activities to build the skills

Leadership is essential for kids to develop, regardless of their future career plans. By helping kids develop leadership skills, you can help boost their confidence and help them master a range of life skills. Here's what you need to know.


How to explain leadership to kids in simple terms

Leadership is the ability to guide others towards a common goal. It is a life skill that involves various qualities, such as taking charge, responsibility, vision, communication, motivation, and decision-making. It can be found in all aspects of life, from business to politics to sports to everyday relationships. Influential leaders can inspire and motivate others to work together towards a common goal.




What are core leadership skills?

Core leadership skills are the skills that are essential for all leaders, regardless of their industry, position, or experience level. These skills are the foundation of effective leadership and can help leaders succeed. Some of the most critical core leadership skills include:


  • Communication: Leaders need to communicate effectively with others, both verbally and in writing. They need to articulate their vision, goals, and expectations clearly. They also need to be able to listen to and understand their team members' needs, concerns, and feedback.

  • Decision-making: Leaders need to be able to make sound decisions promptly. They need to be able to weigh the pros and cons of different options and make the best decision for the team or organisation.

  • Problem-solving: Leaders need to be able to identify and solve problems effectively. They need to think creatively and develop solutions that work for everyone involved.

  • Delegation: Leaders need to be able to delegate tasks effectively. They need to be able to identify the right people for the job and give them the resources and support they need to be successful.

  • Motivation: Leaders need to be able to motivate their team members to achieve their goals. They need to create a positive work environment and inspire their team members to do their best work.

  • Teamwork: Leaders need to be able to work effectively with others. They need to build relationships, collaborate with others, and resolve conflict.

  • Empathy: Leaders need to be able to understand and empathise with others. They need to be able to see things from other people's perspectives and be sensitive to their needs.


Why does leadership for kids matter?

Leadership matters because it helps kids develop the skills they need to be successful in all areas of their lives. Communication, decision-making, problem-solving, and collaboration skills are essential for school and workplace success and relationships. A study published in the International Journal of Economics also found that students who participated in leadership development programs significantly improved their academic performance.




Can leadership skills be taught?

Leadership skills can be taught to kids in a variety of ways:

  • Provide kids with opportunities to lead. This could involve letting them decide what to do at weekends or be the class captain, team captain, or group project leader.

  • Talk to kids about what leadership isn't, i.e. not listening to others, telling others what to do and taking credit for things you haven't done.

  • Talk to kids about leadership role models such as Martin Luther King Jr, Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, explaining what they have achieved and accomplished as leaders.

  • Teach kids how to make decisions. Help them to weigh the pros and cons of different options and to make the best decision for the group.

  • Help kids to develop their communication skills. Leaders need to be able to communicate effectively with their team members.

  • Encourage kids to be brave. Leaders must be willing to take risks and stand up for their beliefs.

  • Show kids how to be persistent in the face of challenges.

Leadership activities for kids - how to develop leadership skills

  • Volunteer. As a volunteer, you will need to communicate effectively with various people, including other volunteers, staff members, and members of the public. Doing this can help you to develop your communication skills, such as active listening, clear speaking, and persuasive writing.

  • Get a part-time job. Working teaches you how to work as part of a team, which can help you develop your teamwork skills, such as communication, cooperation, and compromise.

  • Run your own business. This will build problem-solving skills when facing challenges and unexpected problems that need to be solved.

  • Join the Scouts. Organisations like the Scouts offer leadership roles within their troop, such as Patrol Leader or Troop Patrol Leader. These roles allow Scouts to practise their leadership skills, such as delegating tasks, motivating others, and resolving conflict.

  • Join the student council, as this is a great way to learn about leadership principles and gain experience in a leadership role.

  • Join a school club. Doing this is a great way to see how others take charge and what makes a good and bad leader.

  • Run for a student council position. It's a great way to learn how to represent your peers and make a difference in your school.

  • Try out for a sports team or other extracurricular activity that requires leadership skills to develop your problem-solving and communication skills.

  • Be a mentor to other kids to learn how to motivate and encourage others.

  • Attend leadership workshops and conferences. Doing this is a great way to network with other leaders and learn from their experiences.

  • Find a mentor. A mentor can be a valuable resource for guidance and feedback to teach you how to be a better leader.

  • Try something you're scared of - public speaking, auditioning for a show or even rock climbing. Finding the courage to do something you're afraid of teaches you how to take risks and be resilient.

  • Helping others is a great way to learn about empathy, whether helping an elderly neighbour with groceries, donating toys to a charity, or listening to a friend who is upset.

  • Coding: Learning to code teaches kids to think critically, solve problems, and be creative. It also helps them to develop their teamwork skills and to learn how to persevere.

  • Debate: Joining a debate team teaches kids how to think critically, communicate effectively, and defend their points of view. It also helps them to develop their research skills and to learn how to respect the opinions of others.

How can GoHenry help?

Kids learn best by doing. So show them how to manage money for themselves with a GoHenry prepaid kids debit card. Available for kids aged 6-18, GoHenry is a safe way for kids to practice their financial literacy skills. There's a companion app for parents which allows you to pay pocket money, monitor spending, top up when necessary and create saving pots. Money Missions is our in-app financial education tool, allowing your kids to explore various financial topics, from budgeting to saving and more. 





Written by Anita Naik Published Feb 2, 2024 ● 4 min. read