5 Leadership Lessons We Can Learn From Kids

— March 16, 2017

As adults we often forget that at one point in our life we saw the world and the people around us in a much different light— one that is very similar to thinking of our child counterparts now. As we grow up and mature, we allow life and rules restrict some of the greatest instincts we had as children. Instead of never taking no for an answer, waiting for permission, or even embracing our wildest dreams, we fall into a strict regimen we believe will keep us safe and drive us to success. Sometimes, however, it’s important to remember that to truly be effective and productive leaders, our old “childish antics” can actually do us some good.


If you’re looking to apply some more out-of-the-box thoughts to your role as a leader, consider the top traits you forgot on the playground:


Recess is Important


The adage “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is concept as true for adults as it is for children. For leaders, it’s one to keep in mind while managing teams. Working the members of your staff to the bone will always have a negative impact, and if you don’t give yourself enough down time, it will wear on you as well. Without giving your team or yourself time for relaxation or recreation, the quality of your operation’s performance will only suffer. You might feel a bit old for the monkey bars and nap circles these days, but be sure to give the office, yourself included, some time to divert energy and recharge at some point during the work day. Little breaks will help you to lower stress levels, solve problems with a clear mind and build a more capable team.


You Can’t Ever Stop Learning


As we grow older, we tend to stop searching for opportunities to learn about the world around us. However, as a leader, this is one aspect of your role you cannot afford to ditch or lag behind on. Leaders must always strive to broaden their horizons and search for opportunities to discover more about their market, industry, and audience. To keep up with changes in your industry you should always be training your brain to be open to learning more about your business. Whether it’s discovering new hacks for business growth or educating yourself about the latest social media marketing trends, you should always be on the hunt for new avenues to grow your business. Not only will this strategy keep you on your toes and informed about your business, but it will also increase your chances of bringing innovative ideas to the table.


Keep An Ear Cocked For Listening


The lessons we learn about listening as children never had a greater need for being maintained than when we are out and acting as leaders in the business world. As a leader, you probably already recognize that most of your day is spent having to address and solve issues that occur. Employees, customers, and supervisors likely come to you with problems they want you to understand and address. As you hear these problems that they share with you, it is vital that you truly listen and work to understand them to ensure that they are solved efficiently. Displaying your ability to listen to the concern and issues of your coworkers actively will do more for your team than just resolve problems, it will also help as you work to build up to greater levels of trust amongst your team. Employees who feel as if they can come to their leaders and have their concerns truly listened to will be more likely to come to a boss with greater concerns that require their help in the future.


Don’t Be A Scaredy Cat


Consider the types of behaviors you see on display at a theme park. Most children are busy wildly attempting to run off to the next big ride or attraction while their parents try to hold a firm grip on them and cautiously survey the area. Such a scenario is deeply indicative of the fact that at a young age, most of the fears we obtain come from adults. As children, we were constantly being told not to test our limits because we didn’t realize that we had them. However, the older we get, these “limits” become ingrained in our minds as fears. Fear of failure cripples us from testing out new business ideas, asking for promotions and even moving on from a position we receive little gratification from. The less we allow our fears to bind us the less we stifle our potential. Barreling towards the edge or playing with fire, are never smart ways for leaders to practice their control. However, as a leader you should allow yourself a chance to explore strange and new opportunities.


Be Honest


Adults and children share the same reasons for lying: they want to avoid getting into trouble. Of course, as we mature, we learn the difference between “certain types” of lies. We sugar coat and tell white lies all in attempt to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings. In business this practice of empathy can be important to establishing yourself as a leader who is at least compassionate. Still, as a leader it’s vital that you remember to do your best to be forthright and honest when you can. More often than not, most people are capable of seeing through or detecting a lie. Consider how this can affect your business as a leader when you lie to others. Employees who realize their leaders have fabricated truths are more likely to copy that behavior.


Avoid propagating dishonesty in your workplace and disassembling bonds of trust with your employees. When you propagate lying and dishonesty, you disable the bond of trust within your pecking order. Remember, if your staff does not believe in your integrity, your business will suffer for it quite a deal.

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Author: AJ Agrawal


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