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Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Coalition
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Teaching Leadership Skills to Family Members
Performance... Accept performance at your children's level of ability. If you impose a level of performance on your children that is decidedly "adult" you will find that you become the real leader and they become the dreaded "go-fors." When you align your actions with this philosophy you will get the following results:
  • Your children will exhibit an "I did it!" or a "We did it!" attitude.
  • You should feel a little cheated out of due recognition as the adult "Advisor."
When a program or event is less than successful, you may feel that it reflects poorly on you as the leader. But remember that you are trying to encourage personal ownership of assignments on the part of your children and it is critical that you NOT rush in at the last minute to make it all come together and work. It is more important for your children to learn to take accountability for their assignments than for you to safe face by saving things at the last minute. Give appropriate feedback...

Everyone involved in a project will experience things differently. It is useful to get feedback from as many people as possible to help your children see how they are being seen by others. Feedback should consist of both the positive and the negative experiences of those involved in the project.
  • Teach your children to resist being defensive when receiving negative feedback.
  • Teach them to say, "Thank you for caring enough to be honest with me" and to file the information they receive as food for thought.
  • Teach them to write down the feedback they receive and to review that information privately and honestly.
Require accountability at follow-up evaluation meetings. Ask those who had assignments to report what they did that worked as well as what they did that didn't work and have them propose working solutions to move the project forward. Practice Good Management Skills... An effective leader teaches by example as well as by precept.
  • Be on time to appointments.
  • Be organized. Keep an accurate calendar of events and commitments.
  • Follow through on your promises. Thank those who help and participate and give praise in abundance.
  • Respect the established rules or procedures in meetings.
  • Sacrifice time and attention when necessary.
  • Trust in and demonstrate confidence in family members' abilities to complete assignments well.
Edify family members...

Treat your children as important people and let them know that you care about their leadership and appreciate what they are doing. Treat them like adults...but remember that they are children or teenagers.
  • Meet as a family council on a regular basis. Teach basic skills and allow family members to grow together as a team.
  • Allow older children to have an opportunity to teach basic skills to younger siblings. This allows them to pass on skills they have learned and it does wonders for the image of leadership among teenagers as well as younger children.
  • Run a Mid-Year Evaluation or Retreat. Ever notice how enthusiasm is high at the beginning of a 12-month project but tends to tail off as the year nears completion? While this can be frustrating, it is a normal pattern. So, take your family on a retreat and run a mid-year evaluation to help motivate them and gear them back up.
  • Have a year end thank you event when your family has completed the 12 Month E-Prep Program. Recognize your children publicly for the contribution they have made to the family. If appropriate, give them a token gift of appreciation.