Leadership Woes


Father and Daughter

Being President isn’t all fun and games.  They had a leadership seminar to talk about the values and skills of a leader a few weeks ago which stated multiple times the importance of responsibility.  One of the jobs of an elementary school class president is to make sure your classmates are lined up properly and quietly during the flag ceremony and while waiting to go up to the classroom.

Telling your peers what to do isn’t easy.  Everyone knows that. If you don’t do your job and get the class to behave, your teacher will put the blame on the President for the whole class’ misbehaviour.   Act bossy and you lose your friends.  It’s a tough balancing act to do as my daughter C has just realized.

She came home and told us that she was reprimanded today because her classmates were noisy and rowdy in line.  She told us she was scared to lose her friends if she became tough on them as the teacher wants her to be.  She said she saw how last year’s President, and even other presidents from other sections, were accused of being bossy and holier-than-thou and she didn’t want that to happen to her.  She wanted to be able to do her job well and keep the friendships.

Hubby S, having had a lot of experience as leader as he has been a leader practically since birth, told her something very wise.

“When you’re a leader of your peers, you can’t get them to follow you by threats or anger.  They will follow you because they like you and want to follow you to help you out.”

He advised her not to raise her voice or threaten to tell the teacher or start fights.  He told her to find a way to get their cooperation by cajoling them or making it a game for them.  He advised her to befriend the noisiest people in the group and then ask them to help her out.  Once the noisy people are helping her by being quiet and shushing their own friends, her task is done.  She should never get her way by force.

As they say,”Honey catches flies better than vinegar”.  Sweetness and soft words gets cooperation much faster than harsh words and threats.

How?  That’s the hard part.  It’s her job to figure it out.

S told her that she knows her friends better than anyone and she should find their soft spots.  It’s not something we can teach or specifically give steps to.   She needs to remember that she should be nice about it and sweet talk them into it.  She should try one tactic, and if it doesn’t work, try something else another day.

S told her that the experience seems daunting now but it will teach her a priceless lesson on how to adjust to different kinds of people.  It will also teach her how  to convince her peers to willingly follow her.  It will also teach her the art of charming people which is also a very important skill to have.

She still seems unsure of what to do exactly but she looks determined to follow her dad’s advice.

I’m glad S was there to give her advice on things like this.  I don’t think I can as I have very little experience in this department.

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