8 Leadership Lessons I Learned from a Toddler

Leadership is a skill that anyone can learn at any age. And in this article, I’m going to share with you 8 leadership lessons that I learned from my toddler. Yes, you read that correctly. My toddler has taught me some valuable lessons about leadership, so stay tuned because some of these might just surprise you.

Why do we need to learn from toddlers?

Within the first 2 years of my son’s life, I watched him explore the world with unreserved desire. Between the age of 2 and 3, I often jumped in, wanting to help teach him how to do things, explore, and be creative. I have quickly realized that I was holding him back with my boxed adult thinking. Why can’t this robot have 4 arms? Why can’t this house have no doors?

The moment I let go of my adult mind and remembered how it was to be a kid, I started learning so much by just observing a toddler go about his day. I wrote quite a few things I learned from him, so here are 8 leadership lessons we can learn from toddlers.

8 leadership lessons we can learn from toddlers

1. Be fearless

As adults, risk-taking can feel intimidating and even dangerous. But for toddlers, there are no such concerns. They fearlessly explore their surroundings and constantly test their limits without hesitation.

As leaders, it’s important to cultivate this sense of risk-taking and encourage it within our teams. An environment where failure is not only tolerated but welcomed can lead to creativity and innovation. It allows us to push boundaries and come up with new solutions to problems.

Of course, it’s still important to have safeguards in place and make sure that we assess any potential risks before moving forward. But by creating a safe space for risk-taking, we open ourselves up to new opportunities for growth and success. So, the next time you face a risk, channel your inner toddler, and take the leap. You never know what amazing things may come from it.

2. Be persistent

In the business world, you often hear successful leaders and entrepreneurs talk about the importance of persistence. Just as toddlers are persistent in their efforts to get what they want, leaders must also exhibit this same quality in order for their team to succeed.

This doesn’t necessarily mean bulldozing over others or ignoring their input, but rather being determined and persistent in finding solutions and overcoming obstacles. As a persistent leader, you need to anticipate and plan for potential roadblocks and always have backup plans ready.
Being persistent shows dedication and drive, traits that will ultimately lead to success for both you and those you are leading. So, take a page from the playbook of toddlers—never give up on what you want and continue to push forward relentlessly as a leader.

3. Be flexible

Flexibility is an essential skill to have in today’s ever-changing business landscape. Just like toddlers, being able to adapt quickly to new situations and change course, if necessary, can make an enormous difference in achieving success.
Without flexibility, leaders may find themselves stuck in outdated methods or resistant to trying something new. However, with the ability to go with the flow and pivot, when necessary, leaders can navigate uncertain times and thrive in an unpredictable environment.

In addition, being flexible helps leaders inspire and motivate their team, as they can confidently navigate through challenges and come up with innovative solutions. Ultimately, flexibility is essential for any leader who wants to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.

4. Be curious

As a leader, it’s important to maintain a sense of curiosity and openness to new ideas. That kind of curiosity is often seen in toddlers as they explore their surroundings and ask endless questions. Often, our daily routines can breed complacency and the desire to stick with what we know, and we sometimes lose that natural inclination towards curiosity.

Keeping a curious mindset allows for fresh perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking. It can also engage our team members in creative problem-solving, which can lead to innovative solutions. Encouraging curiosity in ourselves and others can lead us to unexpected breakthroughs and propel us towards success. As leaders, it’s important to never stop learning and exploring, just like those curious toddlers.

5. Be creative

In the new era of flexible workplace, it is important to foster creativity among team members. After all, creativity leads to innovation and new solutions for challenges in the workplace.

One role model for creativity and fearlessness in trying new things is the toddler. They have no hesitation or reservations about experimenting and thinking outside the box. As a leader, it is essential to encourage this same mentality among team members.

Encourage them to take risks and try alternative approaches, even if they may not always work out as planned. Not only will this promote innovation and fresh ideas, but it will also inspire a positive company culture where creativity is valued and encouraged. In today’s competitive business climate, creativity can give your organization a competitive edge and lead to long-term success.

6. Be confident

Confidence in oneself and one’s abilities is essential. In fact, confidence can often be the difference between success and failure. Just like toddlers, who firmly believe in their own capabilities despite their lack of experience, leaders need to have confidence in their own skills and capabilities.

This belief allows us to approach challenges with a can-do attitude and pursue our goals relentlessly. Of course, confidence must be tempered with humility and always paired with the willingness to learn and grow.

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

7. Be determined

A determination is a crucial characteristic to possess for a successful leader. Just like toddlers, leaders must have unwavering determination in order to achieve their goals.

Of course, determination doesn’t just apply to personal goals; it also applies to the goals of our team or organization. As leaders, it is our duty to inspire determination in others and ensure that everyone remains focused on the end goal.

This determination can help us overcome obstacles and push through tough times and allows us to reach new heights in our own personal and professional development. So, let’s take a page out of the toddler handbook and never give up on what we truly want to accomplish.

8. Be decisive

In today’s workplace, it is essential to be decisive and confident in your decisions. This can be easier said than done, as we often second-guess ourselves or hesitate before deciding.

However, being able to make quick decisions without worrying about the potential consequences can be an invaluable leadership trait. Take toddlers, for example. They may not always make the best decisions, but they certainly do not hesitate or second-guess themselves in the moment.

As leaders, we must strive to approach decision-making with this same confidence and decisiveness. In the fast-paced world we live in, being able to quickly make decisive choices can set successful leaders apart from their counterparts. It’s important to gather information and weigh your options before deciding, but once you have identified the best course of action, trust in your decision and move forward confidently.

Are you ready to learn about leadership from a toddler?

Our toddlers have a lot to teach us about what it means to be a good leader. If we can channel even a fraction of their fearless persistence, natural creativity, and unshakable confidence, we’ll be well on our way to success.

The next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or uncertain about your leadership role, take a step back and remember what it was like to approach the world with boundless curiosity and determination. It might just give you the boost you need to push through whatever challenges come your way.

If you’re worried or afraid to take on the leadership role, read the article below. After reading it, you will understand how to overcome that fear and finally become the leader you were meant to be.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this article, which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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John Todorovic

John Todorovic

I help aspiring and existing leaders improve their skills through effective coaching.

As a restless knowledge seeker, I love acquiring new knowledge on a daily basis through various types of research techniques. All this aligns with my life's mission: sharing knowledge is a privilege and an obligation.

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