I have spent many years researching “Leadership qualities” by attending programs, reading various authors, articles, studying models, having intense discussions with some people (especially my father) and finally consolidating them into a 12 point list. Though everyone might not agree with this list, I feel there would not be many who would completely disagree.

The qualities are listed below:

Honesty & Integrity
Role model
Learning Mindset
Self- awareness

The question however is; are people born leaders? Or can Leadership be developed?

Many people say that we have certain qualities or personalities and no matter what we do, these qualities cannot be changed. This is the eternal debate between Nature vs Nurture.
The point though is that can we nurture a child to have a head start with some Leadership traits?

Can we Nurture a child to have:

Passion for things that he does?
• Honesty & Integrity ingrained as a part of life?
• More optimism and courage to take things into their own hands and be the “Masters of their own fate”?
• A dogged and persevering approach to convincing and influencing people?

I believe that some of these traits might be natural; however, need to be developed and nurtured. If not done, then a child with potential might never fulfil his or her destiny.


Do we as parents let our children explore their passions, do we help them choose and chase what they desire? Or is it what “we” desire?

Do we demonstrate and inspire them by showing how passionate we are about things? Can they see the Passion for achievement, success and most importantly “Life”, in all that we do?

Or do they see someone working hard and toiling listlessly, not knowing what they are aiming for?

Do they see fun, excitement and enthusiasm in our eyes when we talk about our work or the drudgery, fatigue and stress?

Can they sense and understand what drives me as a person? Is it me “the parent”, “the spouse”, “the bread winner” or just “ME and My Passion for Life”?

I wonder ….. I really wonder….

Honesty & Integrity

Many of us would want our children to be honest and have integrity, yet do not want to take the effort to instil those qualities.

How many times have we seen parents make small false promises to their kids? I’ve heard parents say, “Let’s go home and I will give you a chocolate”, even though they have no intention of doing so.
Or something simpler where they will promise to take the child for a movie the next day, just so that they keep quiet now.

In fact I could go on and on…. I’m sure many of us could.

Now what happens when promises made to a child are left unfulfilled, what happens to his sense of trust and belief? How much is he driven to keep to his promises and commitments?

From experience I have seen my son tends to listen and accept when I say “When Daddy makes a promise, does he always fulfil it?” he doesn’t really have much to say, nor does he throw a tantrum when he is sure that what is promised WILL happen.

This teaches him the importance and necessity of sticking to his word and commitments.

The other day while riding on the bike with my son, he suddenly started saying “Come to your side, come to your side” at first I didn’t get what he was saying. On asking him I realised we had crossed slightly onto the other side of the road and I was on the dividing line. It seems he had learned in school about rules of the road and some do’s and don’ts. I immediately apologised to him and came back onto my side of the road.

Now in this case some parents might have justified what they were doing or even mocked what the teacher said or just ignored the child and continued to drive the way they wanted.

Any behaviour the child sees that clashes with what he knows to be right can cause him to question what truly is, ‘the right thing to do’? It then leads to a dilution of right and wrong in his mind and that further magnifies as he grows up.

What we need to ask ourselves is….. What value system are we nurturing and developing in our children? What values are we demonstrating? Are we strengthening their sense of what is right or diluting it?

Optimism and “Masters of their own fate”

When my son had just learnt to stand and walk…I saw him standing in front of a pretty high stool one day. I could see that he wanted to get on top, but wasn’t too sure. I remember saying to him, “you can climb and you will surely reach the top”. He looked at me and tried to tell me that he wanted me to put him on top. Now that was the easy option!

Instead I told him to climb and showed him where to put his first leg, next leg and pull himself up. With a little effort and a few slips and falls he managed to get up (I was there to save a big fall, the little ones I let happen).

On the top he looked very pleased with himself, but soon he wanted to get down. Getting down looked really scary to him and just then my wife walked in and told me to “Put him down this instant, he can fall and hurt himself.”

I believed that as he had learned to climb by himself, he would do it more and more often and maybe sometimes when there is no one there. Keeping that in mind it was necessary for him to learn how to get down on his own. That way he is less likely to hurt himself when we are not there. So I taught him how to get down and like any good kid, he immediately practised going up and down a few times. Much to the dislike of my wife.

Now what would some other parents have done?
• Stopped the child from climbing for fear of him hurting himself. Told him not climb as it is risky and he can get hurt.
• Picked the child up and placed him on the stool
• Then lifted the child down

In doing any of these behaviours repeatedly in different situations, how does it affect the mind-set of the child?

• Does he start doubting his capabilities?
• Is there a chance that he will grow up unwilling to take risks?
• Will he always be scared of falling and hurting himself?
• Could he always expect people to do things for him?
• What would happen to his Locus of Control?

Influencing people

How much do we as parents encourage our children to discuss, question and negotiate with us? I agree it is exhausting and tiring, yet if we do not what could the long term outcome be?

Have we seen people at work bend their heads and quietly accept whatever a person in authority says? No matter whether they agree or understand.

Where does this behaviour come from?

I believe it comes from the nurturing received at home and in school. It comes from how much the child is allowed to express himself and most importantly how we interact with him when there is a disagreement or a clash in views and wants.

A child always looks for a WIN in any discussion that he gets into, what happens if we do not give him that WIN and enforce our view instead.

A child used to a LOSE-WIN or WIN-LOSE during his childhood grows up expecting or behaving in the same manner when he grows up. This is better explained in “Transactional Analysis”.

Do we:

• work towards WIN-WIN negotiations with our kids
• treat our kids as equals
• value and respect their views, needs and desires
• discuss, debate and be willing to negotiate with them today so that they have the skills and the mind-set to be able to do it tomorrow

Do we introspect enough about our behaviours and actions with our kids and how they will influence or impact the kid in his or her journey as an adult?

Author's Bio: 

I am Shohrat Shankar, a Life Empowerment Coach.

Having trained & coached over 50,000 people from over 50 companies in the last 13 years; after addressing small groups of 10 to large audiences of over 500, I can truly say that everyone in this world is unique, with their very own set of varied talents, strengths, experiences, passions, needs and value systems. Training, interacting and coaching such people has helped me reach my potential as a master trainer, coach, entrepreneur and leader.
I have realized that the greater the challenges in this rapidly changing world, the more relevant they become. And I have definitely faced my own set of challenges that have empowered me to keep moving ahead and given me the courage and belief to conquer my trials and tribulations. This realization made me want to help others through their professional and personal setbacks, obstacles and problems.

So why should someone let me help them in their empowerment journey?
Well, because I have some clear steps to overcome challenges that I have learned from the various struggles that I have faced.

I started off as a person who stammered & stuttered my way through school & college and like so many others never believed I could ever create any impact in a crowd or on stage. I overcame this, when I started working as a software developer and starting helping and training my team mates. I had almost won by bout with stammering, when I lost my job in the dot com crash of 2002.

That lost opportunity was a doorway to many others, I moved to a BPO that that led me into my life as a trainer and eventual “Empowerment Coach”.

After a lot of thought, I made the bold move of stepping into an entrepreneur’s shoes. In the past decade of my entrepreneurship, I have faced it all. From struggling to make ends meet, getting the team’s salaries out on time, facing a robbery at my office to having to temporarily shut down operations and even contemplating getting into the security of a job. Like many others, I was in the doldrums, when some of my clients (hit by recession) pulled out. I wondered time and again where and when the next pay check would come from. I took loans, pumped money into the business, and still did not get the results I wanted.
The voices that told me to give up and go back to something secure kept ringing in my head. I was in a dilemma and did not know how to get out of my predicament.
After few days of licking my wounds, I decided to forge ahead with firm conviction and certainty of success. This period of struggle, recovery and success was a true test of the executive practicality of all that I had learnt and taught so far –SELF EMPOWERMENT!! And so began by tryst with empowerment.

This feeling of Empowerment came from an inner strength that had a lot do with the way I felt about myself, as well as, the support, care and love showered by my family, friends & a super team.

This feeling of empowerment has not only helped me in my career but personally as a human being a, husband, and even a father.
From finding the girl of my dreams, to being an empowered father who did everything for his little baby from bathing to changing diapers to never making promises that I couldn’t keep.
And what’s more I learned a lot more about myself. Along the way, I realized that my company and family were not the only ones that needed my attention. I had to make time for myself too. I learned to remove time for myself and enjoy my other passions.

I am now an avid adventure enthusiast and have ridden and driven from Ladakh to Kanyakumari. I've taken part in rallies and now have found my ultimate passion of adventure being fulfilled by riding my Thunderbird 500.
I have left the introvert stammering, stuttering kid behind and became a confident, optimistic, empowered adult who now faces every problem with courage, determination and self-belief. And this has earned me the privilege to work with and earn the loyalties of many of my clients. Some of these include Sandvik Asia, Bajaj Auto, Serum Institute of India, Volvo Eicher, Honeywell Automation, ICICI Bank, John Deere India Pvt Ltd, and many more.

I have started this new venture of open workshops to share some of my practical life lessons and learning with those who need it.
If you decide to attend any of my workshops, I assure you that I will be there with you all the way and give my 110% to ensure that you acquire the required skills to empower yourself to achieve all your goals and dreams.