Want to Become a Strong Leader? Act Like a 4-Year-Old


I love being around little kids. I loved hanging out with my kids when they were little, and I love hanging out with my grandkids, to an extraordinary degree. But I enjoy spending time with little kids to whom I’m not related, as well.

Partly, it’s just fun. But mostly, I see qualities in little kids – especially those who are loved and cherished, and therefore feel comfortable to simply be who they are – that I find both fascinating and instructive. Think about it: Between the ages of zero and five, children go from being cute little blobs to being pretty fully-formed people who can walk, talk, eat, interact, love, reason, persuade, disagree, share. They naturally make use of a variety of inborn survival mechanisms to become successful human beings.

Unfortunately, by the time we get to be adults, we seem to have forgotten or dismissed or gotten socialized out of many of those mechanisms. I’m convinced, though, that we can re-engage them to our benefit, especially as leaders. Here are some of the most valuable ways to act like a child:

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Erika Andersen

Erika Andersen

Erika Andersen is the founding partner of Proteus, a coaching, consulting and training firm that focuses on leader readiness. Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients' challenges, goals, and culture. She and her colleagues at Proteus focus uniquely on supporting leaders at all levels to get ready and stay ready to meet whatever the future might bring. Much of her recent work has focused on organizational visioning and strategy, executive coaching, and management and leadership development.

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