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Exploring Real Leadership - Part 2

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner, Professor of Education at Harvard School of Education, has written extensively on the issue of “multiple intelligences” and delves into what makes kids tick. These different intelligences on how children learn best include:

  • Linguistic intelligence – the capacity to use language to express what’s on one’s mind, like writers orators, or lawyers

  • Logical-mathematical intelligence – the ability to manipulate numbers, quantities and operations, like mathematicians

  • Special intelligence – the ability to represent the special world internally in your mind as in the arts, sciences, or in painting or sculpture

  • Bodily kinesthetic intelligence – the capacity to use your whole body or parts of your body to solve a problem, like athletes, performing arts, such as dance or acting

  • Musical intelligence – the capacity to think in music, to be able to hear patterns recognize them, remember them, and/or manipulate them

  • Interpersonal intelligence – the understanding of other people such as teachers, and politicians

  • Intrapersonal intelligence – having the understanding of yourself, of knowing who you are, where you’re going, and how to get there

  • Naturalist intelligence – the human ability to discriminate among living things such as plant and animals and sensitivities to their survival in the natural world.

This innovative research and thinking challenges us as adults to open our eyes to the ever-evolving capacity to look at children as a whole person and develop those parts of them that will develop their full potential. The IQ, therefore, is only one way to evaluate a child’s potential — only one.

The test of discovering a child’s potential and turning it into real leadership is finding a breakthrough in the way we learn about leadership, finding creative ways to develop these leadership attributes in the young, and subsequently showing children how to apply emotional intelligence skills to the real world. Let’s explore some of the by-products of leadership.

Leaders have very specific and positive character traits. We know that leaders are tolerant with others and are willing to experiment with new relationships. They are playful and oriented toward self-development and the development of others in terms of lifelong learning, adventure and enriching experiences. Their sense of human rights allows them to challenge behavior that does not treat people with respect. There is a willingness to do one’s best, to be concerned for human dignity, to express the willingness to work with others and to cooperate, and to keep on trying when the going gets tough.

Not all leaders are alike, but they are similar in their ability to bring together different kinds of people for a common goal and to turn obstacles into positive problem solving. Dr. Martin Luther King talked about the leader as a drum major. A leader has the desire to be out in front leading the parade. He said we all have leadership abilities in one way or another.

Leaders are givers, not takers. They are talent scouts and people growers. They act beyond their own self-interest and find ways for others to share in their success. This may be why people follow leaders – because they have a sense of fair play and share their success with others. This quality is very magnetic and draws others to the leader.

No one can live a full life without nourishing their spirit. The soul within us is what makes us who we are at the deepest level. We need to talk with children about the heart, what it is, how to assuage it and inspire it. Einstein was highly spiritual. He believed in God and knew God had a purpose for his life and was using him toward that purpose. Marin Luther King talked about God as he referred to “there is a higher mountain,” and so did Gandhi, Mandela, and a host of other great leaders

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