Students demonstrate the ability to build trust, inspire confidence, motivate, and positively influence individuals and groups by the use of reasoned argument, persuasion, inspiration, negotiation, and setting an example. They are able to encourage and empower others with constructive criticism and timely praise. They know how to organize groups and build teams, mediate conflicts, build consensus, and understand and articulate the thoughts of a group. 

Key Beliefs:

I will be a better student if I act on the following beliefs:

  • It is important to use my ability to persuade and influence others in a positive way. 
  • I am able to work well with others. 
  • Step up and take charge in a leadership role
  • Use historical examples to show the power that influential people can wield and the responsibility that goes with being a leader and role model. 
  • Establish the rights and responsibilities of group leaders. 
  • Provide opportunities for students to work in collaborative learning groups.  
  • Learn about leadership by watching the people around you. By observing how others respond to criticism, confront failure, and communicate to large groups, you can begin to develop your own habits and thought processes.
  • Research, write, organize, and present proposals that advocate for specific student requests such as winter socials and dress codes.
  • Organize and lead conferences for younger students — this gives them experience planning events and sharing their knowledge with peers.
  • Consider service learning opportunities.
  • Literature and history are great places to talk about honesty. Select a particularly notable character or historical figure, and explore their life and the decisions they made.  Discuss which of this person’s actions were honest and which (if any) weren’t. What were the outcomes of those actions? And more importantly, what can we learn from that person’s experience as a leader?
  • “What you do has far greater impact than what you say.” – Stephen Covey
  • “Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” – Dale Carnegie
  • “Ninety percent of leadership is the ability to communicate something people want.” – Senator Dianne Feinstein
  • “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”– Warren Buffett
  • “Outstanding leaders go out of the way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton
  • “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.” – Walt Disney
  • “Leadership is something you earn, something you’re chosen for. You can’t come in yelling, ‘I’m your leader!’ If it happens, it’s because the other guys respect you.” – Ben Roethlisberger 
  • “You don’t have to hold a position in order to be a leader.” – Henry Ford
  • “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan
  • “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

A Leadership Role 
One of the best all-encompassing ways to teach these skills is through group projects. You can either assign one leader to each group for the duration of that project (making sure to change leaders for each new project) or assign a different leader for each element of it.

For example, one student could be the research leader, another the report leader, someone else the visual presentation leader, and so on. Each leader would be responsible for guiding the rest of the group in establishing a concrete goal and delegating certain responsibilities. They would need to:

  • Work hard
  • Listen to the others
  • Communicate their desires
  • Make the final decisions
  • Encourage the others in their tasks
  • Maintain a positive attitude; and
  • Take responsibility for the outcome of the project.

They would also need to serve the group in taking care of whatever work was left unfinished and act with honesty and integrity throughout.

What Makes a Leader

Students will identify characteristics of leadership by researching the lives of great American leaders. This lesson has four main objectives for students:

  • Identify leadership traits throughout a leader’s life.
  • Research and analyze a specific leader’s traits.
  • Compile and organize information from a variety of sources.
  • Express their opinions about the person’s leadership traits.

Secondary School Lesson Plans on Leadership
These lesson plans offer a wide variety of suggestions for teaching The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership in grades 6–12. 


  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Atticus Finch is a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. He agrees to defend a young black man, Tom Robinson, accused of raping a white woman. With false witnesses and slanted testimony facing him, a guilty verdict by an all-white jury is almost preordained. Atticus builds a powerful, compelling closing argument to finish his case. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MmtVx1A8BA
  • Alex from Madagascar gives a speech to the rest of the animals in Madagascar 3! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ1xBGbwl-w