Creating new leaders starts in the classroom. Leadership skills may seem innate, but there are ways to cultivate leadership qualities in any student by employing specific strategies and skills. No matter the grade level, teachers can equip their students with leadership skills they will employ throughout life.
Teachers need to activate these leadership skills in the classroom. Once they have identified the qualities and skills, teachers then need to reinforce them through classroom activities, assignments, projects and presentations.
What are the elements of high quality leadership? The following are the traits and skills teachers can help their students identify and practice in conjunction with the curriculum:
- Honesty/Integrity – This includes the importance of doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. It creates a trustworthiness that allows others to look at them as a leader and know they are in good hands.
- Communication – One of the most essential elements for any successful leader is being able to effectively communicate. Communication should be strong, clear, and constant, allowing everyone to understand what needs to be done.
- Delegation – The strongest leaders are able to recognize and identify the strengths within their team and then empower them to complete tasks. This is a way to share the workload, as well as create a system of responsibilities that everyone under the leader shares.
- Optimism/Positive Attitude – People are not only drawn to leaders with positive attitudes because it creates a pleasant work environment, but it also fosters inspiration that everyone can succeed. Leaders who seek people with similar attitudes will build a team that is encouraged to do their best and overcome challenges together.
- Confidence – People look to leaders for a sense of strength, calmness, and belief they can accomplish the tasks at hand. Imbuing others with a sense of confidence starts with the leader’s own confidence. If they believe that their goals can be accomplished, they can lead others to feel the same and success will be within reach.
- Decisive – Making decisions is a constant part of a leader’s duty. However, making quick, strong decisions can be the most difficult aspect of any role. A leader who is willing to make decisions and see them through is critical.
Teachers can share these qualities with their students within any subject area. Understanding what these qualities mean and how they can apply them will help students become great leaders in their own right. After all, teachers are leading the development of all our future leaders.