Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tips For Teaching Leadership Skills To Elementary Students

Today I have a guest post for you from Emily at!  Enjoy!

Children in elementary education today will grow up to be global citizens, living in a world where leadership skills are valued and rewarded over and above many of the other outcomes of formal education. In order for students to grow into happy, productive and successful adults, they must be taught leadership skills from the very beginning of their school journey. But how do we as educators ensure that these skills are nurtured and developed, whilst maintaining a focus on necessary academic achievement? Here are some tips on teaching leadership skills to elementary students. 

Lead By Example

Quite literally, be the leader that you would like your students to be. Show them your process, let them see and hear how you lead them. It is helpful if you vocalize your thoughts and decision making, as this modelling of good practice allows students to see leadership in action. Children will naturally mimic behaviors, and your example will give less confident students a framework on which to hang their own ideas. 

Allow Students (And Yourself) To Make Mistakes

The most effective lessons are learned from failure, so in allowing mistakes to be made, you give children the opportunity to overcome them. This in turn builds resilience, one of the most effective and useful attributes we can teach our students. Resilient children take more risks, are less afraid of failure, and display more effective leadership skills. 

Nurture Self-Esteem And Self-Expression

Successful leaders believe in themselves and in their ability to lead. By building students' self-esteem and self-belief, we give them a sense of what is possible and what they can achieve. All skills are valuable, whether it be in the field of science, mathematics, art, physical or social literacy. Show them how proud you are of all your abilities. 

Expect More From Your Students

No child should be limited by low expectations, either from themselves or others. Give children the opportunity to lead, even if you know they will find it difficult. Support for reluctant leaders can come from their peers, who are often far more understanding than we expect them to be. 

Embrace Democracy In Your Classroom

Give students the opportunity to set up and run their own democracy, to see how democratic values work in real life. Decision making and leadership become much easier once children realize that all voices are important, not just the loud and confident ones. 

Give Honest Feedback

Feedback is a gift, which students can use to inform how they behave or perform in the future. Honest feedback builds resilience and trust between students and educators, allowing children to take real pride in an achievement that they worked hard for. 

Use Local Community Leaders In Your Setting

By involving local leaders from business, social organizations, charities etc., you will be bringing to life the lessons the students are learning. 

Above all, make effective and respectful leadership a part of your students' daily lives, giving them a shining example of what they can achieve!


  1. Yes to honest feedback. Difficult to do but needs to be done.

  2. This is great! It's kinda funny, but teaching and dealing with little ones can be pretty hard for some adults to figure out. I love the suggestion to expect more.

  3. This is a great article and can be applied to many adults I know also!

  4. Very well written article. It will for sure help many.

  5. The part that says, "allow them make mistakes"....that appeals the most, to me. I simply love it and have learned immensely from it.

    Thanks Stephanie.

    1. Definitely. Those skills are so important so definitely let them make mistakes so they can learn how to fix them (and never do them again, lol)!

  6. I think "Lead by example" is the most important rule of thumb. People and students are always watching and its important to show them that you mean what you preach!