Characteristics of a Leader

As students begin to take on more and more leadership roles in their school community, it is important that they gain insight into what effective leadership means.

Characteristics of an Effective Leader:

Brainstorming characteristics or traits of an effective leader and co-creating an anchor chart is a good first step in discussing leadership.

*characteristics can be added to the anchor chart as more insight is gained.

The video “7 Traits of a Leader” is a good supplement when discussing characteristics of leaders.

Leadership Traits Rating Chart:

To help students further develop their understanding of the characteristics of an effective leader, have students reflect and complete the “Leadership Qualities Rating Chart“.

Participating in cooperative group work (e.g., STEAM or critical thinking math challenges…) followed up by discussions about how the various leadership qualities helped them to be successful within their group is a good follow-up to this section of the leadership intro.

To promote critical thinking about the importance of some of the key leadership traits:
  • In small groups, ask students to determine their top ten leadership traits (They can use the traits from the class generated list or the Leadership Traits Rating Chart).
  • Next, ask them to reduce the list to their top 5 (Good discussion and evaluation of the significance of each trait will ensue).
  • Finally, have them come to a consensus in their group as to which trait is the ultimate and most significant quality a leader should have. They will need to be able to defend their choice as there will be an open debate with the other groups at the end.

Importance of Mentors:

Many great leaders talk about the mentors they have had along the way. Start the discussion by brainstorming what students think a mentor is and does.

Large organizations or companies often have a Board of Directors to help lead and guide them in making good decisions. On our leadership journey, we need to surround ourselves with people we can trust and help us to make our best choices.

Ask students to come up with their Board or Directors or their table of mentors/role models (4-8 individuals). These may be people living or dead; they may be people the student knows personally or people in history.

    Possible Journal Questions:

    • Do you think it is important for leaders to have good role models or mentors? Why or why not?
    • Who would you choose to sit at your mentor table? Why did you choose them? (Pick 2-4 to explain in detail.)
    Click the fish icon to connect with a great online leadership resource.