How to Proceed When Teaching about Leadership (In 8 Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 24, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Strong leadership skills enable you to attract others and convince them to follow your vision. If your work involves guiding students, teaching them about leadership can help them to gain confidence and collaborate with one another. Having effective strategies when teaching about leadership can also help your own career. In this article, we explain what it means to teach people about leadership and explain how to do this effectively in eight steps.

What is teaching about leadership?

Teaching about leadership refers to helping others develop the skills required to influence other individuals or groups and convince them to follow your instructions. A skillful leader can help team members make decisions, gain their trust, and mobilize them to work toward a common goal. Some examples of leadership skills you can teach are:

  • honesty

  • determination

  • kindness

  • communication

  • optimism

  • problem solving

  • organization

  • active listening

Related: What Is Leadership in an Organization? (With a How-to Guide)

How to teach others about leadership

The following are some practices that can help you teach others how to be more effective leaders:

1. Show them positive examples of leadership

You can help students understand what some of the traits of an effective leader are by showing them examples of such leaders. They can be historical figures, fictional characters, and any other individual who has succeeded in a leadership position. You can also encourage students to choose their own examples of leaders. Ask them to consider their favourite musicians, celebrities, or sports stars, and look at how they led others. It's also important for you to be a positive example of leadership with your actions and decisions.

Related: Best Leadership Topics for Training (With Guide and Tips)

2. Ask them to support their community

Asking students to serve their local community can be an effective way for them to develop leadership skills. This teaches them how to serve others, which is one of the main characteristics of a leader. If you're teaching students about leadership, you can use the classroom to assign them tasks that benefit the entire class. You may ask your students to perform tasks such as tidying up supplies, writing the agenda for the day, or passing out papers. You can then expand your scope and ask them to perform similar tasks for their neighbourhoods. Here are some examples of service opportunities your students could try:

  • helping at a homeless shelter

  • picking up garbage

  • helping seniors with chores

  • reading to children

  • volunteering as a mentor

Related: What It Means to Lead by Example (And Leadership Styles)

3. Develop their presentation skills

Being effective at making presentations requires some of the same qualities of a good leader, such as communication and confidence. You can help students develop these traits by assigning them presentation projects on topics they're passionate about. Divide the students into teams and ask them to perform research on a subject they're interested in and then present it to the rest of the class.

Presenting their work in a confident and persuasive way can help students communicate like leaders. Also, encouraging the audience to ask questions at the end of the presentation helps the presenter develop their active listening skills. After a team presents, provide them with constructive feedback regarding the aspects that went well and those that they can work on improving for the future.

Related: How to Develop Effective Leadership Communication Skills

4. Encourage them to set goals

Having specific goals and working toward achieving them can be an effective way to develop leadership skills. In addition to helping students to complete their tasks, creating specific goals for them also helps them focus and improve their decision-making, organizational, and strategic thinking skills. To encourage them and keep their morale high, it usually helps to set realistic and achievable goals.

When setting a more complex goal, help your students by dividing it into multiple steps or tasks. This can help them plan effectively and avoid being overwhelmed. You can also check in with them throughout the execution process to provide them with feedback and make sure they're progressing toward their goals. Consider using the SMART method when setting goals for your students. This involves setting goals with the following characteristics:

  • specific

  • measurable

  • achievable

  • relevant

  • time-based

Related: How to Write a SMART Goal (With Importance and Examples)

5. Encourage working in groups

Students who work in teams can develop skills such as collaboration, communication, listening, and perseverance, which can also help them improve as leaders. When working on a group project, each team has a common goal, and each team member can take the lead on a particular set of tasks. The following are common examples of group projects that you can assign to your students:

  • Art installation: This can be a photo collage, sculpture, film, or painting. Crafting a piece of art together and describing it allows students to employ their creativity, discover their talents, and practise their communication skills.

  • Scientific experiment: Students can develop a question or idea they have about the natural world. Each student can be responsible for a different step in the experiment process, such as researching data, getting supplies, or documenting information.

  • Lesson plan: Have your students act as teachers by dividing them into groups and having them create their own lesson plan. Each group member can oversee an aspect of the lesson plan, such as conducting research, writing informational material, or brainstorming engaging presentation ideas.

Related: Essential Leadership Skills on Resumes (And Tips to Improve)

6. Actively seek to give them more responsibilities

A viable way of helping someone develop their leadership skills is to put them in a position of responsibility. This means putting students in real-life situations where they're responsible for the outcome of their decisions. For instance, you can make each student responsible for providing the class with the supplies they require for various projects, rotating them each week.

Related: The Importance of Leadership and Culture in Organizations

7. Encourage extra-curricular activities that develop leadership skills

Students can improve their leadership skills outside the classroom by engaging in activities that provide them with leadership experience. Finding activities they're interested in and pursuing them can help them discover their passions, meet new people, and build their resumes. If they perform a certain activity in a group setting and reach a certain level of seniority and performance, they can become leaders. Some group activities students can participate in include clubs, sports teams, and special interest groups.

Related: How to Write a Student Cover Letter (With Examples and Tips)

8. Use games to practise leadership skills

Teaching by using games can be an effective technique because it provides students with a fun way to practise working hard, collaborating toward a goal, and leading others. Depending on the characteristics of your students, the games can be athletic, artistic, or intellectual. The competitive aspect of a game also teaches them to stay positive despite various setbacks and to play fair in all circumstances. Some examples of games you can play with your students to develop their leadership qualities are:

  • Debate: Find a topic that you think students may be interested in, divide your students into two groups, and conduct a debate between them. Having everyone contribute by providing arguments for their cause can help them learn how to stay calm when faced with opposing views, analyze evidence, and listen to others.

  • Trivia: Divide your students into several small groups and play a game in which they're required to find answers to questions about a subject they're likely to find interesting. This enables them to collaborate effectively and develop skills such as logical reasoning, active listening, and problem solving.

  • Scavenger hunt: This game involves presenting your students with a set of clues that can lead them toward finding a treasure or prize. They can do this either individually or in groups, and it's usually an effective way to develop critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills, which are elements of an effective leader.

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