If you’re a professional responsible for guiding others, being able to teach others about leadership can help you succeed in your role. Leadership skills can help your students or team members gain confidence, work more effectively, collaborate with others and succeed in their careers. To teach others about leadership skills, you can use a variety of methods to engage them and help develop particular skills.
In this article, we define leadership skills and discuss eight methods you can use in the classroom or workplace to teach these abilities effectively.
What are leadership skills?
Leadership skills are the abilities you need to capture the attention of a group of people, inspire them and persuade them to follow your directions. A skilled leader can make decisions, gain the trust of others and mobilize them to reach shared goals. The following are some examples of leadership skills:
8 tips for teaching about leadership
No matter what your personality is, anyone can learn leadership skills and be an excellent leader. Here are eight great ways to teach your students how to be leaders:
1. Provide examples of leadership
Find examples of successful leaders you can use to teach your students about leadership skills. Research historical figures, literary characters, and others to discuss how they acted as a leader. Make sure the examples you choose involve obvious displays of leadership, such as bringing a group of people together to reach a common goal, and that you’re presenting figures who helped people and positively used leadership skills.
You can also encourage students to choose their examples of leaders. Ask them to consider their favorite musicians, celebrities or sports stars and ponder how they led others.
Here are some tips for finding helpful examples of leaders:
Explore diverse perspectives: There have been many different kinds of leaders throughout history from many different backgrounds and cultures. Try to include various types of leaders from different communities when you’re teaching your students about leadership skills.
Focus on a goal the leader achieved: As a starting point for discussing examples of leaders, think about a goal they accomplished. Discuss what steps they took to reach that goal and how they used leadership strategies to help them achieve it.
Use evidence: Make sure you are using reputable sources when teaching others about leaders. Base your analysis of their leadership skills on factual information and real outcomes.
As a manager or a teacher, it’s also important to demonstrate excellent leadership and be an example for team members and students.
2. Perform services
A great way to teach others about leadership skills is by having them perform service for their communities. Learning how to volunteer and serve others is crucial to forming leadership skills because helping people is one of the core responsibilities of a leader. Organizations can host volunteer days to enable employees to participate in community service and learn skills, such as kindness and organization.
If you’re a teacher, you could assign tasks for your students around the classroom, such as tidying supplies, writing the agenda for the day or passing out papers. Encourage your students to help others and practice compassion by asking everyone to recognize positive qualities about each other. You could also invite your students to perform service around their neighborhoods. Here are some examples of service opportunities your students could try:
Helping at a homeless shelter
Picking up trash
Doing chores for the elderly
Reading to children
Volunteering as a mentor
3. Practice creating presentations
Assigning a presentation project enables both professionals and students to practice leadership skills like communication and confidence. Allow them to pick their presentation topic so they can be excited about the subject. Team members can present during meetings to give them experience leading the team in discussions. Students can conduct research to report on a topic that interests them.
Encouraging questions at the end of the presentations allows the presenter to practice active listening skills. To help with nerves, you can have team members or students try some confidence-building exercises like going over the presentation together or listening to music. Make sure to give positive and constructive feedback to students after their presentations so that they can be proud of their accomplishments and improve for the future.
4. Create goals
Setting goals is a good way to practice leadership skills. Leaders use goals to motivate themselves and others to complete necessary tasks. Setting goals helps develop decision-making, organization and strategic thinking skills. Make sure your students and team members set goals that are realistic and achievable.
They can do this by creating specific steps or tasks that reaching their goal requires. You can facilitate periodic check-ins to see how they’re progressing with the goals and give them feedback on how to improve. Consider sharing the SMART method to help them create and accomplish their goals.
5. Assign group projects
Group projects can be a great way to practice collaboration, listening and perseverance, which are all types of leadership skills. In a group project, students or team members work together with others to achieve a common goal. Each person in a group project can lead a portion of that project and be responsible for particular tasks.
The following are some examples of group projects you could 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 will allow students to employ their creativity, discover their talents and practice their communication skills.
Scientific experiment: Students can come up with a question or idea they have about the natural world and each student could be responsible for a different step in the experiment process, such as researching data, getting supplies or documenting information.
Lesson plan: Make your students the teachers by having them create their lesson plans. They can form groups and pick topics they’re interested in teaching others about. Each group member can be in charge of an aspect of the lesson plan such as conducting research, writing informational material or coming up with engaging presentation ideas.
Here are examples of group projects for professionals:
Sales pitch: Choose a product or service the company offers to create a sales pitch for. Team members can divide duties to research the product, create advertisements and make a presentation for the sale.
Team meeting: Have team members lead a meeting about the progress of a project. They can gather information, create a presentation and discuss progress with the team.
Prototype: Building a prototype of a product enables team members to practice leadership skills and complete regular work tasks.
6. Give more responsibilities
An excellent method for teaching others leadership skills is making them real leaders by putting them in charge. Give your students actual responsibilities where they can make a positive impact on others. You can offer team members additional responsibilities to help them develop into leaders. For example, allowing a sales representative to start tracking all team sales could help them learn about monitoring goals.
You can also teach others how to make decisions to improve their leadership skills. They can list the advantages and disadvantages to their decision and the different effects it will have on their life. Assess their decision-making skills and provide them with constructive feedback on how they can better handle their responsibilities.
7. Find activities that develop leadership skills
Encourage your students to explore activities and clubs to gain leadership experience. By joining clubs, they can try out their interests, meet new people, and build their resumes. If they attend the club frequently and stay in it long enough, they could become a leader in the club. If your students can’t find a club they are interested in, suggest that they start their own.
There are many different types of clubs available at schools and in communities, including:
Math and science clubs
Art and music clubs
Professionals may pursue learning opportunities to participate in activities that develop their leadership abilities. Some organizations offer free training activities. You may also mentor team members and give them activities to practice leadership.
8. Practice leadership with games
Use a game as a fun way to teach students how to lead, work hard, collaborate and persevere. Games can be athletic, artistic or intellectual and can provide a pleasant break from traditional teaching methods. Teach your students the value of playing fair and how to stay positive and kind in a competition.
You can also use games in the workplace to help team members become leaders. Here are some examples of games you can play to teach others leadership skills:
Set up a debate between your students about a topic so they can practice leadership skills. Conducting a debate can help students learn how to stay calm, study evidence and listen to others. Consider picking a silly topic at first, such as whether pineapple on pizza is delicious. With older students, you could choose a more formal topic, such as the best way to approach a social issue.
A scavenger hunt is a path of clues that leads people toward finding a treasure or prize. Students can work individually or in groups to complete a scavenger hunt and it can be a great way to promote critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills. Learning these skills is crucial to decision-making and successful leadership.
Trivia games allow others to work independently or on teams to find answers to questions. You may choose a trivia topic that furthers a learning goal or an entertaining topic. Trivia helps utilize skills such as logical reasoning, active listening, and problem-solving.
I hope you find this article helpful.