Leadership Part 1 – Qualities
Part one in a series about developing leadership potential in students
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider the qualities of a good leader.
Preparation and materials
You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Leadership 1) and the means to display them. These show images of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill, and feature several famous quotations about leadership from these three leaders.
Optional: make a word cloud displaying the following ‘leadership words’ - integrity, principles, values, humility, listening, commitment, passion, appreciation, strategy, responsibility, initiative, courage, empowerment, envisioning, communication, persistence and optimism.
A quick search on Amazon on the topic of ‘leadership’ currently yields 255,607 results. New book titles are constantly being added and there seem to be countless experts and a wealth of training courses on offer for both individuals and businesses. Scientists have not yet found a ‘leadership gene’, but it seems that some people may be born with characteristics that make it easier for them to become leaders. However, any of us may find ourselves in a situation where we need to step up into a leadership role. So what is it that makes a good leader?
Show Slide 1.
Ask the following questions.
- What words spring to mind when you think of a leader?
- What qualifications and qualities make a good leader?
If appropriate, listen to a range of responses or read out/display the ‘leadership words’: integrity, principles, values, humility, listening, commitment, passion, appreciation, strategy, responsibility, initiative, courage, empowerment, envisioning, communication, persistence and optimism. (Use the word cloud if it is available.)
We are going to investigate three world leaders from history and consider which leadership qualities they displayed.
Show Slides 2-4.
After displaying the images, ask the students if they can identify the well-known leaders shown (Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill). Ask the students to share any information they know about each person.
Show Slide 5.
Read the quotation from Nelson Mandela, ‘A leader . . . is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.’
Ask the students how Nelson Mandela lived this out.
Ask which of the ‘leadership words’ displayed reflect Nelson Mandela.
Show Slide 6.
Read the quotation from Mahatma Gandhi, ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’
Ask the students how Mahatma Gandhi lived this out.
Ask which of the ‘leadership words’ displayed reflect Mahatma Gandhi.
Show Slides 7-11.
Read each quotation from Winston Churchill in turn.
For each quotation, ask the students how Winston Churchill lived this out.
Ask which of the ‘leadership words’ displayed reflect Winston Churchill.
Suggest that some words may have been left out of the list of ‘leadership words’. One of those words could be ‘qualifications’.
For example, Winston Churchill did poorly in school. He failed Year 7 and had to resit a mathematics class three times in order to pass. He was rejected by Oxford and Cambridge because of poor grades. Yet Winston Churchill became Britain’s Prime Minister after the beginning of the Second World War, and led the country with his speeches and tactics, inspiring the country not to give in.
A leader may or may not be highly intelligent in academic terms, but a leader always has followers.
Time for reflection
Which qualities of an effective leader do you think are most important?
Whom do you consider to be a good leader in your school, community and nation?
Do you have leadership potential?
What can you do to hone your qualities and talents to develop your skills as a leader?
Hopefully, as this series continues, you will find that you can develop as a leader within the school community.
The world has had many strong leaders, many good and some bad.
We celebrate those leaders in our world who are marked by integrity, truth and justice.
Thank you for the many leaders in our world who can envision things and empower others to achieve positive and worthwhile goals.
Help us as possible young leaders to reflect on the qualities of a good leader and to develop our leadership skills.