Thursday, January 8, 2015

Leadership Qualities According to 3rd Graders

For the past year and a half, I have been immersed in discussion and reflection around educational leadership, and leadership styles. I've looked at the role of teacher leaders, building leaders, and district leaders. I've read amazing blog posts, articles and books. I feel like I've learned a lot. But I think one of the experiences that is really going to stick with me, is an experience that I had in my own classroom this week.

It just so happened that one of the follow up questions in our anthology (HMH Journeys) asked students to reflect on the qualities that are important in a leader. So out of the mouths of babes (3rd graders), a list of some important leadership qualities:

  • Leaders need to be honest. They need to tell the truth and not lie to people.
  • Leaders need to be kind.
  • Leaders need to do the right thing.
  • Leaders need to sacrifice.
  • Leaders need to share with others.
  • Leaders need to care about others.
  • Leaders shouldn't yell.
  • Leaders need to be confident.
  • Leaders need to be prepared for anything.
  • Leaders need to have a lot of skills.
  • Leaders need to be able to give good advice.
  • Leaders can't be all about themselves.
  • Leaders need to be good sports.

Yeah, I kind of think they nailed it. Next time you're wondering what it takes or means to be a leader, ask your students - they have incredible insight.


  1. #Stuvoice can at times be the most powerful and honest. That one of the many reasons why we need more of it. I'm considering all these points for my context, and it makes me think of asking my ELLs here in China now.

    Thank you for sharing this, Christina!

  2. Christina,
    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome post with the world... there is nothing better than #StuVoice shedding light on something that is important to all effective educators... we all need to be good leaders! I particularly like the comment that leaders cannot be all about themselves... AMEN!
    Thank you for sharing... tell your kids I am printing this out and hanging it in my office!
    Tony Sinanis
    A Lead Learner at Cantiague Elementary

    1. Tony,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read, and to leave such a thoughtful comment!

  3. Excellent Post! I love how kids can recognize leadership traits at such an early age. I also think this activity could be a great step growing leadership in all your students!

    1. Their understanding, and their ability to articulate these key ideas, just impressed me so much. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this post!

  4. I made sure to print a copy of this and hang it by my desk as a reminder of what it takes to be a great leader. It's amazing that a list of of leadership qualities thought up by 3rd graders would not just be inspiring but so thought provoking.

    1. I can't wait to share this with them this afternoon! :) Love these learners!