The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer—it improves the performance of all other programs. Based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century economy.
What would be possible if your school were filled with students who were responsible, who showed initiative, who were creative, who knew how to set goals and meet them, who got along with people of various backgrounds and cultures, and who could resolve conflicts and solve problems?
This is reality at Leader in Me schools across the country. It started in 1999 when struggling school A.B. Combs Elementary was asked to reinvent itself or be shut down. When Principal Muriel Summers asked parents and business leaders what they wanted in their schools, she heard the following:
- Initiative and Self-Direction
- Cross-Cultural Skills
- Problem Solving
This feedback represents what most people believe — that our schools should not merely be focused on improving test scores, but should provide opportunities for students to develop their full potential. As Muriel searched for answers, she attended a 7 Habits workshop and noticed how comprehensive the habits were in covering the same needs expressed by her community. She and staff developed a leadership theme and a school mission statement: To Develop Leaders, One Child at a Time. They taught the 7 Habits not as a curriculum, but in a ubiquitous fashion, integrating them into the curriculum, traditions, systems, and culture of A.B. Combs
The following will be our leadership rules/goals in the classroom. These 7 habits will encompass all areas of discipline.
- Be Proactive:
I’m responsible! I choose my actions, attitude and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is looking.
- Begin with the End in Mind:
I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I am an important part of my classroom and contribute to our mission. I look for ways to be a good citizen.
- Put First Things First:
I spend time on things that are most important. This means I say NO to things I know I should NOT do. I am disciplined and organized.
- Think Win –Win:
I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want. I make deposits in others’ emotional bank accounts. (I fill others’ buckets.) When conflicts arise, I look for a resolution.
- Seek First to Understand, then to Be Understood:
I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their view points. I listen without interrupting. I am confident in voicing my ideas. I look people in the eyes when talking.
I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even people who are different than me. I work well in groups. I seek out other peoples’ ideas to solve problems because I know that by teaming with others we can create better solutions that any one of us alone. I am humble.
- Sharpen the Saw:
I take care of my body by eating right, exercising, and getting sleep. I learn in lots of ways outside of school. I take time to find meaningful ways to help others.