Kids make great leaders. What? Often I hear leadership development addressed as an adult topic, among adults, with adults. But that is not the whole story.

While walking with my wife one morning, we cut through an elementary school corridor. It was a unique place. There were signs and symbols everywhere that modeled a leadership focus for the school. Walls signs read “Leadership Lane” and “Win-Win Way, and Synergy Circle.” I learned later this school had embraced the “Leader in Me Journey.” It is not a program or a curriculum, but a way of doing leadership with kids. They call it everyday leadership.


It began in 2009 with Muriel Summers, Principal of A.B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C. She identified leadership as her school magnet theme based on community feedback. After approaching FranklinCovey they partnered in designing, developing, and implementing a leadership model for her school, which drew on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and educational best practices.

A.B. Combs Elementary experienced what they viewed as a complete turnaround, ultimately being named #1 Magnet School in the United States. Summers said, “We only get one chance to prepare children for a world none of us can possibly predict. What are we going to do with that one chance?”

Instead of seeing children through the lens of “some are naturally smart and others are not,” The Leader in Me model sees every child as capable, every child a leader. As the website boasts, “This paradigm changes everything.”

Their paradigm is:

  • Everyone can be a leader.
  • Everyone is a genius.
  • Change starts with me.
  • Educators empower students to lead their own learning.
  • Education is the development of the whole person.

Imagine our schools, churches, and home life embracing leadership training starting in childhood? How different could our world be? If you want to learn more, check out website.

Kids do make great leaders. How might you impact the young leaders around you today!!

Click this video to hear a young leader describe her experience with The Leader in Me: