Leader in Me

Leader in Me is a whole school improvement model, which addresses K-12 education, and which offers students essential leadership and life-skills.

A new way of defining leadership

Many people link leadership to the idea of a formal authority position. We believe that anyone can be a leader when they lead their own life, purposely (leading self), and when they work well with others, encouraging them to use their potential - be it in the family, with friends, neighbours, or colleagues (leading others).

Every child can be a leader. This is the Leader in Me paradigm, a school transformation process based on Dr. Stephen Covey’s book: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” which integrates principles of effectiveness in the school’s curriculum.

Leader in Me aligns the academic systems and creates a culture of personal leadership, which produces long lasting results.

A model for improving the whole school

“If you want small changes, work on your behavior; if you want quantum-leap changes, work on your paradigms.” - Stephen. R. Covey

Leader in Me is based on a theory of change known as the See - Do - Get model. When you change the way you see things, you start doing things differently, so you get different things.

The Leader in Me model integrates five core paradigms:

1. Anyone can be a leader. VERSUS Leadership is for the few.
2. Everyone has Genius. VERSUS A few people are gifted.
3. Change starts with me. VERSUS To improve schools the system needs to change.
4. Educators empower students to lead their own learning. VERSUS Educators control and direct student learning.
5. Develop the whole person. VERSUS Help students achieve academically.

How you SEE things influences what you DO.

Leader in Me includes 27 effective practices, organized into nine categories:

1. Professional Learning
2. Student Learning
3. Family Learning
4. Leadership Environment
5. Shared Leadership
6. Leadership Events
7. Schoolwide Goal Achievement
8. Student-Led Achievement
9. Empowering Instruction

What you DO impacts what you GET.

Leader in Me helps schools achieve measurable results in three areas:

– leadership
– organizational culture
– academic

The effective practices develop leadership abilities in students and educators, create a leadership culture, and align academic systems.

By using the specific evaluation instruments, schools measure and monitor the progress they make towards the organizational objectives identified in the school (e.g.> students’ behavior, attendance, academic results etc.) and the objectives connected to the students’ process of transformation (illustrated in the students’ leadership portrait).

A transformation process

Leader in Me helps schools identify the results they seek, according the their missions and visions. There are three key components which fuel the process of improvement, development, and sustainable results:

Professional development

All employees participate in training sessions, in order to assimilate the core paradigms and the effective practices.


The personalised coaching, the guidance, and the meetings of the action teams help schools reach the measurable results they set out to achieve.

Online resources

The online platform offers access to a great number of materials, and to best practices and lesson resources.

A global community

Leader in Me is a global community of educators dedicated to unleashing human potential.

More than 4000 schools from over 55 countries use the Leader in Me process. The schools interact with one another through visits, mentorship programmes, videoconferences, and exchange programmes. The regional, national, and international events reveal a variety of means through which the Leader in Me addresses global, common challenges in education. The process of facilitating these global connections is constantly being improved.

Why Leader in Me?

We provide students leadership skills relevant to a healthy socio-emotional life in the 21st century.

Teachers are aware that they can no longer focus exclusively on test results; students also need development opportunities to use their potential. In other words, the child's mental health and emotional wellbeing are topics of great interest in education and are at least as important as academic success. Leader in Me is a process of transforming the entire school, developing a culture of personal leadership that produces emotional wellbeing for adults and children.

Four reasons why Leader in Me works:

  1. Leader in Me believes that every child is capable of great things, every child is a leader. This paradigm changes everything.

  2. An inside-out approach: teachers learn to apply the effective practices on a personal and professional level, and then, they teach the students how to do it.

  3. It offers teachers, students, and parents a common language, which supports high-quality collaboration.

  4. It is everywhere: instead of teaching leadership once a week, in PSHE, teachers use an integrated approach, which involves leadership training in everything they do.

Leader in Me Outcomes

Students develop a mentality and a set of abilities which they can use in any situation.

Tthe students and adults in the school take responsibility for the learning process, which makes everyone aim high.

A high-quality collaborative culture appears amongst the students and adults in the school, in which everyone’s efforts are aligned.

Adults and students practice personal leadership, which generates a proactive approach to personal development, to the development of the form group, and the development of the school.

Teachers and students start to notice more possibilities than before and they start exploring alternatives for improving the teaching and learning, results, and school culture.

Students and adults assume a culture based on shared leadership, where every person has personal leadership.

Children teach their parents the 7 Habits; parents have the opportunity to participate in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People course, so that children benefit at home from the same type of support.

Elín María Björnsdóttir about Leader in Me

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