As students grow older, there is a certain amount of responsibility placed on their shoulders. Whether they have ‘official’ leadership positions or are simply the oldest cohort on campus, they need to understand the importance of their roles as student leaders and the qualities they need to possess.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders!

Leadership skills for upper primary students


Being a student leader is about more than just showing a school visitor around the campus! It is about becoming an independent thinker who understands how to work as part of a team and positively affect those around them.

While leadership skills can come naturally to some, research shows that anyone, even young children, can learn and develop leadership qualities when they are explicitly taught and given opportunities to lead.

So, what should we be teaching our students to unlock their leadership potential?

9 Qualities of a Good Leader

We’ve developed a Leadership Qualities – Poster Pack that includes posters highlighting 9 qualities that make a great leader. These colorful posters are sure to help your students understand how they can be at their best as school leaders.

Communication Skills and a Trustworthy Nature

Communicating isn’t just about being a confident speaker! A good leader knows when to speak, how to speak, and also how to listen effectively. In order to inspire trust in others, students must speak with good intentions – this means speaking with honesty and kindness.

What Makes a Good Leader? Leadership Skills for Students - Poster Pack

Creative and Flexible

Modeling a creative and flexible mindset is important as a student leader.

A good leader is able to evaluate a situation quickly and come up with the best course of action. And if that action doesn’t provide the best results, a good leader is able to adapt and change their course to incorporate new ideas and innovations.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

What Makes a Good Leader? Leadership Skills for Students - Brainstorming


Good leadership is not about being ‘in charge’! Rather, it’s about supporting those you are leading.

Student leaders take responsibility for their actions and choices. If something goes wrong, they don’t blame others or make excuses. Instead, they take responsibility, learn from it, correct it, and continue moving forward. When leaders succeed, they are humble, recognizing the efforts of those around them.

Motivated and Positive

Having a positive mindset is integral to inspiring and leading others! As educators, it is important that we instill in our students a belief that whatever goal has been set can and should be accomplished, even if it seems impossible at first. This type of confidence inspires others to be positive!

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Talk to your students about having a growth mindset (or use some of our fun resources!) and encourage your class to motivate each other towards common goals. Being motivated and motivating others is a big part of what makes a good leader.

What Makes a Good Leader? Leadership Skills for Students - Growth Mindset

Committed and Leads By Example

Perhaps the most important quality of all! A great leader leads by example.

Younger students often look up to older students with awe and admiration! They closely watch and copy the behaviors of the older students. A good student leader understands their responsibility as a role model to the younger students.

Not only do they recognize this responsibility, but a good leader is excited about the opportunity to lead and guide others! They would never ask anyone to do anything that they are not willing to do themselves.

Our world needs strong, successful leaders. And with a bit of teaching and encouragement, our students have the potential to meet that need!

How do you encourage leadership skills in your school? Comment your ideas below!

Banner image: lassedesignen/shutterstock.com

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