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How to be an Effective Leader

In the book The Leadership Challenge, authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner used 30 years of original research of over 3 million leaders to identify “Five Practices and Ten Commitments of Leadership,” actions and attributes that contribute to strong leadership.


Challenging the Process

Leaders treat their mistakes as learning opportunities and stay prepared to meet any challenge.

  • Search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate and improve.
  • Experiment, take risks and learn from the accompanying mistakes.


  1. Hold a meeting with members and ask them what their least favorite part of the club is. Commit to changing three of the most pressing issues.
  2. Try to implement a new activity or fundraiser that you heard about from a friend or online.

Inspiring a Shared Vision

Leaders envision a better future. They inspire the team to see exciting possibilities for the future and enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes and dreams.


  1. Imagine yourself at the end of the school year. Where do you want to be? What do you want to have accomplished?
  2. Be accessible and approachable to everyone, including underclassmen and students you are unfamiliar with.

Enabling Others to Act

Leaders foster collaboration and built spirited teams. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful.

  • Encourage collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  • Strengthen people by providing choices, delegating responsibilities and offering support.


  1. Host fun events such as a dance or movie night to increase interactions and build teamwork.
  2. Replace the word “I” with “we” to signal a commitment to teamwork.

Modeling the Way

Leaders establish rules, principles and standards of excellence. They lead by example.

  • Set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values.
  • Achieve small wins that promote progress and build commitment.


Set small goals that are achievable and realistic.

Encouraging the Heart

Leaders recognize contributions that individuals make and celebrate accomplishments.

  • Recognize individual contributions to the success of every project.
  • Celebrate team accomplishments regularly.


  1. Say “thank you” when you appreciate something that someone has done.
  2. Bake cookies for your club after a big event, such as the Day of Silence.