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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


The ABC’s: How Students Naturally Become Leaders for Peers

Nearly every week I talk to coaches, faculty or staff at schools who say they can’t find students who will “step up to the plate” and serve as a leader. Often students excuse themselves from leadership by saying they don’t have time, they don’t want to risk friendships they enjoy with peers or they just don’t want the responsibility.


photo credit: mattack via photopin cc

I would suggest, however, there is a natural way that students become leaders, people of influence, among their peers. After observing patterns for years, I’ve found that when students practice the “A, B, Cs” of self-leadership, they are naturally followed by others.

Here are the A, B, Cs of organic leadership:

  1. Healthy Awareness – They are self-aware and socially aware.
  2. Healthy Balance – They can see the big picture yet focus on the immediate.
  3. Healthy Connections – They connect well with teammates.
  4. Healthy Decisions – They make wise choices that model the way for others.

My guess is—you’ve seen this same pattern too. It’s as if when a student or athlete practices healthy self-leadership, they don’t even have to try to get others to follow them as well.  These are the students you’ll want to target as you seek potential leaders for your team. Dee Hock once said that 50% of leadership is self-leadership. Once I lead myself well, I have little trouble convincing anyone else to go with me.

How are you doing at the A,B,Cs above? Know any students who embody them?

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The ABC’s: How Students Naturally Become Leaders for Peers