Four reasons why The Leader in Me leadership model works so well when so many other reform initiatives don't:
It embodies a different paradigm.
It works from the inside out.
It uses a common language—The 7 Habits.
The implementation is ubiquitous.
A Different Paradigm
Instead of seeing children through the lens of a normal distribution curve—some kids are smart and some less smart—The Leader in Me paradigm sees that every child is capable, every child is a leader. This paradigm changes everything.
From the Inside Out
Leader in Me Schools must first get their own teachers on the same page and improve the climate among their staff before they can make it come alive with the students. They can't expect changes in their students until they have changed themselves. As the great educator Roland S. Barth puts it, "The nature of the relationships among the adults who inhabit a school has more to do with its quality and character, and with the accomplishments of its pupils, than any other factor." This model is just as much about the adults as it is the children. It's inside out—first teachers, then students, and then parents.
A Common Language—The 7 Habits
When everyone—teachers, students, and parents—begin using the same language, you get a compound-interest effect that is truly amazing. The 7 Habits create that common language. For example, what a difference it makes when everyone knows what it means to "put first things first" or to "seek first to understand" or to "be proactive." Leader in Me Schools often find their students using the language among themselves and with their parents: "I need to put first things first and do my homework before I play"; "I should have thought win-win"; or "Dad, you're being reactive."
Implementation Is Ubiquitous
The Leader in Me is not an event and it's not a curriculum; it's ubiquitous leadership development—meaning everywhere and all the time. Instead of "teaching leadership every Tuesday at 1 p.m.," educators use an integrated approach and make leadership training part of everything they do. So the model impacts everything—the traditions, events, organization, culture, instructional methodologies, and curriculum of the school. But as teachers will tell you, "It's not doing one more thing; it's doing what you're already doing in a better way."