Effective Leadership

Practicing proven effective student leadership strategies and methods.
Made by Digital Promise
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
Learn More About Graduate Credit

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Developing leadership skills through five essential practices that effective student leaders exhibit: modeling leadership skills, inspiring a shared vision, challenging existing processes, enabling others to lead, and encouraging and celebrating leadership achievements.

Method Components

As students undertake an activity, the teacher leads them through the five essential practices of effective student leaders. Each practice can be conducted individually, in small groups, or in whole-group instruction. (Activities are based on The Student Leadership Challenge materials by Kouzes and Posner, http://www.studentleadershipchallenge.com/About/Five-practices.aspx.)

The Five leadership practices

  • Modeling leadership skills
    • Examples of leadership skills to model include:
    • Clearly communicating and championing the goals of the project
    • Being confident about the positive outcomes of the project
    • Valuing diverse and unique perspectives
    • Balancing independent and interdependent work
    • Holding the group to a high level of responsibility and supporting caring and ethical behavior
    • Welcoming feedback and giving constructive and kind feedback to others
  • Inspiring a shared vision
    • Examples of ways to inspire a shared vision include:
    • Creating and signing a project vision/goals statement (see the Productive Teamwork micro-credential)
    • Conducting a regular check-in to see how far the group has gone in reaching the project goals and how far members still must go, and re-committing to completing specific tasks to reach the goals
  • Challenging existing processes
    • Examples of ways to challenge existing processes include:
    • Engaging in idea generation and brainstorming (see the Idea Generation and Brainstorming micro-credential)
    • Planning and tracking how well plans are being implemented
    • Reflecting on progress and challenges (see the Reflecting Strategies micro-credential)
    • Ensuring that mistakes and failures are seen as learning opportunities and encouraging resilience, persistence, and creativity in moving forward to reach the project goals
  • Enabling others to lead
    • Examples of ways to enable others to lead include:
    • Modeling collaborative and cooperative behavior (see the Productive Teamwork micro-credential)
    • Being inclusive in discussions, decisions, and problem-solving (see the Collaborative Problem Solving micro-credential)
    • Working to negotiate conflicts toward positive win-win outcomes
    • Listening carefully to others and providing positive feedback
    • Mentoring and supporting others who are learning skills you already have
  • Encouraging and celebrating effective leadership
    • Examples of ways to encourage and celebrate leadership include:
      • Props Circles: Each team member recognizes one particular leadership achievement of another member of the team
      • Leadership Self-reflections: Each team member writes an entry in a reflection journal on a particular personal leadership contribution he or she is proud of and what he or she could do better to be an even better team leader

Suggested preparation

  • Students discuss the qualities of great leaders they are familiar with and their own actions when they were acted as leaders in the past.

Suggested review

  • Students review the results of their leadership work and assess how it helped improve teamwork.
  • Students discuss what could be done next time to improve leadership and teamwork.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Students need opportunities to regularly engage in five core leadership practices that research has shown build essential leadership skills: modeling leadership skills for others, inspiring a shared vision, challenging existing practices, enabling others to act, and encouraging and celebrating leadership achievements.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3, and 4 and a “Yes” for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(200-word limit for each response)

  • Activity Description: What kind of project activities did you and your students engage in to become more proficient at leadership? Please describe the learning activities and strategies you used.
  • Activity Evaluation: How do you know your students increased their leadership proficiency by engaging in the activities, and what evidence did you collect that demonstrates these learning gains?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Please submit work examples from two students (writing, audio, images, video, or other products) that demonstrate progress toward the Effective Leadership competency, including items such as examples of vision/goal statements, video of meetings where student leadership skills were demonstrated, samples of critiques and reflections on the student’s own leadership and that of others, presentations and celebrations of leadership accomplishments, or other relevant items.

Part 3. Student reflections

For the two students whose work examples were included above, submit their student-created reflections on the Effective Leadership activities they experienced. Use the following questions as guidance (200-word limit for each reflection):

  • How did exercising leadership skills in a project help the team be more effective?
  • How did this learning activity change your view of what it takes to be an effective leader?

Part 4. Teacher reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (200-word limit for each response):

  • What was the impact of engaging your students in the Effective Leadership activity?
  • How will experiencing these project activities shape your daily future teaching practice?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
Requirements for Effective Leadership
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

Ready to get started?