Leader in Me

Leader in Me is an evidence-based, comprehensive model—developed in partnership with educators—that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.  The social emotional program has been implemented at all grade levels in the Liberty Central School District.

Using a series of habits and a See-Do-Get framework, Leader in Me helps students find their voice in the classroom by teaching life-ready leadership skills they then apply to become leaders in their school communities.

Eight Habits of Highly Effective People

Leader in Me also works on creating eight habits, based on those created by Stephen Covey in his books “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “The 8th Habit.”

The habits, according to the Leader In Me website, are:

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for one’s own life. Proactive people don’t blame parents, circumstances, or conditions for their behavior. Instead, they choose to focus on areas of life that lie within their circle of influence.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Begin With the End in Mind reconnects individuals with passion and purpose, rather than allowing other people and circumstances to shape one’s life. By outlining a personal mission statement, a plan for achieving greatness can then be established.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Put First Things First is about time management. The Time Matrix, used by Leader in Me, provides a model for identifying and prioritizing tasks based on urgency and importance. Truly effective people ensure the most meaningful tasks related to their personal mission statement are accounted for in weekly and daily planning.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

With Think Win-Win, people work effectively and efficiently with others to achieve optimal results. Society fosters competitive and selfish behaviors that produce win-lose or even lose-lose outcomes. A win-win mentality is a balancing act between courage and consideration that ensures true collaboration takes place in all conflicts.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood teaches the art of sincere, reflective listening. Unknowingly, in conversation, people filter what they hear through their own life experiences and frame of reference. Before a person finishes what they are saying, the listener has already formulated a response.

Habit 6: Synergize

Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation and can only be achieved by valuing the diverse paradigms and opinions of others. In a synergistic environment, true collaboration takes place because the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Sharpen the Saw challenges a person to seek continuous improvement and renewal. Overcoming burnout can be achieved by taking time for oneself through physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual renewal. Habit 7 is revitalizing and helps establish greater capacity for self-improvement.

Habit 8: Find Your Voice

Find Your Voice encourages students to find what they like to do and what they are good at and to use that talent and passion to help others and fill a need. Habit 8 also encourages them to inspire others to find their voice.

Leader in Me Framework

Leader in Me provides a framework of learning based on the theory of change known as the See-Do-Get Cycle. When you change the way you See things, it influences what you Do and the results you Get.

See (Core Paradigms)

Paradigm of Leadership

  • Not this: Leadership is for the few
  • But this: Everyone can be a leader

Paradigm of Potential

  • Not this: A few people are gifted
  • But this: Everyone has genius

Paradigm of Change

  • Not this: To improve schools, the system needs to change first
  • But this: Change starts with me.

Paradigm of Education

  • Not this: Educators focus solely on academic achievement
  • But this: Educations find families partner to develop the whole person

Do (Highly Effective Practice)


  1. Start with Adults Learning and Modeling
    1. Principal & Coordinator Development
    2. New & Ongoing Staff Learning
    3. Family & Community Partnerships
  2. Teach Students to Lead
    1. Direct Lessons
    2. Integrated Approaches
    3. Service Learning


  1. Create a leadership environment
    1. Physical Environment
    2. Social/Emotional Environment
    3. Leadership Events
  2. Share Leadership
    1. Lighthouse & Action Terms
    2. Leadership Roles
    3. Student Voice


  1. Achieve Goals
    1. Individual Goals
    2. Team Goals
    3. Aligned School Goals
  2. Empower Learners
    1. Leadership Portfolios
    2. Student-Led Conference
    3. Empowering Instruction

Get (measure result)

  1. Highly effective students and adults who are leaders in their school community
  2. A high-trust school culture where every person’s voice is heard and their potential is affirmed
  3. Engage students who are equipped to achieve and entrust to lead their own learning.

For more information about the Leader in Me program, visit www.leaderinme.org.