Leadership is the umbrella term to encompass the many character traits and basic life competencies that parents, business leaders, and educators are voicing as the desired skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century (below). Every student has a Leadership Notebook that is used to track goals, leadership experience and successes with the 7 Habits (adapted from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Students learn to take responsibility for their choices and behaviors. They are in charge of how they react to people or situations and choosing their actions, attitude and moods. Emphasis is on taking care of ourselves and our things, reacting or not reacting to others’ behavior, planning ahead, and thinking about what is the right thing to do.
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Students learn to think about how they would like something to turn out before they get started. Emphasis is on starting with the end in mind; planning ahead, setting goals, doing things that have meaning, and looking for ways to be a good citizen. One way this habit is taught, modeled and practiced is through the development and application of individual mission statements. Each year, every family, student, teacher and classroom will craft their own mission statements. These are prominently displayed and kept in students’ leadership notebooks and are frequently referenced.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
Students learn to decide what is most important and to take care of that first. Thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow or by the end of the week can be overwhelming, especially for children. Emphasis is on learning to think about which things are the most important and taking care of them first, setting priorities, being organized, and making/following plans.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Students learn to think win-win, which is the belief that everyone can win. It’s not me or you—it is both of us. Emphasis is on developing a belief that there are enough good things for everyone, being happy for others when good things happen to them and finding win-win solutions to problems or conflicts.
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Students learn that it is better to listen first and talk second. Emphasis is on learning to think from other people’s perspective, listening to other people’s ideas and feelings, listening to others without interrupting, and listening with our ears, eyes and heart.
Habit 6: Synergize
Students learn to work together to create a better solution that either would have thought of alone. Emphasis is on valuing other people’s strengths and learning from them, getting along well with others, working well in groups, and authentically seeking out other people’s ideas.
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Students learn to have balance of the body, brain, heart and soul. Emphasis is on eating right, exercising, and getting enough sleep (body), learning in lots of ways and lots of places (brain), spending time with family and friends (heart), and taking time to find meaningful ways to help people (soul).