Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To develop awareness of leadership traits and their relation to self-advocacy skills.

Materials needed: Internet access


“Our unit topic is self-advocacy skills. Self-advocacy skills are the skills required to take initiative for your needs and desires. As an alternative to the term “self-advocacy,” I want us to consider these lessons as leadership training. Instead of somebody else guiding your future, you can take charge! You can take the lead over the direction of your life. As you develop the skills that help you take ownership of your future, you will develop the very leadership skills needed to influence and direct others.”

Discussion: Conversation Starters

  • What skills do you think a good leader possesses?
  • What does it mean to take initiative?
  • Tell me about the decision making process of a good leader.
  • Tell me about the attitude of a good leader.
  • How does a good leader relate to others?
  • What attributes would be helpful for you to develop in order to become a better leader?

Exercise: Exploration

Have the student search the Internet for a leader in his or her field of interest. Explore information on the subject’s leadership traits, communication style, workforce decision-making responsibilities, and public speaking opportunities. 

Discussion: Leadership Traits

“The leadership traits on which we will focus are: personal responsibility, decision-making, relating well to others, maintaining a positive attitude, delegating responsibilities, public speaking, and setting goals. These skills will serve you well in many aspects of your life. Simply eating at a restaurant requires making decisions, relating well to others, and speaking out loud. More importantly, taking responsibility of your educational and career goals requires all of the leadership skills we address. Additionally, your future role as an employee or employer will be far more successful with well-developed leadership abilities. Now is the time to learn about and develop the attributes of a good leader. Let’s get started!”

Exercise: Interviewing a Leader

In effort to learn more about the traits of a leader, assist the student in preparing approximately 10 interview questions to be used as he or she interviews a good leader within the school or organization. The student should contact the individual; explain that he or she would like to interview a superb leader in order to increase awareness of leadership traits; and schedule the interview.
Possible questions:

  • What skills do good leaders possess?
  • Tell me about the decision-making process of a good leader.
  • Tell me about the attitude of a good leader.
  • How does a good leader relate to others?
  • How did you develop leadership skills?
  • How do you motivate others?
  • How do you delegate responsibilities?
  • What is the most difficult aspect of leadership?
  • Must a good leader take initiative over his life before he or she can effectively influence others?
  • How do you take initiative in your role as a leader at this organization/school?

Discussion: Self-Assessment

Guide the student in assessing his or her leadership traits. What are the strengths and what are the areas in need of improvement? “Today we discussed self-advocacy skills and their similarity to traits of an effective leader.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: