3 Surefire Ways to Develop Student Leaders for the Future

By Greg Martin

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

Mentoring student leaders is part of my responsibility to develop future leaders.

Peter Block is quoted as saying, “We get the leaders we create.” This could be in your workplace, community, school, or even your home. Developing leaders is not something that should be taken lightly, nor is it something that we should expect others to know how to do.

Leadership is a daily growth process that we will never outgrow. Once you think you have outgrown learning to lead, you are no longer a leader.

When developing other leaders, make it a point to meet them where they are at in the leadership development process.

Someone new to this concept should not be thrown into situations that overwhelm them, nor should a seasoned leader be given a leadership responsibility that does not challenge them.

Developing Leaders

Here are 3 ways to help develop student leaders who will soon be leaders in our communities, government, and business organizations.

1. Lead By Example

Nothing shows leadership other than someone who can be counted on. Someone who does what they say they will do and who serves as a great role model to follow is a leader who can be counted on.

Some of the best leaders have been those who have put in a helping hand when needed and who know their students or employees on a personal level.

When you lead by example, there is no written script, and every take is live. Leading by example demonstrates being ethical, trustworthy, and honest.

Your actions must be consistent with your words. Leading by example may be the best leadership development tool a leader can use.

2. Conduct Lesson Learned Reviews

A lesson-learned review can be a structured or unstructured process in deciphering what happened during an event, assignment, or project. Having these sessions allows the participants to focus on both the positives and areas in which the individual or team could have done better.

Asking questions that will determine what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better is a good strategy. Allowing the opportunity for open dialogue is the catalyst where the development begins.

3. Give Them More Responsibility

Give more responsibility to help grow their roles and confidence.

By doing this, you do several things in developing others. You give the student a sense of pride and develop trust and loyalty.

Let them surprise you with their work and accomplishments.

Student Leaders Asking Questions

Invest in Followers

The student will need to know you will be present for support and guidance but resist the urge to fix the problem for them.

Think of duties or an assignment that focuses on their individual or team strengths that will help them now and in the future.

Great leaders use their time to their advantage by investing in their followers. Leadership is not about you; it’s about others and stretching their potential.

To be a great leader, we have a responsibility to develop a leadership pipeline that will continue to grow.

I firmly believe that the pipeline starts at home, church, and school. These tips can also be used in business and nonprofit organizations.

They seem elementary, but they are not practiced often. Great leaders develop a continual flow of leaders while building a culture and mindset that leaders develop leaders.

How Can You Develop Student Leaders?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Greg Martin
Greg Martin
Greg works for Sedgwick County Department of Corrections and owns Martin Leadership & Management Development. He is a U.S. Army veteran & holds a MS in Leadership and Management from Friends University.
  • David McCuistion says:


    As a teacher for fourteen years in high schools, I have to say your have hit the nail on the head. These were the three major traits I exhibited as a teacher and as a team coach.

    Number 2 is especially important. After each competition, we would hold a “Goods and Others” discussion on the recent competition, which is most valuable.

    Great article. Thank you.

  • Greg Martin says:

    Thank you David. Glad you enjoyed the article.

    Lead Well,


  • Dianna Bryan says:

    I have been teaching 13 years. I feel this was very needful for me as I enable students to lead for the future. Your second point is one that I want to incorporate, not just the positive things that went well, but what went wrong with suggestions to correct or do better the next time.

  • Greg Martin says:


    Good for you. I hope your implementation goes well. I am glad my article was helpful. Lead Well.

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