Leadership Lessons
  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.14 Give examples of how citizens have used organizations in the civil society sector to hold people in power accountable for their actions on behalf of the public.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss civic virtue and its role in democracy.

Students read and analyze different leadership types and then create a visual presentation about a "servant leader" who puts the needs of those served first. They may explore the rich Our State of Generosity website to read about philanthropic servant leaders in Michigan.

PrintTwo 55-Minute Sessions

The learner will:

  • analyze strengths and weaknesses of leadership styles.
  • identify characteristics of good leaders through examples on the Our State of Generosity website.
  • define Servant Leadership.
  • reflect upon his/her own experiences as a leader and as a group member.
  • Create printouts of the following online articles or have students read online.
  • Printout or Google Doc version of Handout: Leadership Lessons and Handout: From Passion to Career Unit Rubric
  • Access to the internet for Day Two
  • A half-poster board for each group of three students
Home Connection: 

Have students ask their parents about the types of organizations that they are involved with and how they would categorize each organization (ex: hospital is a nonprofit organization; book club is a social organization; employer may be a business, nonprofit, or government organization). They may also ask about different leadership styles that they have experienced or that they themselves use, and their thoughts and feelings about leadership.

  1. Day One:

    Anticipatory Set:

    Ask students to name some places where they have observed leaders in action (may include home, school, work, church, sports teams, neighborhood organizations, friend circles).

    Without giving them any leading information, have students write their own definition of a leader in their notebooks or on notecards, if you'd like to collect their initial thoughts.

    Ask them to picture what leaders look like, things they do, things that they say, how they make us feel, and personal qualities that they have.As a whole group, brainstorm a list (may be organized into a web or other graphic organizer) of leader characteristics on chart paper or white board.

  2. Tell students the purpose of this lesson is to learn about and see examples of leadership qualities and styles.

  3. Give students the handout or the link to the article "The Six Styles of Leadership" (see Materials). In class, they read the article and "talk to the text" (underline main ideas, circle confusing words or ideas, write questions and connections in the margins).

  4. Organize students into small groups and have them discuss (10 minutes) the main points and their reactions to the reading. Ask them to give specific examples of where they observed the different types of leadership.

  5. Have students share out what they discussed to the whole group. Have one or two students record this shared information on chart paper or the white board.

  6. After the discussion, hand out a copy of the PDF (article 2 in Materials) that summarizes the leadership styles for them to keep as notes.

  7. Move back to individualized work and have students read the article titled "Successful Leadership Characteristics: A Learned Skill." If using a paper handout, have the students talk to the text.

  8. Again, move them into small groups to discuss the reading and have them complete Leadership Lessons (Handout 1).

  9. Day Two:

  10. Ask students to reflect on Day One's work with a partner. Have them collaborate to recall the different leadership styles and which ones they work best with and which ones they exhibit.

  11. Tell the students that one style of leadership is called "servant leadership." Servant leaders put the needs of those being led first. The leader thinks less about the benefits of being a leader and more about advancing the needs of the people he or she serves. Ask them why they might want our politicians to strive for this style of leadership.

  12. Tell them that they will be learning more about servant leadership and creating a poster to teach others about it.

  13. Share the website address for "Our State of Generosity" https://ourstateofgenerosity.org/section/michigans-culture-servant-leadership-introduction/and have student read and watch the videos about Servant Leadership. Have each student write a definition in their own words.

  14. You may need to remind students that a philanthropist is someone who gives time, talent, or treasure for the common good. Philanthropist leaders are featured in the Our State of Generosity project because their volunteer leadership improved the state of Michigan.

  15. Next, organize students into groups of three to create a small poster (1/2 of large poster board) about servant leadership. The poster should include a definition, an example, visuals, and a creative way to let others know how servant leadership might impact our society or any "community" where people gather to live or accomplish something.

  16. Students display their posters and have a brief share out the last 10 minutes of class.

  17. Give each student a copy of handout two to preview the rubric for the unit.


Assessment will be based upon of quality completion of the Leadership Lessons Summary (Handout 1), the Servant Leadership Poster, and students' participation in group discussion.