Leader in Me

Leader in Me is a social emotional learning process—developed in partnership with educators—that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. It is based on secular principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness. Distinct in several ways, Leader in Me starts from a powerful premise—every child possesses unique strengths and has the ability to be a leader—which shapes the views of staff to value and develop the whole child.

This whole-school improvement model integrates leadership development into existing programs, curricula and traditions and serves as a foundational operating system for the school, improving relationships, transforming culture, and motivating staff and students. All stakeholders are impacted by Leader in Me, starting with the staff of a school, then expanding to students, their families, and the community at large. This Inside-Out Approach is a key ingredient to successfully creating positive change in a school.

Leader in Me utilizes and integrates several leadership, social emotional learning, quality, and educational models and processes from past and current thought leaders including The 4 Essential Roles of Leadership and The 4 Disciplines of Execution. The process includes student participation in goal setting, data tracking, leadership roles, Student-Led Conferences, leadership environments, and Leadership Events. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is also a key component of the overall Leader in Me process and is a synthesis of universal, timeless principles of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and renewal, which are secular in nature and common to all people and cultures.

This program is approved for WV Expanded School Mental Health.

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

  • Improved academic performance
  • Reduced emotional distress
  • Improved identity development and agency
  • Reduced problem behaviors
  • Improved school climate
  • Improved school connectedness
  • Improved social behaviors
  • Improved teaching practices
  • Improved other SEL skills and attitudes

Continuum of Care:
Universal Prevention

Topic Areas:
Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Disruptive Behaviors, Trauma

Childhood (4-12), Teen/Adolescent (13-18)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:

Cultural Considerations:
A balanced amount of the research involved diverse populations


This program is for all students grades K-12.


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
Please contact educate@franklincovey.com for more information on training.

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Andersen, L. (2012). The effects of formal leadership-lessons on the emergence of positive social-leadership skills of pre-kindergarten students. In Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences (Vol. 73, Issue 6–A, p. 2012). ProQuest Information & Learning.

Bennett, C. (2020). Bloom Where You’re Planted: Spreading the Seeds of Leader in Me Everywhere. Journal of Leadership, Accountability & Ethics, 17(2), 10–24.

Bryant, B. (2018). The experiences of educators applying the leader in me initiative to their classrooms. In Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences (Vol. 78, Issue 8–A(E)). ProQuest Information & Learning.

Cummins, K. (2015). A mixed methods study on The Leader In Me process : how does fostering student leadership capacity influence behavior, efficacy, and achievement? / Kimberly Cummins.

Ferland, A., Chu, Y. L., Gleddie, D., Storey, K., & Veugelers, P. (2015). Leadership skills are associated with health behaviors among Canadian children. Health Promotion International, 30(1), 106–113. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dau095

Saylor, M. L. (2019). The Impact of “The Leader in Me” School Leadership Model on Perceived Shared Leadership. In ProQuest LLC.

Howell, E. L. (2021). Impact on Student Achievement Equity in Schools Which Use the Leader in Me Program. In ProQuest LLC.

Soutter, M. (2018). The Role of “The Leader in Me” in the Social and Emotional Learning and Youth Voice Development of Elementary Students. In ProQuest LLC.

Wilkens, C. L., & Wilmore, E. (2015). Does Implementing an Emotional Intelligence Program Guarantee Student Achievement? Education Leadership Review of Doctoral Research, 2(1), 34–46.

Whitman, R. D. (2021). The Influence of the Leader in Me (LIM) on academic achievement. In Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences (Vol. 82, Issue 7–A). ProQuest Information & Learning.

Additional Sources:


Promising rating

WV Rating:
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

Leader in Me is ranked as a Casel Select program and not reviewed by other clearinghouses. Of the 10 research studies we could obtain, none were randomized control trials. Research was current spanning this decade but lacked focus on specific program outcomes and as such, reported mixed success. Based on the mixed research and lack of randomized control trials, we can rate this no higher than promising. Reviewers recommend further randomized control trial research with focused outcome measures.

Contraindications or Concerns:
None identified

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Not On Registry

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Not On Registry

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Not On Registry

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Not On Registry