Lesson Plans

Introduction to Collaborative Leadership


  • Define Collaborative Leadership
  • Understand the difference between Collaborative and Traditional leadership
  • Identify real world examples of Collaborative Leadership
  • Identify why Collaborative Leadership is important
  • Identify ways be a Collaborative Leader in your sphere of influence right now
[gview file=”https://www.gyli.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Introduction-to-Collaborative-Leadership.pdf”]

Introduction Activity (10 minutes):  Ask your students, What is leadership? Draw a T-chart on the board with leadership on one side and the other side left blank like this:


Elicit and record responses of specific words they associate with Leadership under the word “Leadership”

After getting thoughts from students, ask them what they know about the word “Collaborative”. Add the word to the T-Chart and record their responses like you did with “Leadership”


Pause as a class and look at all the words on the T Chart.

What is similar or different between the words “Leadership” and “Collaborative”?

Putting Words Together – “Collaborative Leadership” (20 minutes): Ask students to pair off. Once everyone has their partners ask them, what is “Collaborative Leadership“? Challenge the students to write in one sentence what Collaborative Leadership is and to draw an image that represents it as they understand it. Call on students to share out their responses. Then show them the GYLI definition of collaborative leadership:

GYLI Definition of Collaborative Leadership: Co-learning, and co-creating based on community, partnership, and input from all stakeholders.  It is a constructive process based on multiple perspective thinking and acting, where shared visions are built in a common space, and success is celebrated together.

Ask the class, if they have seen this type of leadership before? Where? How is it different than “Traditional Leadership”? (You may need to take a few minutes here to briefly help them understand what traditional leadership is)

Concept Checking with Visuals (3-5 Minutes): Show the students a series of images and ask them if they think it represents “Traditional” or “Collaborative Leadership” and why they think so. See the PowerPoint for Suggested Images

Show the Traditional v. Collaborative Image (See PowerPoint) and have different students read the 8 differences aloud. (5 minutes)

Ask students why do you think Collaborative Leadership is important today?

Transfer/Exit Ticket (5-10 minutes):

  • What is Collaborative Leadership?
  • In one sentence how does Collaborative Leadership differ from Traditional Leadership?
  • What is one way you can practice Collaborative Leadership in your life today?

Extension Activity (20-30 minutes):

Scenario Jig Saw:  Looking at the following scenarios – what are some ways  Collaborative Leadership could be used to create success? (Be Specific)

  • Planning a School Dance
  •  Improving School Lunches
  • Planning a Group Project for a Class
  • Planting a Garden at your School


Why do you think collaborative leadership is used more?

Do you have any personal experiences with collaborative leadership? (Were those experiences difficult or easy and why?)

What parts of Collaborative leadership seem hardest for you? why? easiest? why?

What are some tangible ways you could be a collaborative leader in your spheres of influence?