Emerging Leaders Program:
A Suite of Leadership Development Workshops

Students must attend two mandatory workshops and three optional workshops to complete the Emerging Leaders Workshop Suite.

The Emerging Leaders Program is a suite of workshops that help students develop their leadership. These workshops are 55-minutes long and cover a variety of topics. Our workshops are student-facilitated by members of the ACCE Team, a group of McGill student volunteers that help their peers develop their leadership and get involved on campus or in the community. Scheduling information is included below in the drop-down menu of each workshop description.

Students who fulfil the requirements of the Emerging Leaders Program receive a Certificate of Completion for their involvement. To earn this Certificate, students need to attend the two mandatory workshops: Exploring Leadership and Citizenship & Culture. In addition to attending these two workshops, students choose three additional workshop topics from the other six workshops offered. These workshops include Ethics, Power, Motivation, Communication, Being a change agent, and Conflict management. More information and workshop descriptions are listed below.

The Emerging Leaders workshops are offered twice a year, in September and January. Scheduling information is included below in the drop-down menu of each workshop description. All workshops are offered in the Brown Student Services Building, 3600 Rue McTavish. Registration for the workshops opens at the beginning of each semester.  If you would like to be notified when registration is open for the September 2019 workshops, please click here and leave us your contact info!

Students who have participated or who are currently involved in the Emerging Leaders Program can track their progress online. Sign into MyInvolvement and check your Co-Curricular Record to check how much of the program you have completed. 

If you have any questions, you can contact us at [at] (subject: Emerging%20Leaders%20Program)

Exploring Leadership

In this session, students explore the definition of leadership and consider important aspects of leadership. Different models and theories are also considered, and students begin to develop their personal philosophy of leadership.

Citizenship & Culture

This session challenges students to relate leadership to citizenship, and to consider how these ideas could be practiced while at university. Then, leadership and citizenship are both related to culture to help students appreciate the importance of context. Finally, the session concludes with a reflection piece so students self-analyze and determine how they can develop their leadership.


To analyze and discover how ethics and leadership intertwine, students in this workshop will examine different ethical standards and be challenged to apply those standards to a classic ethical dilemma. By critically reflecting upon their own beliefs and those of their peers, students will actively engage in debate on making moral decisions. The session concludes by exploring the application of ethics to leadership. 


This workshop helps students explore positional power and social influence, particularly as it relates to their individual identities. It encourages students to critically reflect on the power they may have and how to leverage it in everyday situations. The workshop also examines power struggles and encourages students to link power to everyday leadership. 


Opening with an energizing activity, this workshop will challenge students to examine their perceptions and definitions of motivation. Common themes will be explored as students discuss and discover how to find inspiration in daily life. The workshop concludes with an overview of techniques for cultivating motivation and a consideration of students’ individual needs in regards to motivation. 


In this session, students learn about effective methods for communication and challenge themselves to consider potential obstacles when communicating cross-culturally. Students will leave this session with a toolkit of useful communication strategies, including methods for active listening.

Being A Change Agent

Students participating in this workshop will begin by playing a game to explore themes related to individual influence, personal interpretations, communication, and change. The workshop will also help students consider the impact people have to inspire other and how they, as individuals, can harness the power of their passions to influence positive change in their communities.

Conflict Management

Through this highly interactive workshop, students will work across potential disputes to balance their positionality and needs with the potentially conflicting desires of others. Students will further learn about conflict management styles by reflecting both individually and with peers so they can better understand themselves and how they can collaborate more effectively with other people. 


Listed below are additional resources to help you learn more about the topics covered in our workshops. 

Exploring Leadership

While there are numerous approaches and definitions of leadership, in our workshop we explore four main theories: authentic leadership, servant leadership, transformational leadership, and the Social Change Model. To read more about each, click on the links below.

The workshop also features the First Follower video, which teaches values lessons about leadership and challenges traditional social understandings of who are leaders. Click here to watch First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy on YouTube.

To learn more about leadership, we encourage you to check out Leadership for the Twenty-First Century (Rost, 1991). We have adopted Rost's definition of leadership in programming; "Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes that reflect their mutual purposes" (Rost, 1991). Leadership includes four essential elements: 

  • Leadership is a relationship based on influence
  • Leaders and followers are the people included in the relationship
  • Leaders and followers intend real changes
  • Leaders and followers develop mutual purposes


Here are some other resources on leadership that we recommend checking out: 

  • Astin, A.W., & Astin, H.S. (2000). Leadership reconsidered: Engaging higher education in social change. Battle Creek, MI: W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

  • Komives, S. R., Dugan, J. P., Owen, J. E., Slack, C., & Wagner, W. (2011). The handbook for student leadership development. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

  • Video series on leadership from The Chronicle of Higher Education.


Citizenship & Culture

Leadership that occurs in a wide range of environment requires the knowledge and understanding of context, which includes intercultural awareness and civic engagement. Leadership, taking place in our increasingly connected, diverse, and global societies necessitates a recognition of differences in cultures, identities, and experiences. Citizenship and culture, therefore, are critically linked with leadership in today’s 21st world.

According to Astin and Astin (2000) leadership and citizenship are not only connected, but they are also central components of the educational experience of university students who intend to inspire positive change in society. Included in the definition of citizenship is engagement. Especially in democratic society, citizenship emphasizes civic responsibility and involvement in political affairs, such as voting and advocating for important issues. Social justice is an important part of civic engagement and citizenship; members of society must constantly assess and critically examine governmental practices to determine if systems, practices, rights, etc. are just and fair for everyone in the country. Social justice work demands that citizens take an active role in advocating for the rights of fellow citizens to ensure not only equality, but equity. Thus, rather than being a static position, citizenship is the active process of analyzing and engaging in civic discourses to examine political practices and take action toward positive, meaningful, and transformational change.  

The idea of citizenship encourages students to actualize their experiences in multiple contexts and situations; understand the connections between people, processes, and systems in order to collaborate and act with purpose, courtesy, and intention. Citizenship begs for active reflection on experiences and opportunities, application of acquired knowledge in service to others and effective problem-solving skills when dealing with issues within groups, communities, and society.

Consider these resources for more information:



Ethics is the system of moral principles that guide decision-making and actions. Ethics may differ according to culture, society, and/or community. 

In this workshop, we consider the famous ethical thought experiment called "The Trolley Problem", including a few twists on the original. Using A Framework for Ethical Decision Making from Santa Clara University, we examine five different ethical perspectives that might alter how one conceptualizes an ethical dilemma. 

We also recommend reading about Ethical Leadership to learn more about how ethics and leadership intersect, and how one can develop their ethical leadership. 



Power refers to the social influence and impact someone has over other people. As such, this idea includes responsibility, accountability, and social justice themes. Not everyone who has power acts ethically, so people in positions of power might take advantage or, or abuse, their ability to influence. 

Considering power from a social justice perspective, it is important to understand that each person comes from a position in society that influences their power and ability to achieve their goals. Here is an activity we recommend using to explore social privilege. 

Privilege and power also depend on an individual's social identity. To explore social identities, we suggest using the Social Identity Wheel activity from Arizona State University. Here are the facilitator guide and handout: 



What motivates you? This is a timeless question that many people encounter in interviews as well as in their personal life. Not always easy to answer, it's an important thought that each leader should explore to determine how and why they do what they do. 

To learn how great leaders inspire action, we recommend watching this famous TED Talk by Simon Sinek.

Weiner's Model of Attributions explains that achievement-related events include three main elements: 

  • Locus: whether the cause of the event is perceived as internal or external to the individual 
  • Stability: whether the cause is stable or unstable across time and situations 
  • Controllability: whether the cause of the event is perceived as being under the control of the individual

Depending on how an individual attributions success (or failure) to an event impacts their motivation. For example, if someone feels like they have more control over an outcome, they are likely to be more motivated to engage with the situation since they believe they can positively influence the outcome. In contrast, if an outcome feels less stable to someone, they are more likely to avoid the situation because they believe their impact will not matter as much. You can read more about this model here: PDF icon Weiner's Model of Attributions (1980)



Communication refers to the act or process of exchanging verbal and non-verbal messages. Effective communication is key to successful leadership. Effective leaders employ useful communication skills to motivate others, take charge of difficult situations, handle conflict, and ensure that team goals are accomplished.

To achieve effective communication, we recommend two models of communication: The Shannon-Weaver Sender-Receiver model and the Barnlund Transactional Model. These models help portray certain relevant facts about communication:

  • There is always a sender and receiver in communication.
  • Communication is a continuous process, in which we are simultaneously senders and receivers.
  • Depending on the situation, one can implement different forms of communication to effectively transmit a message.
  • There are distractors, such as noise, that may distort the intended message(s).
  • Communication also happens unconsciously.

Effective communication also includes active listening. More than simply listening to the words people say, active listening involves understanding the feelings and the attitudes behind the words, and also calls for the receiver to be engaged and attentive, rather than passive and uninterested. Leadership, which relies on developing and maintaining relationships, requires knowledge and experience with active listening and investing in communication, collaboration with other people.

While the concept of listening comes with many challenges, active listening is a useful approach, central to quality leadership. Some leadership theories, such as servant leadership and transformational leadership, describe a leader who seeks to earn respect and trust from their followers by developing relationships though shared dialogue. Efficient dialogue can only be achieved through effective communication and active listening.

To learn more about communication, we encourage you to consult the following resources: 


Being a change agent

Being to a change agent is how an individual is able to impact change in their communities. Similar to power, being a change agent depends on a variety of factors, including social identity. Role models are common examples of change agents since people often look to them for guidance and direction. 

We encourage you to read this article from Forbes, which explains why every leader must be a change agent.


Conflict management

Conflict management is about recognizing what multiple parties are looking for and what obstacles impede more collaborative, cooperative relations. As such, effectively managing conflict often comes with good negotiation skills as well as the ability to communicate (and listen!) intentionally. 

To practice negotiation skills, we encourage using this activity from MIT

Each person has their own approach to addressing conflict. The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Instrument (TKI) is a questionnaire that helps individuals identify their personal style to conflict management. According to TKI, there are five management styles: 

  • Competing 
  • Collaborating
  • Compromising 
  • Avoiding
  • Accommodating 


Workshop Facilitators