"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848), 6th President of the United States
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This Business English lesson plan on leadership has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

A great leader inspires. A great business leader not only inspires their team, but also inspires customers and clients. In this Business English lesson plan on leadership, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as what the role of a leader is, how companies can be inspirational and their own experiences with leaders at work.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

Entrepreneur | “7 Ways to Become a Better Business Leader”

As the title says, this article will give the students several pieces of advice on how to become a better leader at work. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TED Talk by Simon Sinek called “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” which talks about the way great leaders through history have inspired action and how businesses can use the same techniques to be inspirational to their customers.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the role of a leader, the best qualities of a leader and what leadership skills the students themselves have.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with leadership such as take charge, rally the troops and team spirit. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about business leadership. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the challenges leaders face, what makes someone a bad leader and if there are any differences between male and female leaders.


After the class, students will write a description of their company using Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle that they saw in the video. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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2 thoughts on “Leadership”

  1. There is a typo in “to rally the troops (verb) – to encourage and motivate people to WORKER harder to complete a task or
    support a cause”

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