What Does It Mean To Be A Leader At College?

Being in college is as much a privilege as it is an opportunity to develop talents and shine. Some of the best advice given to university students is not only to be engaged in the goings on around the school but to actually take a leadership role in a club or organization. If you are considering taking on a more responsible position on campus, here are some tips that can help you get started on the right foot.

Who Is A Leader? 

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What is leadership and who is a leader? In its basic definition, a leader is somebody whom people follow and leadership is the way by which he or she influences others. Effective leadership means you have the authority to stand in front of a group and command everybody to listen and cooperate. In addition to making people do things as he or she sees fit, it also means bringing them together to work with each other towards a shared goal.

It is important to point out that not everybody can be the leader. This is an honor that is granted to somebody because those who put him or her in such a position believe in his or her abilities to take the wheel, so to speak. Thus, before one can be called a leader, followers and believers should come first. Effective leadership does not happen without those who will let you be at the front. In short, the position is earned.

The importance of leaders to any setting cannot be denied. Without a designated person to steer, organizations are often left in disarray and will eventually crumble. As saying goes: “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Qualities of a Leader

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What are the qualities and characteristics of a leader? The concept of leading a college organization is a lot similar to how things go in the corporate or government setting. The idea is to be responsible for a unit and to make sure all elements (members) are responsive and inspired to do their best to reach a goal. Besides being charismatic, personable, and steadfast in decision-making, good leadership qualities include the following:

Be unwavering. One of the greatest skills of a leader is being authentic, especially as you are faced with challenges raised by popular opinion. As the head of an organization, be sure that you remain true to the values that you believe in (particularly the ones that got you elected in the first place). These should consistently reflect in the plans and policies that you present, as well as your behavior and decorum.

Know when to delegate tasks. Being a leader doesn’t mean doing everything yourself. Most people are tempted to just take all the tasks under their wing because they cannot get their team to cooperate. A successful leader knows when to hold the wheel and when to allocate accountability to those who are willing to share the effort.

Listen and keep an open mind. A good leader is a good follower. This means that you do not have the monopoly of ideas. Open the table for discussion and encourage team members to contribute to a collaborative setup. You should also be able to adapt easily to sudden situation changes and seek the best possible options that benefit the entire group.

See mistakes as challenges and learn from them. Not every plan will go your way. You should keep that in mind the moment you are placed in a leadership role. Take every wrong step as an opportunity to do things better and to plan proactively for the future.

Seek knowledge. There is no such thing as a perfect leader. Behavioral theories of leadership are one in the idea that for one to effectively lead, he or she should also continuously learn. Aspiring to do better and develop stronger skills is an inspirational trait that many members look for in a head. Whatever new information you learn, share it with your team. Open it up during a meeting, write them a letter, leave a message on the news page, etc. There are plenty of ways to communicate and share what you know. Not confident about your writing skills? You can hire a writing service to get it done. What matters is the message and that it’s from the heart.

How to Inspire Others

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There is no single way to become a good leader. What leadership means to you may be different from how another person sees it but, still, both can arrive at the same goal. By inspiring others to follow your way of thinking and the path that you choose, you succeed in steering the group toward the direction that benefits most, if not all.

The reasons people decide to give their trust to someone are basically the same and are anchored on being human (and humane). Nobody will want to follow a leader who governs based on fear and coercion. Even without any negativity, people will naturally follow if their values are aligned with yours. Trust and respect are also key elements.

The short of this is that you should walk your talk. It’s not enough that you make plans; you should work towards them and show people you can also do it — and not just order people around. An inspiring leader is one who is not afraid to get down and dirty himself or herself. So if your college club is planning on organizing a sporting event, for instance, you should be there from the planning stage to the after-party cleanup. Don’t just tell them what to do and then show up at the end to take credit.

Taking on an Active Leadership Role in College

College life is exciting because it opens up plenty of opportunities to develop skills and talents that will prepare you for the “real world.” By taking on a leadership role this early, you get to experience working in a group environment and learning to accept opinions and criticism from others. As much as it is a proud moment being at the top and overseeing others, it is also a humbling experience because it teaches you the value of accountability and responsibility. If such an opportunity opens up while you’re at school, take it. If not, seek it. It will change your life forever — and for better.