Leadership, as we know, is the art of motivating, influencing and directing a group of people to work together and achieve the goals of a team. In each phase of life, at every stage of growth, leadership skills are a wealth worth possessing and that is why it is necessary for students to experience leadership opportunities during their schooling. And if pursued and practised with diligence, leadership can be well implanted in an individual so that it can advance his/her professional and personal growth.
First and foremost, let’s apprehend the most crucial characteristics of a student leader.
Effective Leader, Characteristics & skills
- Goal oriented
- Willing to serve others
- A good listener
- A good communicator
- A good decision-maker
- Positive mindset
The next step is to understand how to acquire these skills. Some people are born leaders, but some must develop the skill set required to thrive as a leader. Here are some fundamental steps you can focus on to develop and sharpen your leadership skills that can accelerate your career growth.
- Establish your goals to set your direction and keep a check of every goal you’ve achieved or missed; reward or improvise yourself accordingly.
- Demonstrate discipline by always meeting deadlines. If you’re naturally unorganized then you may start small: like waking up early, setting and following your daily routine and gradually warding off procrastination.
- Develop situational awareness and proactiveness because that will help you see the bigger picture, anticipate any problems before they occur and allow you time to orchestrate alternative plans.
- Keep trying to learn new things as it polishes your skills and enriches your mind.
- Be an astute listener and remain open to ideas, suggestions and feedback. Also understand that effective listening is not only about verbal communication, but also about picking up non-verbal cues like eye contact and body language.
- Take on more projects in school/college/university and try to lead them. By taking control of these projects, you can identify how to delegate, help associates stay on task and resolvedifferences that may surface.
- Engage yourself in volunteering activities like student-run fundraisers or annual events of your institution. This will help you expand your skill set.
- Being a leader also means you should be able to inspire and motivate others. When a team member needs reassurance or assistance, offer it. And sometimes, all a person needs is someone to hear them out and up their motivation level.
- Transform “me” to “we” by understanding and acknowledging the fact that a good leader happens only when there is a good team. Program yourself to keep your team’s best interest in mind rather than your own. Being part of team work and projects that require group participation instead of individual will help you in this aspect.
- Be a people’s person. If you’re not already this, condition yourself to be approachable, open-minded and friendly. If people you collaborate with don’t find you pleasant to communicate or work with, chances are even if you lead them, they will choose not to follow you.
Successful leadership is a skill that can be learned, practiced, and improved upon. And while we tend to notice the more obvious charismatic leaders with the flamboyant and confident personalities, the fact is that anybody, even the quiet kid who barely speaks a word in class, can be a leader. In fact, it is very likely that at some point in their life, everyone will be called upon to lead in some capacity. With this in mind, it is vital that every individual strives for leadership roles during any opportunity that presents itself in their developing years.