Are you making the most of your opportunities as a student leader?
The key question to this series is this: If you are going to be a student leader, don't you want be a GREAT one?
This series provides practical and easy-to-implement ideas that will raise your leadership above the ordinary. Do you want people to refer to you as a "stud" of a student leader or one who is merely "stuck?"
Here's the next seven suggestions:
8. Keep learning.
I'll let you in on a little secret: People aren't impressed with know-it-alls. They do like to follow leaders who are growing, developing, and learning on a consistent basis. If you continually make the same mistakes over and over, you aren't learning. When people understand that you are making a serious attempt to learn something, they'll appreciate your effort and your humility. Here it is in a nutshell: Stop learning and you stop leading.
9. Make people feel special in the first minute you talk to them.
It could be a compliment. It might be a question about something that is going on in their life. It is anything that lets someone else know that you consider them to be important and significant. You have the ability to encourage or discourage in the first 60 seconds of your conversation. You have a chance to create something memorable or ordinary. People may not remember everything you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.
10. End conflict quickly.
As a student leader, you only have a year in your position. You don't have time to carry emotional baggage around and avoid people because of tension from conflict. If something comes up between you and someone else, get it taken care of and move on. Letting things fester or go unresolved only makes matters worse. It will tend to spread to others as they begin to take sides and form camps around the conflict. Conflict doesn't tend to go away on it's own. Be the leader and be intentional in resolving issues as quickly as possible.
11. Give credit to others.
Since you're in a student leadership position, people may naturally want to praise you when something goes well. One of the best ways to motivate others is to deflect the praise you receive on to the people you lead. Don't hog the spotlight. Pass the credit on to those who helped make things happen. Your followers will appreciate the attention and be more motivated to work with excellence on the next project that comes along. As the leader, you don't "need" the credit, you "need" your people to be the best they can be. You'll be amazed how much more they'll respect your leadership when you focus on them during those moments when you might have the right to focus on yourself.
12. Help someone else be successful. Help someone win.
Everyone wants to be the best they can be. But it's difficult to do it on our own. As a student leader, your greatest success will come when your people are successful. Your followers define your leadership. If you help someone else on your team do well - then you do well. You will reach "stud-like" status when you help those around you to be better than they would be without you around. Think about this: If they're not better with you around, then why would they want you around?
13. Solve a problem no one wants to solve.
Leaders are by nature problem solvers. If there's a problem that no one wants to tackle and you take it on and solve it - you are now irreplaceable. Everyday, people sign up for the easy tasks and the simple jobs. But it's the student leader who stands up to the challenge that no one else wants that learns, grows, and has the opportunity to move ahead of the pack.
14. Mentor someone else.
When you mentor someone, you pour your life and learning into them. You might be tempted to only get involved in those things that draw the attention or recognition of a lot of people. But those things don't offer the depth of relationship that a mentoring relationship does. Do you realize that everything you know, you learned from someone else? Mentors have the opportunity to make life-changing differences in those whom they invest in. Choose one or two people that you can pour your life into and you'll find that you learn and grow as much as they do in the process.
Is there one item from this list that you can implement immediately?