You can't force people to follow you. That's not leadership. That's dictatorship.
As a student leader, you have access to a lot of really cool and meaningful opportunities to fully express your influence and engage in an adventure with your peers. But that doesn't happen if you aren't relevant.
Here's the question...again...
If you are going to be a student leader, don't you want be a GREAT one?
So now I'm going to continue to feed you some fairly easy, but revolutionarily (I just made that word up) effective ways to raise your influence (and relevance) as a student leader.
15. Keep your promises.
One of the easiest things to do as a student leader is to make a promise. People are wary of a campaign promise because it never moves past the "making" phase. Keep your word. If you make a promise, then do the hard work to manage and follow through on that promise. One of the best ways to prove to people that they can trust you is to be trustworthy. At the core of trustworthiness is the ability to do what you've promised to do. If you don't think you can keep a promise, don't make it in the first place.
16. Set your personal expectations higher.
You'll quickly notice that everyone has certain expectations for you as a student leader. Expectations will come from people like your advisor, your team, your peers, your teachers, your coaches, your parents. Everyone has some idea of what you're capable of and how much you will accomplish (and how much you should accomplish for them). So here's the trick to getting around that: Don't worry about everyone else's expectations of you -- just set your personal expectations higher than everyone else's. That way, you won't have to worry about being labeled as mediocre, or average, or unreliable. You'll blow people away because you've set your own standard...and you set it higher.
17. Possess a positive, abundance mentality.
You are constantly going to bump into people who feel like there is never enough time, never enough resources, never enough capability present in the room. And since they feel that way, they are going to scramble to make sure they get what's theirs before everyone else does. But if you want to be a student leader who stands above the fray, keep your attitude positive and work from a sense of abundance. Be generous and optimistic. Don't try to guard your territory or keep everything you know a secret. Share your resources and help others succeed.
18. Get involved in making the world a better place.
Ultimately, you were given gifts, strengths, talents, abilities, smarts, skills...you get the idea...not to make yourself better - but so you can be actively engaged in bettering the world. The best student leaders find ways to get involved in their community, fight for social justice, and right the wrongs caused by poverty and inequality. And those experiences are then incorporated into the fabric of your leadership. And you know what they give you? Perspective. Compassion. Heart. People like to see that in their leaders.
19. Be present.
When other students are talking to you, look them in the eye and listen. When you're in a meeting, don't keep checking your email. Work hard at being as fully present wherever you are at. Notice what's going on around you. The world is full of people whose bodies are in the room but their mind is somewhere else. Take the headphones out of your ears when you walk across campus - they make you appear unapproachable. Make people feel like they are the center of your attention when you are with them. The best way to do that is to make them the center of your attention when you are with them.
20. Keep short accounts.
What I'm suggesting here is that you travel as lightly as possible. This means that you don't carry around the baggage of grudges, hard feelings, unresolved conflict, misunderstandings, anger, bitterness, and all of the stuff like that. It will eat you up inside. Do you want to be as effective as possible? Then learn to forgive people. When you forgive someone, it releases all of those things that I just listed that can tear away at your heart, mind, and soul. This means that there may be times that you need to forgive yourself as well. You have too much potential, too many great things you want to do to be carrying around that stuff with you. And when you forgive people, they'll be more willing to forgive you.
21. See situations from a variety of perspectives.
For all of the knowledge and wisdom and experience you have in you - yours is only ONE perspective. Two people can see the same thing and come away with two different stories. That's because you don't see the world as it is - you see the world as YOU are. When you need to make a decision seek out other people's perspectives. Change the way you are looking at something. You'll learn and your world will expand and you'll increase the odds of making a good decision. Don't surround yourself with people who think like you...you already know how you think. Find people that can offer you a whole new way of looking at the world. And your world will get a whole lot bigger.
Only 14 more to go. I've already got them written down. I can't wait to share them with you. If you missed the first 14, then follow the links below.