An effective leader is not someone who is simply “in charge” or a big kahuna who gets to call themselves “boss”.
The job of a good leader is get the most out of others by demonstrating specific behaviors, attitudes, and skills which can used to inspire and guide those following you to be willing to push themselves to get the most out of their potential and reach a higher level than they’ve ever been to before.
However, certain leadership skills and attributes are best developed before you get out into the professional world, and that is what makes college a great place to develop these qualities. So without further ado, here are 10 reasons it is so important to develop leadership skills in college.
With the central component of being a leader being to understand and accept the fact that you now have responsibilities that can affect a wide range of people, leaders must see to it that they’re getting the best out of everyone in their group. Thus, if one group member fails to complete a task, it is the leader’s responsibility to hold that person accountable while still finding a way for that task to be completed.
You will never be able to succeed as a leader without a healthy belief in yourself and your abilities, and college is a great time to develop your confidence. Whether it is in student government, starting a new club, organizing team rallies, or putting together various social activities for students, leading a campus organization will help develop the confidence you will need for the professional world once you graduate.
The ability to communicate is an essential characteristic of being a leader, and when you are in college, you will have endless opportunities to interact with everyone from other students to campus administrators to leaders of other groups to even high-level figures off-campus, which will provide excellent opportunities to practice your networking skills. What is even better is that these relationships can carry on long past your college days, developing into highly valuable professional and personal contacts.
Life is essentially one problem after the other, and as a leader in the professional world, you are often charged with guiding your group through an almost endless series of challenges. Fortunately, the responsibilities of maintaining a demanding slate of courses, dealing with personal obligations, and effectively performing your role as a leader at the collegiate level provide an excellent opportunity for you to hone your problem-solving skills while enhancing your ability to multi-task before you enter the rock’em sock’em real world.
As with networking, communication here is key. And the ability to confidently address a group about its goals and purpose is something that can be greatly developed while in college. Thus, by taking on leadership roles in school, you will have the opportunity to persuasively speak in front of a variety of people and groups that will build the poise and self-assuredness you will need as a leader in the post-graduate world. Additional ways you can build your communication skills and confidence is by giving speeches at school events, assisting incoming freshman, writing for companies as Essay Supply or even working as a broadcaster for school sporting events.
Leadership is not just about motivating. The ability to manage a group, oversee operational procedures, devise budgets and figure out what should take priority over what is crucial to being a strong leader. And while you will want to do some research to help you choose the college of your dream, once you are there, developing management skills in college is a great way to learn. How to run a group, while at the same time, allowing you to make – and learn from - mistakes in an environment where the consequences are not nearly as critical as those in the real-world workforce.
A lot of people have set ideas of what they can do and not do until they are suddenly pressed to push their mental or physical boundaries. By taking on student leaderships roles, leaders will often be put in positions where they have to step in and take care of certain types of tasks that they have never had to deal with before. For example, you might have to perform accounting functions for your group or perhaps be in charge of coming up with creative ideas used to promote your organization. So while it can sometimes be a bit awkward at first to do something you’ve never had to – or even imagined yourself doing – before, it can be immensely rewarding to discover new talents that you can take with you into your professional future.
With collegiate leadership experience, you will be showing your potential future employers something that can be applied more tangibly to the real world than just a grade point. After all, most companies are looking to the brink in people they think can one day advance to managerial positions, and by demonstrating what you’ve already developed certain leadership skills in college, you have a greater chance of catching a hiring manager’s eye and impressing during an interview.
The concept of negotiation comes in many forms, and when leading a group or organization, it is essential to be able to make those involved feel respected and important. Thus, by taking on projects in college where a good amount of individual collaboration is involved, you gain a foothold on the ability to prioritize the different issues between people that come up, and consequently know when to strike some sort of compromise. In addition to this, many colleges offer workshops for cooperative learning and conflict resolution that can be taken to further enhance your ability to negotiate within a group.
If you are going to be a leader in the professional world, you are going to have to know how to handle being a known face, someone who others will recognize as a leader and approach with various issues or opportunities. Thus, by a leader in college, you will condition yourself to the pressures of being at the top of the pyramid, which will have you much better prepared for when you get to be running the show in the real world.