Whether you are a class president, club officer, or head of some kind of organization, you know what it takes to be a leader. You know the kind of hard work that must be done, the deadlines that must be kept, the meetings that must be attended, and the goals that must be set. However, many times you can get so focused on executing activities that you may not realize that small changes in what you do can make you a better leader. Following these few tips will help you become an efficient, effective leader —
1. Get to know your constituents
If you don’t know whom you’re serving, then how can you serve them effectively? Being an effective student leader means you have to be outgoing and meet new people. As humans, we naturally tend to stick to the same social group over and over again. Unfortunately, your instinct won’t do you much good in this situation. Sticking to the same people continuously confines your thinking to a small area. Step out of your usual friend circle and meet new people; there are bound to be many new things you will discover.
While this may seem like a daunting task, it definitely pays off. A simple conversation and smile can work wonders for your reputation; it shows that you are a friendly leader who is willing to listen to what people want. This doesn’t mean each and every person you meet has to become a best friend. Rather, just find out what their common interests and needs are. And once you identify what those are, you can put on many successful events and projects that adhere to them.
2. Try new things
Now that you have talked to new people and learned what they want and need, what do you do with that information? Use it to think of a great idea! Try something new, something that will amaze people. Many times leaders tend to stick to the same types of projects year after year because they know it is fail-proof. However, that mindset leads to redundancy and complacency — two things that should never happen to a great leader.
Meticulous planning to implement your new idea has two effects — it greatly reduces the project’s chance of error as well as lets you relax because everything has been thought and taken care of.
3. Don’t let failures bring you down
Unfortunately there are times when your projects will turn into utter disasters. People will get angry and your reputation might suffer for some time. So what? As a student leader, realize that this will happen so many times that it will become a routine. What should never become routine, though, is the depression which follows the failure of a project. Good leaders put their heart and soul into everything they lead and become extremely attached to their projects. Naturally, a leader will feel saddened if their project fails.
A failure is only a lasting failure if you do not learn from it. If you learn from your mistakes, you will arise from your misstep a much smarter, more experienced leader.
4. Ask for help when you need it
One of the qualities a great leader is that they can ask for help when they need it. This is extremely important, because some things are just too much for one person to handle. As student leaders, we think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but it is not. There are always people who are looking out for you and are willing to help, whether it is your club advisor, school principal, or even your parents. Keep good relationships with everyone no matter what, because that secret angel might just be anyone.
Remember, there is always room for improvement in leadership techniques. As John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”