The need for leadership is present everywhere, whether it be technical jobs or management positions. Leadership is valuable because it’s more than just giving orders and making sure that others do what they’re supposed to.
Leadership is all about building connections with people, finding common ground, and being able to help others demonstrate their strongest sides.
Many people who want to become leaders go to college. College students obtain lots of knowledge and master many skills necessary for leadership. Besides, the very process of collecting knowledge by conducting independent research can help students develop their leadership skills.
However, college can help you learn leadership in many ways. The main thing is to believe in yourself and make simple, everyday steps towards becoming a leader. We’ve collected some useful tips that will help you make the best out of your college years so you can use this experience in the future.
1. Prepare Speeches and Presentations
Many students don’t like to deliver speeches or make presentations. Public speaking can be a very challenging task that makes you feel anxious. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable when everyone is staring at you.
If you’re afraid of public speaking, you’re not alone. As much as 64% of students note that speeches and presentations make them feel anxious. Even though public speaking is challenging, you need to develop this skill to become a leader. The only way to overcome your fear is to practice. The more often you deliver speeches and interact with a big audience, the less stressful it will be for you. If you don’t know where to start, you can join a public speaking course.
2. Volunteer in the Community
College offers countless opportunities for students who want to participate in community service projects. You can find many clubs that work for various charities and focus on fundraising.
Some classes require community service or allow students to volunteer and get extra credit in return. You can raise money for disaster victims, host fundraising events, volunteer in high needs schools, help to build houses in the community, and so on.
When volunteering in the community, students can interact with many different people, which is a valuable experience.
3. Join the Student Government
This is one of the most obvious options for college students who want to become leaders. But many students don’t consider this option because they are used to thinking of the student government as something created for ‘natural-born’ leaders only.
This is a common misconception. Although some students may be born with certain qualities, they have a lot to learn to actually become leaders. Everyone needs to work hard to become a person who can inspire and motivate others. So no matter what you think of your leadership skills, nothing should stop you from trying to join the student government.
All you have to do is train your communicative skills and try to get elected by other students. You should also come up with the right platform. Keep in mind that the student government isn’t limited to the main positions. There are also roles such as public relations rep, treasurer, or secretary of residence rep. Make sure to understand these positions before applying.
We also recommend that you don’t join the student government if you’re not sure that you’ll be able to devote enough time to it. If you want to participate in the student government, you should be ready for commitment.
4. Pursue a Degree in Management or Leadership
This sounds like a no-brainer. Colleges give students an opportunity to study leadership as a discipline. Many colleges offer various management and leadership programs and courses.
Usually, such programs focus on communication and collaboration. Having a collaborative mindset is necessary for a leader. Leaders should be able to deliver the right message to their teams, making them focus on the right tasks, and monitoring their progress. Leaders should understand the psychological aspects of leadership.
When it comes to courses and leadership programs, there are many options to choose from. For instance, Maryville University offers a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. MIT Management offers certificates in Value Chain Management, Management and Leadership, Operations, and Technology. These courses allow students to learn both the theory of leadership and the key practical aspects.
5. Come Up With Fresh Ideas
Every university or college has its own traditions that were created by students. The most important thing about leadership is that you shouldn’t be afraid to share your ideas and work to make them real. A great way to express yourself as a leader is to take the initiative to improve life on campus.
For example, you can organize events or create new media or clubs. You will likely need support. It’s important to delegate tasks and be personally involved in the process. You will motivate others, while also being more satisfied with a positive outcome.
If you’re not sure if your idea is good, talk to your academic advisor. Describe your idea as thoroughly as you can so your advisor can understand. The more approachable the idea, the easier it will be to gain support.
College gives students countless opportunities to sharpen their leadership skills and to gain leadership experience. Even if you decide not to apply for leadership positions in the future, you can develop many important qualities that will make you a more attractive candidate for employers.
Organize events, volunteer, or join the student government. There are plenty of options available. College can help you learn much more than your specific discipline. It can also teach you teamwork and communication, which is vital to leadership.
How Can You Boost Leadership Skills in College?
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