No one is born with all the essential leadership qualities. Becoming a good leader requires important leadership skills. Learning and developing good leadership skills as a student leader will serve the student well when they leave a learning environment and step into the business world. Whether you’re new to the role of leader or you’ve been a student leader for some time, challenge yourself to learn important skills that will make you a better leader. From discovering how to set SMART goals to learning how to use process facilitation, we recommend these five most essential skills a student leader should possess.
Skill #1 – Working hard on Yourself
One of the hardest skills to learn as a student leader is to work hard on yourself. it’s impossible to lead someone else if you don’t lead yourself in the right direction. You need to work on yourself by becoming a good example to others. Working hard on yourself involves building self-discipline and character. It involves learning to build your own organization skills so you become an effective leader. While it is difficult to work on improving yourself, learning to be hard on yourself and to work on yourself is an essential skill that any student leader must have.
Skill #2 – Effective Speaker and Communicator
An effective leader also needs to have effective speaking and communication skills. Student leaders need to take time to develop and polish speaking skills. Good speaking skills allow leaders to communicate their vision with others, which is an essential part of being a leader. if you are unable to get your ideas across to those you lead, it is difficult to be a successful leader.
Building effective speaking and communication skills involves practicing how to get your message across to others in a persuasive and interesting way. Student leaders need to work on using contact when communicating with others, whether they are giving a speech or talking with another individual one-on-one. Good eye contact during communication helps establish a relationship with those you’re speaking to, it shows confidence and it makes you more personable. Learning to use your vocal effectively is also important, allowing you to express emotions, affecting your message’s tone to grab the attention of your listeners.
Do not underestimate the power of listening. Listening is an essential part of communication and a good leader knows how to listen well when communicating with others. When you listen to those you lead, you learn more and you increase rapport with the individuals you are leading.
Skill #3 – Using SMART Goal Planning
Another important skill for student leaders is learning how to use SMART goals in planning. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound goals. Remembering this acronym will help student leaders set goals, with results in mind. Using SMART goal in planning involves setting specific and measurable goals that are both realistic and attainable. Setting time-bound goals is also important, since it gives you a timeline to follow and a deadline to meet so you will work harder to achieve those goals.
Skill #4 – Overcoming Mistakes and Failures
Mistakes and failures are bound to happen, even to the best leaders. However, student leaders must learn how to overcome mistakes and failures if they are going to be effective. A good leader learns how to admit and recognize mistakes, learning from mistakes and moving on. Leaders cannot afford to sulk or engage in self-doubt whenever things do not go as planned. Learning to overcome adversity, including your own failures, allows you to focus on the task at hand, moving forward instead of keeping your focus on the problems and mistakes of the past.
Skill #5 – Process Facilitation
Lastly, process facilitation is another essential skills a student leader must possess. What is process facilitation? It involves focusing on finding the root cause of a problem efficiently and quickly to ensure the issue is resolved effectively. Leaders who are unskilled in using a structured troubleshooting process end up dealing with problems that stay open for a longer time. Learning to be a process facilitator allows leaders to use analytical processes to find the facts, deal with opinions and assumptions, and find the underlying causes of a problem so it can be resolved smoothly, quickly and effectively.