To develop practical leadership skills in school and university gives students the ability to lead or guide other individuals, teams or entire organisations. All students can be encouraged to develop the characteristics of a leader from a very young age with the help of teachers, advisers and peers. This will help them with life at home, in their community, at school and will help them find work.
Helping raise awareness with students of what it takes to be a leader, can begin building habits that lead to increased effectiveness. Students will then have the confidence to become involved in school life and in all the extracurricular activities, giving them a head-start in the workplace.
To develop leadership skills, here are ten characteristics students can develop to become a good leader. These are:
- Self-confidence: A successful leader is self-assured without being arrogant or overbearing. Their calm manner and self-assurance help others to feel more certain they can achieve their goal.
- Flexibility: develop the ability to adapt to different settings and situations to have a positive effect on outcomes and conditions.
- Humility: Develop the ability to share credit with others and be willing to admit when you don’t know.
- Self evaluation: Develop emotional stability, self-confidence, self-esteem and the ability to take responsibility for what happens in your own life.
- Trustworthiness: When your motives, words and actions match, people trust you. This includes being honest about mistakes, refusing to gossip and shift blame, and doing things in an ethical way, even if being unethical would get the job done faster, cheaper etc. Don’t pretend to be an expert, know when to step aside and let others take the spotlight.
- Authenticity: Be yourself, don’t change your core values and personality to fit in. People will notice if you’re trying to be someone other than who you really are.
- Extraversion: The majority of leaders have an outgoing personality, show an interest in people and are happy to participate in group or team activities. Students who do not feel naturally extroverted, can develop a conscious effort to demonstrate genuine curiosity about and friendliness toward others.
- Assertiveness: Ask for your needs, concerns and opinions be be considered, but in a tactful way. Recognize their own mood can have an effect on the entire group’s results.
- Enthusiasm, optimism, and warmth: Maintaining positivity, being approachable and expressing positive thoughts and feelings both verbally and in with non-verbal communication helps develop rapport with those around you.
- Courage: Willingness to take risks on new ideas may mean taking a risk that you will be criticised or blamed if not successful.
Students of all ages can be encouraged to take on leadership roles in groups they are genuinely committed to and passionate about. This may be president of a sports team, the debate team, the student council or other group run by the school. Moving onto university with these skills, makes the transfer less stressful.
Allowing students to take turns in leading a class project in which they will shine, allows everyone the opportunity to develop skills in taking charge and when to delegate.
Encourage students to get a job. Try and link studies with the work they want to do after graduation, for example a student in teacher training can offer tutoring services or for those who want a career in child-care assist them to start a child-minding business. Taking the initiative is a great way to show leadership abilities to future employers.