Leadership is not something limited to a corporate suite, and neither requiresthousands of followers. In fact, every person is a leader because the essence of leadership begins from leading oneself in the right direction. Similarly, containing the properinsight of leadership is needed in almost every domain of life. It is a personality trait that has functionality in every stream of human involvement.
One of such highly interactive yet competitive areas is education. The entire education system is a long staircase. Each step presents various obstacles, resulting in developing innumerable stressors like anxiety, depression, and mental exhaustion. As a student, you have to prepare yourself for future challengesrelated to your personal and professional life.In the present time, leadership in education is most important than it was in the past. The escalating needs of individual accountability, social, emotional, and civic competency have made it essential todevelop these traits as a part of one’spersonality.
However, the very first step of developing strong emotional and cognitive intelligence is self-awareness. Scholars suggest that this initial level is challenging and requires significant efforts, mainly because it acts as the breeding ground for other higher emotional and intellectual aptitude levels. Likewise, students are also enhancing their self-awareness with every successive step in their career. However, complementing their efforts with proper leadership skills can significantly alleviate their personal development. This article discusses some of these effective leadership skills that every student needs to develop for a more fulfilling learning and career.
1. Active Listening
Whenever it comes to effective communication, we tend to believe it’s all about speaking fluently—someone using fancy words with an impressive accent. It might be partly true, but the real key to effective communication is all about active listening. However, to be an effective leader, you need to both an effective communicator and an active listener.
According to experts, effective leadership is all about active listening. Leaders can never gain a thorough insight into the situation at hand unless they develop the sense to listen actively. Similarly, it is of utmost importance for students to develop active listening to understand and respond to thingscomprehensively. Harvey Mackay, a leading writer on communication skills, suggests thatour ability to listen actively contributes to 85% of our learning. Following its significance, one may see an increasing focus on listening skills in online leadership degree programs, personal development training, and other educational domains.
2. Target Orientation
Our surroundings today are replete with distractions, and students can easily lose focus. According to Deloitte, organizations spend around $100 billion on training and approximately $1 billion only on employee engagement. Still, just over 13% of employees have the actual attributes required to work with passion. It might be due to the fact that young individuals fail to identify their passion, leading to inconsistent goal setting. Consequently, most of them face innumerable challenges like low motivation and self-esteem and ineffective performance during their professional careers.
Be it a leader, a student, or simply a human being, life without a goal is meaningless. Influential leaders break the entire journey into small achievable goals. They set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) and then track their progress. Being a student, you might need target orientation to streamline your efforts and move in the right direction. Notably, influential leaders are consistent with their goals and ensure on-hand planning regarding steps and ways to pursue their dreams. Hence, target orientation is one of the essential skills that every student needs to develop.
3. Conflict Resolution
Conflict is typical of human nature, and no one can avoid it. You can only manage and resolve it through critical thinking. Influential leaders are not hesitant to deal with conflicting situations and are more focused on fixing them. It brings more options and opinions to the table.
The clash within project team members, issues with the instructor’s teaching style, disagreement with the entire teaching pedagogy,etc., are some issues that might come in your way. The key is to resolve these conflicts in a manner that ends at a win-win orientation. Students who avoid these conflicts during their academic careers face several challenges in their personal and professional lives. Hence, it is pertinent for students to develop conflict resolution skills to deal with emerging challenges effectively.
4. Team Work
Can you name a single leader who was all alone on his or her journey of success? Certainly, you cannot. Leadership is all about teamwork. Efficient communication and delegation of tasks among team membersare representative of effective leadership. Students should develop this leadership quality tocreate meaningfulinteraction with their classmates and work more efficiently in teams. They can also enhance their social sensitivity. Since working in teams augments empathy. Hence, if you’re a student, it would be best to learn collaborative skills and master the art of people management while studying.
There are about 200 million students in higher education worldwide that are preparing to be the next leaders. Students need to carve their personalities to remain effective in their personal and professional lives. They should start developing a leader’s persona before stepping out on practical grounds. Setting the right leadership skills would enhance their learning and equip them with better cognitive and emotional abilities. The skills discussed above are indeed just a handful of some from a plethora of tons. It depends from context to context, where students might need to evaluate their surroundings and adapt accordingly.