Are you a High School or University Administrator struggling to inspire your students to become effective leaders? Do you oversee student leaders who want to enhance their leadership skills and take the student section to new heights?
If so, you've come to the right place. In this post, we will explore the tools and techniques that student leaders can utilize to improve their communication skills, foster collaboration among team members, and enhance overall leadership effectiveness.
Be Bought In
When selecting student leaders, look for those who embrace their individuality and aren't afraid to be a little weird. An essential aspect of student section success is having leaders who wholeheartedly believe in the cause. Our model builds student-run student sections, and the leaders who achieve the most success are the ones willing to step out of their comfort zones. Don't be afraid to be bold and push your limits. The greater the goal, the greater the reward.
During the interview process, pay close attention to each student's unique strengths and weaknesses. Each individual possesses distinctive skills, interests, and inclinations. It's important to acknowledge these qualities and assemble a team where skill sets complement one another in a meaningful way. Some leaders excel at engaging the student section and making people feel welcome, while others possess exceptional organizational skills to ensure smooth back-end operations. All skills are equally valuable, so it's best to build a team with diverse talents and personalities. Exceptional leaders recognize this and place themselves in roles where they can best contribute to achieving the student section's goals. It all comes down to self-awareness on the part of the student leader and understanding how each individual can collaborate effectively to help the team succeed.
Lead by Example
The best leaders are the ones who are easy to follow. In game, are your leaders positioned to be seen easily? Do they clearly demonstrate cheers and project their voices? Students cannot be expected to follow someone who is not positioned as a leader. Your student leaders should be front and center at sporting events, ensuring that students know to follow their lead.
Although it may sound straightforward, it's crucial to emphasize the importance of taking ownership. Effective leaders don't make excuses; they take responsibility. They think big, engage their followers, and respect and empower others. Strong leaders are unafraid to challenge the status quo and disagree, but they always keep the best interest of the student section in mind. Taking ownership means being accountable for actions and admitting mistakes when they occur.
Communication is Key
Train your student leaders to communicate early and often. This applies to all aspects of their responsibilities, whether it's planning theme nights in advance or notifying others of their absence from a game. The best leaders understand that communicating in a timely manner saves them from stress and complications down the line. Additionally, it is essential to provide positive reinforcement to leaders. If a leader recommends a theme night that ends up being the highest attended and most loved theme of the year, make sure to recognize them for their efforts and foster a culture of building each other up. Encourage leaders to check in with each other and provide honest feedback on areas of success as well as areas that may need improvement. Communicating and acknowledging these things will make leaders feel valued and appreciated while fostering a positive team dynamic.
Ultimately, being a student section leader is a fun and exciting role that enables students to be creative and make a difference in their school's culture. To ensure your student section operates at its highest level, empower and train student leaders in these effective leadership practices. These practices will have a lasting impact, benefiting them not only as student leaders but also as individuals.
Seek out leaders who are fully invested, possess self-awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, are easy to follow, take ownership, and communicate effectively. With this foundation, your student section will thrive.