Leadership positions in campus organizations are great on resumes and can offer students the possibility to gain a lot of experience while new skills are developed. Unfortunately, this does not mean there won’t be many problems that the student will have to deal with. Kevin Rolle Alabama A&M University Executive Vice President mentions the main problems student leaders have to be ready for.
Clearly Communicating With Fellow Members
Communication is paramount for those that want to be leaders. Unfortunately, this is a two-way street. Problems can come from both fellow members and from the leader. The best thing that can be done is to clearly highlight desired outcomes and what needs to be done to reach them. Student leaders need to be engaged with the fellow members and energetic at all times. Also, they need to show care and empathy, all while communicating while a caring attitude is shown.
Students are hesitant to share ideas. This is why student leaders need to encourage them and actually initiate responses.
In every single student group there will be conflicts that appear. Addressing conflict is always tough but issues have to be solved. In many situations conflicts appear because of personality differences, generational differences, work-style differences, gender differences and value differences.
The student leader will often find himself having to deal with a number of members that disagree about some things. Refusal to make a compromise is also common. Student leaders need to learn how to mediate and facilitate solutions. Situations have to be analyzed from both expressed points of view. At the same time, objectivity and a clear focus on solutions are vital.
Trouble Maintaining Positivity
If the organization is filled with negative energy, members will not even want to show up. Unfortunately, negativity and whining do spread really fast. Leaders need to manage people and try to bring out what is best in them. Preventing negative behavior will not be easy because people are naturally negative.
The good news is that student leaders can influence the entire group through positivity. Basically, the student leader has to be a model of positive behavior. He/she needs to focus on solutions and trust team members. Meetings help a lot and those members that actively add positive energy to a group should be verbally recognized.
Balancing Other Obligations With The Organization
Every single student leader will have some other responsibilities to deal with, besides those of the organization. Devoting oneself to the group without neglecting other obligations is a necessity. What should be remembered is that the well-being of the group should always be placed first, before personal group position.
There are moments when stress will be really high. If this happens, you want to put all into perspective. Then, the student leader has to decide if work can still be done. Sometimes it is a sign of great responsibility when the leader resigns as there is simply too much stress to deal with everything. Never neglect responsibilities that come with the acquired position power.