This weekend, I was invited to present for the Rising Leader Program. The program, offered by the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, takes in aspiring leaders in their first year and engages them in reflective, theoretical, and practical experiences. Through this curriculum, students gain practical skills that can be utilized as student leaders and beyond.
I presented on my experience as president of my fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, and how to lead a group of officers and inspire them to achieve. I was happy to share my experience as it was through talks like this that I helped shape my ideals as a leader during my freshman and sophomore years. Both years, there were a few juniors and seniors whom I admired and often reached out to for advice. Each of them had such an amazing experience that learning from them was one of the best opportunities I’ve had. In presenting, I identified many central issues which I learned to address through them and put my own spin on them. Some of these are:
Communication: It sounds simple; you need to have strong communication skills to effectively lead an organization, but it is surprising how many times communication falls by the wayside. A leader needs to ensure they are accurately communicating what needs to be done and why, while listening to others.
“Why”: Everything comes down to why. What motives you? Why are you compelled to act (or not)? I’ve found that the strongest leaders have conversations with individuals about their ideals, their motivation, and their goals—essentially what drive them to excel—then puts those goals in an organizational perspective. How can I work with you and your goals to help you achieve for the betterment of the organization?
Work with people, not positions: One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen leaders make is trying to deal with everyone as if they were their position. Not only does this limit the potential of the person, it ignores all of the qualities which a leader can help bring out for great results.
Opportunities for mentorship: Mentorship, which I was fortunate to have and hope to provide to others, is often underutilized. It is great that programs such as the Rising Leader Program can provide the opportunity for these mentorships to exist.