One of the questions I get asked is: What do student leaders have to do to be considered a “student leader?”
Great question. I actually wrote a short ebook (pdf) on the subject: STUDENT LEADER – 35 Ways To Put The Leader In Student Leader.
Here are three of the ideas in the ebook.
#3 DO FEW THINGS REALLY WELL.
Which is better: to accomplish eight things that people would consider a “3” on a scale of 1-10; or accomplish three things that people would consider an “8”? People are impressed by excellence. Mediocrity is so average that others don’t even recognize it. A great illustration of this is juggling. I can juggle three balls pretty well. People watch me juggle three balls and they think, “Wow, he’s a good juggler.” But the moment you throw that fourth ball into the mix, there are balls all over the floor. Over and over, I drop the balls. When people see this they think, “Man…we need to find ourselves a new juggler.” It’s your call. You can say “yes” to a lot of things or just a few things. But the more you carry, the more you dilute your chances of being excellent.
#4 YOU’RE DEAD IF YOU MISS DEADLINES.
When you, as a student leader, agree to a deadline, you are making a promise. When you miss your deadline, you aren’t keeping your promise. Deadlines are typically necessary because other people are relying on the work you are doing. Deadlines are expectations that work will be done. If you want to impress people, get your work done before a stated deadline. The time to negotiate a deadline is when you’re creating or accepting it. Try this: Push a deadline out a bit further and then turn your stuff in early. People will think you’re amazing, organized, disciplined, dependable, and a valued member of the team.
#5 MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE “IN THE KNOW.”
For most people, the ability to predict the future with 100% accuracy is only a wish that will never come true. Life has a way of happening. Circumstances mess up the best strategies and plans. When you find yourself with an unforeseen obstacle, let somebody know. If you’re going to be a little late – tell someone. If you’ve got a problem, be honest about it. When your list of “If’s” starts growing…make sure you’re communicating. The worst thing that a student leader can do is to withdraw, thinking that she can handle everything on her own. When people are kept in the loop, then they’re not surprised. People like surprises for birthdays and holidays. But they don’t like surprises when all of a sudden you’ve blindsided them with your inability to meet expectations or commitments. The rule of thumb is: as soon as you know let someone else know.
Want to read the other 32 ideas? Download the ebook with my compliments.