As the semester comes to an end, potential new future leaders may have been identified as well as some new challenges. Mike Fritz and Dave Kelly are engagement and SGA specialists that work with colleges across the country training current and future leaders. Their programs like SGAU and the DNA of Leadership are perfect additions to your next student leader training.
1) Delegation is the Key to Your Organization’s Success
“I find it just easier and faster to do it myself”, said just about every student leader at one point or another.
It might be faster and easier, but will it be better? Will it be the best? My experience shows me the answers are no and no. Here is the truth: You can’t do everything yourself as a student leader, nor should you. You have other officers, an exec board, and members, for a reason. If you are going to just be a one-person show, then start the “_____________________ (insert your name here) Club”, Membership: Just YOU!
Ask others to help with the work of your SGA, programming board, club, organization, fraternity or sorority. They have abilities and talents just like you and they may be able to do a better job than you. They deserve the chance to contribute to and improve organization as much as you do. They also have time that you might not have. Lastly, they also can help you from burning out by carrying some of the workload that you have heaped on yourself.
The most important part of delegation is to empower the people you have given a task or job to. Don’t micromanage them or try to take back parts of the project. Let them flourish and put their own personality into it. You can provide them support and ask for updates, but don’t pull it back unless absolutely necessary. If you are unsure, talk it through with someone you trust such as your advisor, exec board member, or some other individual who understands the group.
Strong leaders ask for help. Stronger leaders know that delegation makes life better for everyone!
2) Motivating People is More than Jumping Up and Down and Shouting
Do you find most attempts by student leaders to be the classic movie cliche of someone yelling and screaming to getting people fired up? OK, sometime that works, but not always – here’s an example:
“Alright everyone, follow me as we run across campus to do something great!” says the chief firer-upper-in-charge.
“What are we going to do and how will it be great?” asks the inquisitive member, trying to keep up.
“I don’t know, but we’ll figure it out when we get there!” admits the clueless firer-upper.
Ever see that scene in a movie or TV show? How about in real life? True motivation takes initiative and intentionality. Here are four keys to help you motivate others no matter what organization you are involved with:
a) Determine what your goal is before attempting to motivate people to join. Leaders try to get everyone excited and inspired to do something awesome, but they have no idea of what to do. You can’t stir up emotions, then have a brainstorming session about what you are going to do and hope for success. All right, I know that sometimes you can catch lighting in a bottle and this works, but I feel it is better to have an idea of what you want to do first, then…
b) Determine who you need to motivate. You might not need all 20 members of your group. Maybe just 5 or 6 people will do and you can get them started on this project while giving out responsibilities to others. “How do I know who to motivate?” you ask. Simple, you need to know who is in your club or organization, what they like, and what gets them excited. These are called…
c) Hot buttons! What are your members passionate about? What gets their internal energy stirring and moving? Some of my hot buttons are community service, my family, student leadership, writing, speaking, acting, the Green Bay Packers, pizza, chocolate, and more. You can use hot buttons to get people to agree to join a club or organization, take on a project or responsibility, or run for office. When you know something about your members, you can get them to agree to take on activities and responsibilities.
Here is an example: “Dave, we are planning to have a fundraising auction for the children’s hospital, and we were wondering if you would be the emcee? You get to talk about the prizes, entertain the crowd, and encourage people to bid on items. We are going to have a pizza bar and chocolate fountain and we have gotten former Packers quarterback Brett Favre to make a guest appearance.” I’m all in! Of course, none of this works unless you…
d) Ask for what you want. Too many times we fail to do the one thing that many people need to get involved: ask them! Some people are a little shy and may think they are not good enough. Others may be willing but are waiting for the invitation. And for others, it never occurs to them that they should volunteer to be a part of what is going on. What keeps us from asking? The fear that they might say NO. Well, you are already at no – they are not doing what you want – and if you ask, you might get a YES.
Be focused and intentional in your efforts to motivate your members and watch your SGA, programming board, club, organization, fraternity or sorority grow and flourish.
3) Deal with Conflict in the Most Direct Way
I have had a philosophy and approach to dealing with conflict that I learned when I was a 19-year-old state-wide student leader in Wisconsin. I was at a training conference with 10 other students and the facilitator shared the following with us about conflict resolution:
“If you have a problem with someone and don’t take it to them, then it can’t be very significant.”
That has resonated with me ever since. What is says to me is that if you have a problem, or conflict, with another person, then take it to that person in order to work through it and, hopefully, resolve it. The only other person who can help solve this problem is the person with whom you have it.
And the unspoken part of that is that if you are not willing to do that, then let it go and move on. Sometimes the other person is not even aware that the conflict exists until you talk to them about it. So, if it is really bothering you and affecting your ability to be a part of the group, then talk it out with that person. This has been my philosophy as a student leader, advisor, and business owner.
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