Students Who Lead with Positive Attitudes Get Results

Focus on the Positive and Remember That Attitude is Important, Especially for the New Students on Campus

having a positive attitude helps your resultsJennifer, a junior who will next year be the student in charge of Welcome Week for her college’s incoming freshmen, said that the “positive factor” is the most important element that makes new students feel comfortable and happy they chose their school. “Every student on the Welcome Week committee was first chosen for their positive attitude. It makes a huge difference in giving the new students a positive first impression of the school.”

As you lead your team, keep that positive attitude whether it only meets for a few months a year, or for the better part of the entire year.  Remember, most of the time, these students are volunteers, and they have tons of responsibilities outside of this group, you must lead in order to keep their attitude positive as well!

Catch people in the act of being good, smart, funny, helpful, selfless, any value you’d like to reinforce.  Praise them openly and be specific about what they did and how that helps to further the mission of the group.

When you are praising people, especially the new students, use their names, look them in the eye, and be sincere.  It’s amazing how you will find students going out of their way to do well when they know they are appreciated.

School can be tough and many people put in a lot of effort with very little reward or recognition. Frequent, prompt, and honest praise will go a long way in helping students stay on track when it seems that no one is noticing their contributions.

Stay focused on the all the great unique talents your people bring to the group and they will continue to live up to your high expectations.

Thinking Outside the Box – Brainstorming for Student Leadership

Be Open to Off-the-Wall, Outside-the-Box Thinking and Ideas

Student Leadership Thinking outside the boxMatthew, a student at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest wrote me that whenever his Resident Life group gets together to solve problems, they start by playing creative games, like charades or categories to get them started in thinking outside the box.

“It limbers up our brains,” he wrote. “Then, we have a fun brainstorming session. We write out the question, like ‘What’s the best way to get more students involved in dorm activities?’ and then we all toss out ideas. We get going really fast with all these off-the-wall answers. It’s funny and fun. When we’re done, we come back to all those ideas and start putting the best answers to work for us.”

Who are we to squash brilliance that comes in unexpected forms?

When you’re brainstorming the best way to accomplish a goal or to solve a problem, keep it in the true spirit of a brainstorming session.

Ideally, you’ll have five to seven people, more is okay, if you must, but consider breaking students into more than one group.

Put the question on the table. For example, you may want to ask, “What’s the best way to raise money to hire a speaker for our group’s next national conference?”

Start the tape or digital recorder and let the ideas fly. No second-guessing, judging, or discussing the ideas as they flow. Consider having everyone stand up and toss a ball around randomly. If you catch the ball, you throw out an idea as you toss the ball.

Students, remember that when you think outside the box, You’ll come up with fun, crazy, brilliant ideas, and lots of them every time.

Leaders have Direction and Share it with their Teammates

 Great leaders are always clear about the direction they have for their team and will always keep them informed. 

Leaders have Direction and Tell their Teammates about it.As the leader, you’re responsible for letting your team know what the goals are. 

One of the biggest frustrations people have when they work in groups is that the leaders don’t give clear guidance on what the target is.

Your team can’t hit a bull’s eye when they don’t even know where the dartboard is.

State your goals clearly, and even consider posting them for all to see.  People are very visual, and you can help them stay focused and motivated by having a clear picture of where they are now in reaching their goals, and how much further they have to go.

Leaders Lead by Example

Lisa, new to the Student Government Association at a Big Ten university wrote to me to say that from her first SGA meeting, she knew she was in a great organization.

“The president is always on time, on the point of the agenda, and respectful of every member of the SGA, even us freshmen!”

More than anything, how you act consistently will tell people the kind of person you are.

It so easy to talk about what should be done; it’s quite another thing to actually do what should be done. People are noticing not what your words say, but what your actions say.

Lead by example and lead from the front.

What this means to you is consistently being on time to meetings (and by the way, end them on time, too), finish projects by the deadline, or before, and show respect to others.


Leadership Matters Most During Difficult Times

When your’e in charge, the whole group is noticing how you respond to situations, both good and bad.

Follow Me - Leadership in Difficult TimesKeep in mind that they are especially paying attention when the going gets tough. Leslie from the University of Florida had to remind herself of this when there was a project her group was working on and half the people weren’t doing their share of the work. Nick from a university in Louisiana recalled this when his group thought they were going to get money to put on an event and it fell through at the last minute.

Look, all people can be at their best in good times. The test is how do you behave when the going gets tough? Continue reading “Leadership Matters Most During Difficult Times”