Friday, January 25, 2013

Ways to Be a Leader Throughout Your College Experience

11th Annual Chicagoland Learning Leaders Conference
Professionals are returning to college on a regular basis in the last few years. Even if you're a non-traditional student attending college part-time on your days off or enrolled in an online program, leadership can be a rich part of your second round of college. After all, you're more experienced than those students going for the first time. Here are some ways to take on leadership roles in college even if you're not full time or attending a brick and mortar college:

Be Visible

In many leadership roles, you'll have to be elected to serve in the position. With that in mind, now is not the time to be shy. When you’re in any social setting, don’t wait for others to come up and introduce themselves to you. Take the initiative and boldly expand your circle of friends by maintaining a presence.
In any leadership role, networking with others is a key point. In fact, if you're still struggling to find ways to fit in as a leader and begin to prove yourself, there's no better way to find your place than to talk with others and discuss what you can bring to the table.

Do What You Know

As you search for leadership roles during your college years and beyond, ask yourself whether a particular opportunity matches up with your personal goals.
However, keep in mind that you don't always have to only choose leadership roles that align with your future aspirations. Simply having a passion for something is okay, too. When you're involved with an organization that’s familiar and interesting, you'll be better able to excel.

Dig Deeper

Leadership opportunities don't only exist through extracurricular activities. You can be a leader during class, as well. If your coursework often includes a discussion period, don't be one of the people who is content to wait for others to reveal ideas.

Often, classes that occur online are especially heavily based in discussions via chat rooms or on message boards. No matter which format you use to speak your mind, be sure to join in.
After all, a leader is often someone who is not afraid to express their own ideas, even if they're not always popular. If you have something to say that relates to the topic at hand, don’t stay silent.

You can also find similar chances to lead when you do group projects with classmates. In these scenarios, uncertainty almost invariably begins as soon as people try to assign roles to themselves and others. However, technology now makes it easier to plan and execute a project even if you’re not in the same physical location as your classmates.

When you work hard to take action instead of waiting for others to do so, that attitude gets noticed, and will simultaneously help you assert yourself as a true leader.

Pay Attention to Presentation

Also, keep in mind that you can showcase leadership skills even when you're not formally learning. No matter what field of study you're pursuing, you'll constantly have opportunities to inspire others. Lead by example. The way that you present yourself is perpetually important, because you never know when you might have the opportunity to meet someone who could be an instrumental force in your career.

Being a leader isn't always easy, but with the suggestions above, you'll be well on your way to using personal actions to make a difference in the world around you.

About the Author:

Kelly Smith is an avid education blogger. If you enjoy being in a leadership role and think you may want to pursue strategic leadership as a career, you may be interested in a agree in strategic management. Several schools offer degrees in strategic management, including New England College and University of Connecticut.


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