But what we see is that many student leaders around the world are choosing to make a positive difference. How can you make sure that you are having the impact you want as a student leader at your school? Check out some characteristics of student leaders who we have found that are making a difference.
1. Realize the power of your influence: There is no denying it; people are going to watch and follow you. When you realize you are in a position of influence, it should cause you to think twice about your actions. Consistently model the behavior you wish to see from those around you. You cannot expect others to do what you are not willing to do yourself. What are you willing to do each day to make things better?
It is said that Yankee’s captain Derek Jeter is the first to enter the field before practice and the last to leave. Can you see how this simple example would naturally influence his teammates to work harder and longer which will inevitably increase the success of the team? As a student leader you have the opportunity to do unprecedented things and to change lives with your influence. That might seem a little far-fetched and cliche, but it's the reality of your situation.
2. Focus on Individuals: Too often leaders focus on the masses and fail to recognize the power of each individual within their organization. Don’t let this be you. Help your team or group realize its potential by first helping each individual to see their full potential and the unique contributions their talents make to the group. If they do not see these talents in themselves, help them to. Encourage them and give them assignments that will cause them to see those talents they have.
Napoleon Hill(author of "Think and Grow Rich") once said, “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” Student leaders will always find greater success by building their team up one by one.
3. Set the vision: Author Joel Barker wisely remarked, “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” Help your team to see beyond their day to day activities to the ultimate goal and destination. Don’t just simply go through the motions. Rather, help your team see that what they do everyday contributes to that ultimate vision of what your organization can be and where it can go. The day to day things make much more sense when seen in the light of the organization’s vision. The difference a clear vision makes will last much longer than your time at your school. Help your team to buy into that vision and amazing things can happen in your school.
We have seen that the capacity to make a difference lies within every student leader. As you focus every day on doing the little things (setting the example, building up your team, focusing on the vision) the big things will fall smoothly into place. As a student leader, you have the power to make a lasting difference in your school and community. It is up to you! No, really, it is.