• Leadership is Not Just a Position: You Can Be a Leader, Too!

    by Gina Condit

    A computer generated graphic with 3 playing cards – an ace, queen, and king – and the words ‘You Can Be a Leader’. The word ‘leader’ is spelled out in Scrabble tiles.

    A question I was recently asked in my Leadership and Learning lecture was, “if you are potentially a role model for someone, wouldn’t you want to be the best role model you can be?” This got me asking myself, “am I a leader to someone? Am I being the best leader I can be? How can I become a better leader?” This class has encouraged me to be the leader I hope to be, and I hope this encourages you to be the leader you are meant to be.

    Leadership Is a Process

    Being a leader is not just about holding a position. You lead every day and you do not even realize it. I have learned that some people are born to be leaders, and some learn to be leaders. Either way, leadership is a process, an influence, a common goal, and most importantly a relationship; a relationship that is built on human connection and credibility. Being a leader means something different to everyone. It is a multi-dimensional concept but no matter who you are, with the right mindset, you can be a leader. Research has shown that people are drawn to those with these top characteristics:

    • Honesty
    • Forward-looking
    • Competent
    • Inspiring
    • Intelligent

    Who Do You Consider a Leader?

    Do you have these qualities? Leadership is an earned role by how you can consistently portray and behave yourself in a positive light. Think about who you consider a leader. This person probably has consistently shown you that you can rely on them, learn from them, and grow through them.

    Leaders Do Not Always Have Titles

    A leader creates a movement and an emotional impact. So, as you go on with your daily life, try to think about the influence you can have on your roommates, classmates, siblings, and the strangers you encounter. To be a leader you do not need a title.

    So, start taking baby steps. Engage in your roommates’ aspirations, be there for the classmate struggling to understand that week, and most importantly, focus on developing your capacity to mobilize others. There are all types of leaders and styles to become, so try out different techniques to influence others around you. There is someone out there waiting for you to take the lead.

    Recommended Read: Everyday People, Extraordinary Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • How New Leaders Can Help Their Teams Achieve Success

    by Zachary Suozzo

    Two male college students are standing in a hallway shaking hands. They are both dressed in business attire with suit jackets and ties.

    Being a good leader can be a major challenge. Successful teams are collaborative, communicative, and available. The pace of the pack is determined by the leader. New student leaders who have never had the opportunity to lead a team may wonder where to even begin. Focusing on three areas can help set new leaders up for success: identifying a leadership style, developing a community, and establishing good relationships with individual team members.

    Find your style

    Every leader, every team, and every individual on a team is different. There are 7 major styles of leadership: Autocratic, Authoritarian, Pacesetting, Democratic, Coaching, Laissez-Faire, and Affiliative. There is no cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all leadership style that works for every team, and that’s okay! Leaders have to figure out what leadership style their team responds best to. Leaders also must figure out which style best fits their own goals and ambitions. If one of those styles works with the leader’s goals and is responded to by the team, amazing things can happen, and serious productivity can begin.

    Build a community

    Individuals need to be comfortable with the leader and with their teammates for productivity to take place. Good leaders look for ways to foster a sense of community on the team. Many times, community building opportunities take place outside of working together on a project. Whether in-person or virtual, any environment where people are interacting with each other and not talking about work can bond a team together well. Common interests can improve team morale, leading to engagement that improves team productivity and allows for team members to be more approachable to each other.

    Cultivate relationships

    If the team trusts each other and communicates with each other well, their uniting force will be the leader. Having a solid individual relationship with each team member is extremely important for continuously elevating the team to the next level of performance and camaraderie. Taking the time to get to know each individual is time intensive, especially considering the potential size of a team, but is so important when it comes to morale, accountability, and communication. Individuals should feel as though they can come to their leader for anything and having a line of communication that’s always open is very important for that.

    Leading a team can be extremely time consuming and challenging, on top of all the work that comes with the task at hand. For a long-lasting relationship with success, teams need to be a cohesive unit. Effective team leaders carry out their work with a solid leadership style, help team members establish relationships with one another, and have an open line of communication at all times. Leaders can evolve; if one solution doesn’t work, keep trying to achieve that desired outcome!

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • Lesson Learned on Integrity and Staying True to Yourself

    by Jaylen Brown

    A female and male student are standing arm-in-arm on a football field during homecoming. The female is wearing a long gold gown. The male is wearing a dark suit with a black shirt. They each wear a sash that says, “Homecoming Court”.

    Maintaining integrity and staying true to yourself may seem like something our parents would tell us as children, however I learned that even at a college age, I am still being tested on that. No matter your age – doing the right thing can be difficult for anyone, especially if it means risking something desirable. I would like to share two similar yet different experiences that I’ve had, one from high school and one from college, and what I learned from them.

    The Time I Won “King”

    It was my senior year in high school when I decided to run for Homecoming King – just for the fun of it. Considering that I was homeschooled until the 11th grade, I felt that I had no chance of winning that title. Unlike the rest of the Homecoming Court, I was no football captain or class president. In fact, as someone who was relatively new to the school, it was hard for me to find friends in general (especially coming in as an upperclassman). Thus, I started by sitting with those who sat alone at lunch. I found that most of them did not want to be alone either, so I decided to sit with someone new every lunch period to keep them company. To my surprise, I won the title of “Homecoming King,” and realized it was because many saw me as an underdog for being different: the only minority, the first band member, a new student, etc. However, I did not allow this new title to change who I was as a person. So, I continued to find people who sat by themselves to sit with. Many were confused as to why I was sitting with them if I was given the title of “king,” but I reminded them that this title doesn’t make me any better than them. We are all royalty in our own way.

    The Time I Lost “King”

    It is now my senior year in college, and I recently decided to run for Homecoming King again – just for the fun of it. However, things were different this time. My university has 70,000 students and we were not allowed to do any in-person campaigning, only on social media. Unfortunately, we did not have a Homecoming Court director to enforce the rules. Most of the Court followed the rules, but some decided to do in-person campaigning and were even forcing students to vote. I had to make a decision. I knew that I would inevitably lose the running if I relied on my network alone, but if I broke the rules and started forcing people to vote, then I could stand a chance! It was a win or lose situation! If I won, I would be making history, right? I mean, how cool would it be to become my school’s 50th Homecoming King? Who cares if I break the rules if others are doing it too? But I thought to myself... “is this title really worth losing my integrity and not staying true to myself?” I then made my decision – I would much rather lose that title than to lose myself.

    We are ALL “Kings” and “Queens”

    These are two different, yet very similar stories. Looking back on them now, it’s crazy to see how easy it can be to lose sight of yourself for the sake of things like glory, validation, or recognition. But looking back even further to my high school experience, I’ve realized that those labels don’t even matter! Being given the title of “King” might seem grand, but the truth is that we are all Kings and Queens in our own way. I learned that no matter what or how big the title, it is never worth losing your integrity and not staying true to yourself. Let us all remember that no title will make you more valuable than you already are.

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us – click here to pitch your idea and get started! 

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  • The Importance of Humility

    by Mykel Broady

    The title of the blog “The Importance of Humility” in white letters against an orange background.

    “Alexa, define humility.”

    Google defines humility as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance, humbleness.” Now, when I first read that I was shocked. I thought, “why should I have a low view of my own importance? Shouldn’t I be ultra-confident and think highly of myself?” These questions tossed and turned in my head for days as I tried to grapple with the true meaning of the word. It wasn’t until I stopped thinking about the intricacies of the definition, and actually applied humility, that I started to see change — meaningful change. Humility has significantly changed my life for the better, and I can assure you, it has the potential to do the same for you.

    Creating an open and honest environment

    Humility yields open-mindedness. When applying humility to your own life, you’re more eager to hear outside perspectives. No longer is it a game of competition amongst others, but rather a modest game of learning from others. The good news to spread about this game is that you’re coachable! In my own life I found that in the times I lacked humility the most, I also lacked the ability to open up my mind to others. You see, humility has the unique ability to silence any selfish desires occupying your mind and bring you back to reality — a world that thrives on collaboration, not solo efforts. 

    More collaboration is always on the forecast in environments where individuals value humility. How many times have you stayed away from an arrogant person? Whether it be the kid in kindergarten who boasts on all his toys, or the coworker that never seems to accept any advice, I’m sure you’ve never been in a rush to collaborate with those solely, and blatantly, concerned about themselves over others. Naturally, individuals want to collaborate with others who will listen, respect, and value their input. Applying humility to your own life opens up the opportune door of collaboration!

    Help inspire others

    Humility simply inspires others. When an individual does something amazing, especially a stunt that naturally can’t be pulled off, it’s possible that you may assess your own shortcomings compared to their success. If we’re being honest, you may think you simply aren’t capable of doing certain things, because you don’t have their abilities. Now what if the individual who did the miraculous came out and said, “I’m thankful for the recognition, but I’m just doing the things anyone else could do.” You would be inspired, wouldn’t you? You’d realize that everyone is equal and that the impossible is possible. I don’t know about you, but I’m fired up just writing that. When you apply humility in your own life, you immediately set yourself up to inspire others — that’s a very special gift. So finally, it’s time to stop reading and start applying!

    Pearson Students: How do you apply humility in your life?

    Do you have a compelling story or student success tips you’d like to see published on the Pearson Students blog?  If you are a college student and interested in writing for us -  click here  to pitch your idea and get started! 

     

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  • Lessons from a Student Leader during a Global Pandemic and Beyond

    by Margaret Poltorak

    blog image alt text

    Being the president of my sorority has taught me about ways to thrive as a leader. I’ve learned a lot about myself in regard to my leadership strengths and weaknesses. Being a student leader on campus is not easy, especially when faced with unexpected events such as COVID-19. But here are the lessons I have learned since gaining my position. 

    Expect the unexpected

    This has been especially relevant for all student leaders during COVID-19. No matter how much planning and thought goes into every decision, there are still going to be events you cannot control. Whether it’s something as large as a global pandemic or as small as a member asking a question you weren’t expecting, know the only thing you can do is your very best. With every decision I make, I say “I’m making the best decision with the information I was given.” Especially in times of uncertainty, knowing your limits is extremely important as a student leader.

    Have people you can confide in

    Having people in your corner to seek advice from is key to being a successful student leader. My own support network includes: my executive board to support me with confidential information; my mother to vent to when being a leader takes its toll; and a friend not in the sorority that I can gain an outside perspective from. These people became the foundation that supports me and my greatest cheerleaders. When I first got this position, I tried to do a lot of the work on my own. Once I accepted that it’s okay to ask for help, I became a better leader.  

    It’s just a position

    Remember you are a student and a human being before you are a leader in your organization. Your mental health and academics should still take priority, even when that seems difficult. This is something I reminded myself often. No act, task, event, speech, or any other responsibility is more important than your own well-being. Remember to take a step back every once in a while and keep your position and your experience in perspective. Remember that it’s okay to say “no” and turn something down. You’re still a student and a human.

    Remember why you took the position

    In every student leadership position, there are the great moments – the times when you begin to think you are leaving a legacy. However, there are also tough times. I have had several moments in which I question why I accepted this position. Whenever I feel that way, I remember why I ran for presidency in the first place. During elections, I wrote a letter to myself about what this position means, and I continue to look back upon it during tough times. Doing this has allowed me to approach almost every week with the passion I had in the beginning of my term. When faced with challenges, remind yourself of why you took the position. 

    Being a leader can push you to grow as a student and a person. Many students can learn a lot through their experiences of being a leader, but it is important to remember the things above in order to have balance between your position and other obligations.

     

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  • Learning through leadership

    by Michelle Gomez

    blog image alt text

    Throughout the experiences I’ve had over the years, I have realized that through helping others I am also helping myself to be a better person for my school, community, and country. Some of my greatest learning experiences occurred outside of the traditional classroom environment via the several officer positions I have held in student organizations. I have worked hard and consistently sought positions of leadership, seizing opportunities to lead and mentor at the forefront.

    Transforming into a leader

    Participation in extracurricular activities not only allows you to give back to the school, but it also allows you to build relationships with people you might not work with otherwise. We can always learn something new from someone else. Transforming into a leader is a rewarding experience, but it also means encountering a host of unanticipated challenges. The added effort of attempting to successfully collaborate with others and the struggle of efficiently managing my time are some of the challenges I have faced as a student leader. 

    Filling a void

    The most significant leadership endeavor I’ve experienced was helping start a new student organization. While enrolled at Lone Star College – University Park (LSC-UP) in Houston, several classmates and I noticed that the campus was lacking an organization where students interested in pursuing a degree in Business could learn about the business world, its different fields, and network with local leaders and other students sharing the same interest. These reasons motivated us to create the Student Business Organization in the Fall semester of 2016. 

    Facing challenges

    The hardest obstacle we encountered was writing the organization’s mandated constitution. We were lacking in guidance, not knowing exactly what we wanted our purpose to be, how often we would meet, or what we would do as an organization overall. Seeking advisers as well as potential and similarly dedicated officers was one of the most tedious processes we encountered. In the end however, the entire process was worth it. Knowing other Business students at LSC-UP would have the opportunity to socialize and have a platform to learn more about their future goals and ambitions brings great satisfaction to me. The Student Business Organization is now one of the most active student organizations on campus, providing students with knowledge in various aspects of essential business principles ranging from interview processes, resume workshop writing, financial planning, and technical skills that students can apply to various aspects of their lives. 

    Making an impact

    As Vice President my responsibilities were primarily focused around organizing events and delegating tasks to other officers. The most significant event I organized was scheduling a team of representatives from a well-known local business to come to campus and host interviews. This event gave students the opportunity to revise their resumes, practice their interview skills, and receive feedback from employers, as well as the chance to get hired on the spot. 

    Moving forward in leadership

    The leadership experience I gained through the Student Business Organization taught me invaluable lessons. It enriched my life with friends and experiences that I will cherish for years to come, illustrating the importance of teamwork, understanding and cooperation in tough situations. Above all, it showed me that belief in oneself can work wonders, even while facing the most daunting of challenges.  Being a leader in an organization has been so imperative in my time in college. I’ve carried these lessons learned with me as I continue my education at the University of North Carolina. I highly encourage you to take a step and gain experience by not only joining a student organization, but also taking on a leadership role. You will grow in it. It is something you won’t regret.

     

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