Effective Leadership?

Wordle: Leadership

by Matt Miller, Assistant Director for Programming, Student Involvement and Leadership

To start off, I have to share my own personal excitement for social media week and I hope you have taken advantage of all the great programs this week!  So on to the topic of the day.  The Blogfest topic of the day is leadership, with a focus on what “effective leadership” means to me.  When I think of the phrase effective leadership, two words come to mind that I want to focus on – vision and motivation.

Vision – To me, ability to lead is great, but unless you have somewhere you are leading others, there isn’t really much point.  When someone has a vision, whether for themselves, their job or their organization, I believe they are often more productive and more effective.  I have had the pleasure of working with numerous student leaders while working here at BSU and although they all had their strengths, the ones with a clear vision and view of the future were often the best leaders.  A vision can be for any length of time, or can connect to a small project or to a whole organization.  Planning ahead and creating a vision of what you want the outcome to be is a great way to help you or your group reach that goal.

Motivation – You can break this into two main parts, personal motivation and motivation of others.  If you have a vision you are most likely going to be more effective then without one, but personal motivation is going to get you there.  I hear great ideas all the time, but many people are not self-motivated to accomplish or take on those ideas.  Often you can’t take it all on by yourself, especially when you are trying to make changes within an organization or plan an event as a group, then you have to motivate others.  Many leaders just expect others to work with them, to follow, and then complain when those they were working with walk away.  Especially when working with a group of fellow volunteers you have to keep them motivated – motivated to be there, motivated to do work, motivated to work toward your shared vision.

Although there are many other aspects to being an effective leader, I think that these two are pretty important. When setting a vision for a group, it’s always good to have your own, but make sure you create a shared one that everyone can also agree on, then help motivate each other to accomplish it.

What do you think?  What characteristics would you say are require for effective leadership?  Have you had any successes or challenges relating to setting a vision or motivating others that you would want to share?

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