INSPIRE: 6 Steps to Becoming an Effective Leader

Welcome to the next installment of the INSPIRE series. This piece is written by Matt, a driven leader who wants to share his insight with others. Enjoy & share!

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I say this in two parts: first, the overarching theme that I am about to share with you is not groundbreaking, though it is my goal to shine it in a different light through my experiences. Second, and most importantly, I have failed numerous times in individual opportunities to lead others effectively; however, without these trying moments I would have never gained some of the most valuable lessons that I have to share with you. I do not claim to be a perfect leader, but I do claim to be an individual who strives each day to serve others better than I did the day before. The following are just a few of the lessons that I have learned. I hope that they help you as much as they’ve helped me!

“An effective leader will always pass the recognition onto the general body…”

  1. Leadership is a mindset. Many people will claim that “leaders” posses a certain talent or skill. However, I have found that leadership is more so dependent on a state of mind. While personality traits such as confidence, innovation, and decisiveness may enhance an individual’s potential to be a great leader, even the most skilled individuals may not be able to lead if they aren’t willing to put others before themselves. Effective leaders shift the focus from themselves onto those whom they are serving. Every action that you take within your role should be taken with the intention of benefiting the people or organization that you are serving.
  2. Find your role. As a leader, you will have a large influence in determining the direction that your organization takes. The question arises: How can you effectively lead without knowing your own role? Without a true understanding of your position, your potential as an effective leader will remain untapped because the time and energy that you invest into the organization will lack structure. Luckily, many organizations have a written description of their positions and the roles assigned to each. Read them. Additionally, ask your fellow members how they would like to see you integrate your leadership abilities in the organization. No matter how established your organization may be, your members will be satisfied knowing that they picked the right person to represent them if you let them play a role in determining how you lead the organization.
  3. Set realistic goals. After you have defined your role as a leader, take some time with your members to facilitate the establishment of the organization’s goals. These goals should be measurable and under the control of your organization. I recommend setting no more than five goals at a time so you will be able to pay proper attention to each of them individually.
  4. Follow through. Once you have listed your organization’s goals, now comes the time to plan out exactly how you are going to accomplish them. Though it may seem odd at first, I have found an approach called backwards planning or backwards goal-setting to be extremely helpful in completing daily tasks and long term goals. This mindset puts the focus on where you want to be at some point in time rather than concentrating mainly on where you are currently. To use this approach, first, picture your organization accomplishing a specific goal. Then, ask yourself what your organization would need to do just before that moment to reach the specific goal. In doing so, you have set a subgoal that will occur just prior to accomplishing the final goal. Repeat this step over and over again until you find yourself where you are currently. Retracing your steps from the finish line to the starting point will provide you with a roadmap to success by breaking down even the largest goals into smaller, more attainable pieces.
  5. Build individualized relationships in your organization. No two people are exactly the same. So why would you use the same approach to motivate members in your organization to accomplish a desired task? Your members are driven in their daily life by various factors, which will come into play when fulfilling their responsibilities in your organization. Thus, an effective leader will take the time to get to know each of his or her members on a personal level. By discovering the different reasons that each member joined, not only will you gain a better perspective of what they would like to see in the future, but you will also identify ways in which they can be inspired to help the organization reach its goals.
  6. Recognize others and share thanks. Oftentimes, the leader is looked to as the face of an organization. This can be a very humbling experience for many leaders, as you will be congratulated for nearly everything that the organization accomplishes, regardless of how involved you were with the process. An organization’s daily operation requires the hardwork of many people working together and thus an effective leader will always pass the recognition onto the general body or to those who were responsible for the feat.

Organizational leaders go to phenomenal efforts to see that goals are met and deadlines are reached. There may be times where you feel overwhelmed and overworked, but never let a day go by that you don’t thank those around you for the unconditional support that they offer you. In due time, you will see the work that you put in pay off through the positive impacts that you make on your organization and its members.

 

For the past year and a half, Matt has served as the Chapter President for Phi Delta Theta – Missouri Iota at Lindenwood University. Along the way, he has gathered countless pieces of information on how to be a more effective leader from personal experiences, lessons from other leaders, and many missteps.

Finals Guide: 25 Tips to Get Your Through the Week

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It’s that time again. The most dreaded week of any semester, a week sent to test student’s willpower, focus, determination and ability to survive on coffee. I asked my sorority sisters, friends and classmates for their studying tips and was overwhelmed with the response. Here is the compilation of the 25 best – somewhat – sarcastic tips for studying during this difficult week.

  1. Flash Cards. Make them and carry them around like precious gold. These babies will always work.
  2. Don’t binge watch Netflix… a.k.a. 13 reasons why You shouldn’t study.
  3. Study somewhere different. Switch up your study routine and go to a new environment. A change of scenery will help you focus.
  4. Sit up straight. Don’t study on your couch – you’ll fall asleep.
  5. Reward Yourself. Did you read a sentence? Eat a Skittle.
  6. Sleep. It’s better to get a couple hours of sleep than to study until your eyes glaze over.
  7. Memory games. If you’re trying to memorize those random facts about something that you’ll never need – make up a song/rap/poem or try ‘chunking’. It’ll make studying more tolerable.
  8. Don’t participate in Wine Wednesday. You’re welcome.
  9. Take a break. Hit up your closest pizza joint. It’s okay to let your brain relax for 30 minutes.
  10. Plan out your study times. Mark them down in your planner, phone or on your hand. As Nike says, just do it.
  11. Caffeine. This life staple will always rev up that old mind engine. Just don’t overdo it.
  12. Extra credit. One of my friends suggested crying in front of your professor. It’s been tried and approved.
  13. Take a Bath – it’s relaxing and also allows one to drown in one’s sorrows. But seriously, this is a great tip.
  14. Yoga. Speaking of relaxing, try a downward dog pose. It’s good for your brain.
  15. Watch a cat video. Just one…
  16. Music. Need some motivation? Put in those headphones and jam out. See my study playlist here.
  17. Take a short nap. A fifteen minute snooze fest is shown to increase brain function. Bonus points if you fall asleep on top of your books.
  18. Find a study buddy. Bounce questions off each other.
  19. Or lock yourself away in the library. To each their own.
  20. Stay off social media. It’s a dark hole of procrastination. Your ex’s best friend’s sister’s Facebook page will still be there later.
  21. Don’t go to work. Have a part time job or internship? Take off and bury your head in books.
  22. Ask for notes. Did you miss a day? A week? A month? Ask a classmate for the notes you missed.
  23. Interrogate the professor. Want to know how many questions are on the test? They usually answer.
  24. Figure out the lowest grade you can get on the final without failing the class.
  25. Or you can just do nothing. C’s get degrees.

So, there you go – 25 tried and true tips to get you through the week. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this list! Be brave my friends.

 

Study Hard,

Rebecca

Festival Vibes Dress

Hello lovelies!

This past weekend has been crazy busy. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I had a birthday! I celebrated by attending my last TriSigma semi-formal. It was a bittersweet night and one that will definitely go down in history.

For a great night you have to have a great dress. After scouring the internet for the perfect outfit, I found a gorgeous dress at Lulus. The fabric and princess seams combine to make a comfortable piece of fashion. The dress is decently priced and can be worn for so many different occasions. You can find the dress here and the shoes I wore here.

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