If you could go to school to be a leader, would you?
There is a necessity to start developing students as leaders, right from the get-go. One of the things that the Doerr Institute emphasizes is early intervention. Just as with musical instruction, or playing a new sport, or learning a second language, the earlier that you introduce these skills into a person’s life, the better chance they have to develop those skills and gain expertise. The same goes for leadership. Helping young adults in their most formative years is a great strategy for developing leadership capacity.
Eliminating Trial and Error
Often times, leaders become leaders through a lot of mistakes and periods of trial and error. However, if students can cultivate skills early on, it eliminates a lot of the minutiae that comes with learning a skill on the job. If students can learn skills like emotional skills, cognitive skills, and social skills early on, they are setting themselves up for a lifetime of knowing how to lead, and lead well.
Developing Leadership Skills
There are any important skills that create good leaders. Emotional skills, cognitive skills, and social skills are among the basic requirements. In addition to these skills, it’s also important to cultivate a leader identity. Unless a leader sees themselves as a leader, they’re not likely to step up into leadership responsibility or display those behaviors. There is also a core set of practical skills that develop competence in leaders. Some of these skills include delegating, inspiring, and casting a vision, knowing how to deliver feedback, and being able to develop the people on your team. Fostering a variety of different skills helps to create a well rounded, successful leader.
Why University Programs?
Some people may be skeptical about going to college for the purpose of gaining leadership skills. After all, leaders have been made through on the job and real-life experience for years, or feel as if they got enough leadership training from their bachelor’s degree. But, going to college for four years does not turn you into a leader. You may gain a lot of knowledge, and learn how to think, but it does not turn you into an actual leader or prepare for you for leadership roles. People need to seek out leadership experiences and intentionally develop those skills. Those who participate in collegiate leadership programs such as the Doerr Institute are developing their leader identity and displaying more effective leadership skills.