Leadership skills


In this article, the author emphasizes on “5 ways of building leadership skills that can be developed or nurtured during the student college or university education.”

It is important to realize that “leaders are born, not made” has completely gone out of the window. Further, the idea of leadership has taken up different shape over the years. In this context,  Edgar Schein came up with trait theory that states people with certain traits or characteristics can be a leader is also criticized. Thus, the question arises now, who is a leader or who can be a leader?

Generally speaking, Leadership is an influential process through which we exercise our power to get the work done. Comparatively, the leader has so much to do than what the manager does, he/she has a unique competency that can be learned through rigorous practice and commitment to satisfy all the stakeholders.

In today’s scenario, Jobs irrespective of the duties and responsibilities, expect an individual to have exemplary leadership skills. In fact, the priority is given to those applicants who have shown excellent leadership skills in their previous employment or at the previous college/university. Being a leader, it is too tough to handle people in different situations due to the drastic change in their moods. Moreover, people lack consistency in their behavior and looking for a change in all aspects of life.

What is the Difference between a Leader and a Manager?

Both these terms are used interchangeably but, they are different in terms of the actions they take. In the present situation of dynamic and rapid change in the working environment. Leaders play a predominant role compared to the managers. In simple words, leaders do the right things whereas managers do things right. Let us dwell into their action and traits in detail. Managers usually have subordinates and strictly go by rules and regulations. They operate from a reward or punish strategy. moreover, they usually delegate the work employees and make them accountable for their actions. Since they are very particular about the job, doesn’t give value to the k of the people.

Contrary, Leaders are those who show the way and goes the way. Further, they are visionary and risk-taker. Usually, they lead by example and stand for the employees. In other words, leader care and show an empathetic relationship with their followers. Furthermore, leaders are flexible and willing to adapt to change. For instance, the leader may look at things in an optimistic way and consider the emotions of the employees. Thus, a collaborative approach with employees enhances participative culture among in an organisation. Leaders tend to be more innovative and have risk-taking ability compared to the managers. Ultimately, the primary aim of the leaders is to achieve goals with a win-win situation.

Why is it Important to learn leadership skills?

Before we look at 5 ways of building leadership skills, Let us understand the importance of the leadership skills in student’s life. The significance of leadership has been studied by many authors. It has emerged as an important skill for employees in a leadership role. The changing dynamics of business, an alarming rate of change in technology and psychology has given utmost importance to the possession of leadership qualities.

Leadership helps in motivating the employees to perform their best. It also develops the strategies to deal with conflict in an organisation. Leaders lead by example and exhibit energy and enthusiasm. This enables employees to adapt to change and learn new ways of doing things.

Leadership infuse trust and faith in the employees and create a culture of harmonious relationship. Therefore, recruiters prefer job aspirants to have exceptional leadership skills in lead roles.

What are the different leadership styles?

In essence of the above, the biggest question in everybody’s mind that what is the appropriate leadership style that can be used in current conditions. In order to answer this, let us examine the three different and popular styles of leaders.

In simple words, Autocratic style is one in which always you are right and you want others to follow your command. You create a do or die situation and force people to accept your decision. Whereas, the Participative is more collaborative and takes the opinion of followers in making decisions. Still your opinion matters in finalising the same. Finally, Freestyle is the one which gives followers the freedom to decide and your involvement is minimum.

Now, your question may be which is the best out of the above three. The answer is all has its own importance and change among three based on the situation.

For instance, take your dad as an example he uses all three depending on the intensity and impact of the decision. In buying a dress, he may be freestyle and choosing a course he may be participative and finally buying land or investing money, he may be autocratic. This solely based on the knowledge and experience of the follower.

How can we learn leadership skills in a college/university?

Further, We would like to focus on the 5 ways of building leadership skills at university or college level and how students get benefited because of thier leadership capabilities.

Initiation and stand:

It has been noticed that students either escape or feel scared to initiation in any activity or event at college. Unfortunately, they underestimate the power of taking initiation or doesn’t want to take it as it involves responsibility and risk. In fact, students who took lead has excelled in interviews and at the workplace. If you are still a student start taking initiation and stand firm in any situation. Definitely, it will prove fruitful.

Responsibility and Accountability:

In addition to the initiation, students should take some sort of responsibility either it may be a representative of students or it may be any social activity. Moreover, be accountable for your own actions. Don’t blame others for your own mistakes and deliver any given work on time. Once, you start taking responsibility, your way of decision making changes.

Creativity and learning:

One of the most important leadership skill you can learn is adaptability. You tend to learn new things and able to mold your decision without feeling stress or burden. Learning helps you build creativity. Thus, you can think of alternatives creatively and solve the problems in a unique manner. Never stop learning as it makes you stronger to encounter any problem without fear of risk and failure.

Empathy and support:

A leader should be a great motivator, their students should build a healthier relationship with everyone and be empathetic and supportive to all. In simple words, empathy means supporting others as if the problem is ours. Moreover, people are not in need of sympathy anymore and they want people who can stand for them in their good and bad times. As a student, you may come across others with many problems. It’s an opportunity for you to make a difference in their life by supporting them.

Courage and confidence:

Students can be confident when they get an opportunity to face the real challenges. Therefore, you must involve in projects, render seminars, talk to experts for opinion, involve in debates or discussions and take a lead in events. During the initial stages, you may find it hard but, later you will love being confident. Here, courage is not showing you physical power, it is all about dealing with an internal fight of mind.


Summing up, leadership skills not only help you fetching a job and performing well in a leadership role but also, at home while making important decisions. Everyone has to Lead a family one or the other day and college/university is the best platform to practice such skills.

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