Listen, we get it. Being a leader isn’t always easy, especially when you’re a high school student juggling classes, clubs, and sports. And if you’re looking to work on your leadership skills this school year, COVID-19 has brought on some challenges with some schools in Canada and the U.S. with delayed openings. Some even into 2021. However, whether you are sitting in a classroom this fall or logging into your classes online, EmpowHERto has put together a list of qualities that every successful school leader should have, and some opportunities to try them out.
1. They Understand the Importance of Building a Community: They know how to help even when they are not asked. They care about others and want to get involved in the betterment and evolution of their community, local or global. One way to start is by getting involved with a nonprofit in your community. We suggest Feed it Forward, a nonprofit that helps feed those in need in the GTA.
2. They Are Passionate About What They Do: Passion is a critical ingredient for anyone who wants to be successful and happy in life. But passion is especially important for school leaders, who typically have a great influence on their school’s climate and culture. They often want to change the world through organizing events and creating awareness of specific causes.
We suggest you channel your passion towards a wide variety of causes through GVI, a nonprofit that runs conservation and community development programs for volunteers worldwide.
3. They Encourage Risk-Taking: Successful school leaders will encourage others to take risks. They will fight for a cause even when they are afraid of the outcome because they know it is better to try than to give up before they begin. For many, public speaking is a great fear, and school leaders aren’t immune, but DECA a company that prepares emerging high school and university leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management, also offers help with public speaking.
4. They Lead by Example: Leaders who lead by example position themselves as tremendous role models for others. Get involved in your own school. Ask your teachers how you can help during downtime, volunteer around campus for clubs and fundraisers, find a way to make sure the peers around you know that you are up for the challenge.
5. They Are Humble: While confidence is a very attractive trait in leaders, there’s nothing like being humble. Great leaders admit when they are wrong and take criticism as an opportunity for growth.
6. They Know When to Make Decisions: Leaders are great at making quick decisions. They realize when it is worth it to stick to a plan or project and when it’s time to move on without wasting additional time.
7. They Are Clear and Concise: Good Leaders will make sure they are not only seen but heard. They speak with energy and integrity and think before they speak. They do not want to confuse others or have their words taken out of context. The University Health Network in Toronto has a document for those wanting to become better speakers.
8. They Are Lifelong Learners: Perhaps the most important of all qualities that a school leader can possess is their thirst for knowledge. The best leaders, no matter what they do, understand that they will never know it all. They are humble in their knowledge, yet confident in their abilities. They’re endlessly curious individuals who never stop questioning and learning. Try online learning courses through Coursera to improve your knowledge on different subjects.
Read more about leadership on the blog and connect with us on IG and FB @EmpowHERto for updates and tips on entrepreneurship as we launch our LeadHER virtual Academy in September.