My top 5 lessons I have learned from being a leader in collegiate organizations:
#5 – You can not make everyone happy all the time, and that is okay.
Being a leader does not necessarily mean being a people pleaser. Many times decisions you make ultimately will not be in agreement with everyone, and that is okay. Many organizations have leadership teams that allow you to fall back on others and help bounce ideas off and shoulder the burden of making tough decisions.
#4 – Bigger is not always better.
Having a large team with many uninvolved components, just to boost your roster, does not always indicate a better, more productive environment. I feel that having a smaller team where everyone is involved and knows their part to play is more productive and more enjoyable for everyone.
#3 – Patience is a virtue, and sometimes we all need a little more of it.
Not everyone will always work on your time table, and you will not always work on theirs. Working with groups normally means relying on others to get a project done, which in turn can mean waiting on people to finish their part so you can finish yours. Patience is something that I have had to work on as a leader by reminding myself that whatever project I have going with someone may not be the only thing they have going on.
#2 – Attempting to be everything to everyone at once will end with broken promises.
One can not do the work of 14 without running themselves ragged. I tend to have the tendency to say yes to helping everyone, even when my plate is already overflowing. If saying yes to helping someone is going to bring you anxiety instead of joy, it is okay to say no to save yourself the stress, and save you from having to tell your team that you did not get everything done.
#1 – Some of your best friends can come from unexpected places.
Last but certainly not least, some of your closest friends can come from the leadership teams you are a part of. Working closely with people can sometimes drive a wedge between you due to the whole ‘not always making people happy’ thing mentioned earlier, but if you can find people that you can disagree with and still love them at the end of the day, keep them close. The friendships I have gained from being on leadership teams are friendship that will last a lifetime.