How to successfully lead your peers

As a senior public relations student, active leader, and former Panhellenic Vice President of Recruitment for Greek Life at the University of Oregon I’ve taken on the role of team leader and manager of my peers in various situations. Along the way I’ve learned a few tips I thought I would share with my peers for when they take on this role. Whether it is during a plans and problems class, campaigns class, your account team at work, or a sports team being a leader can be a tricky task.

When I was in kindergarten I learned the concept of ‘sharing’, now some of my classmates didn’t quite grasp this idea of sharing like I did. In team efforts you share your thoughts and ideas to accomplish a common goal. More often than not a team leader emerges to help guide your team on the right path to this common goal. These leaders have two choices, they can MANAGE the team or they can LEAD the team. This is a fine line and only few know how to truly LEAD a team to success.

When dealing with your peers, especially as students no one wants to admit that someone else is smarter than they are. So the leader needs to be aware of its member thoughts and feelings and follow these six steps on how to successfully lead your peers to accomplishing a common goal:

1. Gain Trust-you must show your team members that you are there to work with them.

2. Listen & Collaborate-
Let your team members know their voice is important. That their ideas are valuable and you can work together to improve the path to your goal by working together. More heads are always better than one!

3. Avoid Micromanaging-As a leader, when you begin to micromanage you lose the trust of your team. You begin to take over their task and it becomes a one man show. This defeats the purpose of the team.

4.Direct constructive critisism toward your goal- If team members are off task or moving in a different direction come together as a group and define your common goal again. Never put down a team member but build off what they’ve done and find a way to move on from there.

5.Express Each member is vital to group success- Without the team you as a leader will be alone to accomplish this goal. Every person brings ideas, personality, and passion to your team. Without certain members you may not be able to move forward. Be a cheerleader. Let them know without them this project would not be happening

6. Communicate-Without communication your team will go no where. Your team must trust that they can come to you for help if they are stuck. Without communication the team doesn’t know if they are moving forward or standing still. Communicate the good and the bad. Each member must be knowledgeable about all aspects of your project.

You learn how to lead as you experience it. Leading can be intimidating because everyone is looking to you for direction, but turn it around and make it a group effort where everyone is a part of the process. When you are a successful leader it encourages others to do their part become a part of the team. For more information and leadership skills check out the resources from the Holden Leadership Center at the University of Oregon.

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~ by stacianne on February 18, 2008.

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