My experience as the president of the student council

a man talking at the front

Also including :

How to be a better leader as an introvert or not (according to Johndy Lens Philistin)

« The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet» -Theodore M. Hesburgh. There’s a lot of more interesting quotes on being a leader, however, being a great leader will require more than just some interesting quotes. Being a leader involves a lot of skills that many think they cannot handle. Nevertheless, based on my own experience, I'll tell you how to be a better leader. As usual, remember that it’s not scientifically proven that it will work for you since it’s based on my personal experience but it is worth a try.

My biggest experience as a leader so far is being the president of the student council of College Dominique Savio (CODOSA). It wasn’t my first experience as a leader ; I used to lead 5 to 15+ people for some projects or competitions. However, it was my first experience leading so much people. In fact, I was responsible for the whole school along with the other members of the student council.

As an introvert, it’s needless to say how it was difficult for me. Usually, I lead in the shadow without attracting people attention. Even in classroom, I was the quietest student, the one the teacher knows the name but not the face because of my grades. Nonetheless, after being the president of my school, it was almost impossible to not be seen wherever I go. In addition, some introverts will understand that there are some days or moments that we just want to be alone and not having interaction but I didn’t have this chance : there was always a meeting, a new task or a new person to meet. On the top of that, I must not forget to smile to everyone that greet me.

If you think it was a torment for me, think again. I was elected because I had a vision for my class, for my school and it was pointless to give up because I wasn’t comfortable in my bubble anymore. As you may imagine, it was tough to manage all these people because of my introverted side but this experience showed my how to be a better leader despite the fact I made a lot of mistakes.

I will be focusing on the don’ts instead of the dos as there already are resources on the internet explaining the dos :

  1. Do not try to do everything by yourself

    Sometimes, the only way to get sure one task is done is to do it by yourself. However, what do you do when there are multiple tasks ? Trying to do everything by yourself can drive you insane. Your 24 hours aren’t enough so you have to use in the 24 hours of other. Hence, divide the tasks and assign each of them. Warning, you must not forget to show how grateful you are that you have your co-workers and show them how much they help when the complete the task assigned to them. Make them feel that they are not working for you but with you. Most importantly, make them feel special.

  2. Do not blame

    At school, the perfectionist students always get mad in team groups when they have an homework because there are always some people who delay or don’t do their part of the homework. While it’s very tempting to blame them, according to my past experiences, I can tell you that blaming has never resolved a problem of any kind.

    The problem is that you think everyone has the same state of mind as you ; you think that you will just assign a task and it will be closed before the deadline. It would be awesome but when you are dealing with people, you cannot expect a straight line. As A leader, you have to consider everyone as a lazy person that needs direction.

  3. Do not become an alarm ring

    Anyone can relate how disturbing an alarm ring is in the morning when you are so at ease in bed. The only thing you need is to stop the alarm and keep sleeping. So does for your exhausting reminder. When I said that you will not give an assignment and expect to be done before the due date, I didn’t pretend to remind the duty every single day. However, there’s a practical way to do so without even being caught : write the person and ask for his/her news. « Hello, How have you been ? you ok ? The days were very frustrating, how do you manage the frustration » and at the end of the conversation you receive something like « you know I was busy/sick/other issue and this is the reason why I am not dot yet with the task, I’ll try to do it tomorrow ». (Do not recall tomorrow). This is it, you remind the assignment without even talking about the assignment. When a person see your call or your message, they will think that it’s likely for the task. Nonetheless, when you take news and don’t even mention the task, they’ll bring the subject on the table themselves. Very practical. Some people will ask more strategies but I am sure you will find a better solution based on what I have just given.

  4. Do not treat everyone equally

    Do not get me wrong. By stating that I am not advising to do it obviously. Noone must notice that you are doing that. I will explain.

    Believe it or not, everyone doesn’t have the same capacity in a team. When you are treating everyone like they have the same capacity, the final goal may not be achieved. For my case, I wanted for everyone to feel part of something big, I wanted for everyone to have the same amount of task independently of which task and the importance it has. Nonetheless, I have gone wrong. In a group, there will always be some people that are more motivated than the remaining. Make sure you notice them and you assign them, the most important tasks. Even more tasks, sometimes.

    On the other hand, everyone doesn’t have to have a concrete task. As an example, some people can just give ideas on the final decisions. Therefore, you must know the values of your team members and what they are capable of. Do not just give a task, give a task that you know they will do enthusiastically.

  5. Do not meet only in group

    Finally, while underestimated sometimes, this advice is very crucial. Remember that you are not a boss or an employer, rather, a leader. The team owns you nothing but you own them everything.

That’s it. These are my pieces of advice for you if you want to be a better leader. Remember that I don’t guarantee at 100 percent that it will work for you. Each group is a different one. It’s the reason why I gave the most objective advice as possible. Don’t be surprised if a group involves an opposite method. These advices are based on my personal mistakes. I have done some other leadership experiences after the student council (while the population wasn’t as huge) and I applied the advice I have just given. As a result, they work perfectly. I am on pins and needles seeing how better you will be as a leader. Get a plan.