Over the course of time, I have held numerous leadership roles. Whether it be organizing Pokémon battles at the age of 10, or being the class president of my junior and senior class in high school while also being involved and having leadership roles in the numerous organizations I was involved in during high school, I was always trying to better, in some way or another, each organization as a whole. Despite being heavily involved throughout my college career with over 15 organizations on my campus, it wasn’t until now, as I reflect upon my presidency at Kansas Alpha that I realize certain and specific leadership skills that have made me the leader I am today.
As I look back on my short-lived presidency, I can see that my fraternity’s member retainment has been 100% and that this semester our house more than doubled the amount of new members that we received compared to last year’s formal recruitment numbers. It would be irrational to give myself the majority of the credit for these great accomplishments simply because the men in my house did much of the work. However, through my ability to encourage the heart of my members, through my perseverance to challenge the process of the traditional characteristics and outcomes of the previous Greek life system and our fraternity as a whole, and through my ability to enable others to act, I feel that the house as a whole was able to come together as one unit under a shared vision to accomplish the great feats that we have.
The first characteristic that I feel has helped me develop as a great leader is respect. As a leader, I thrive upon respect and the ability to be open to the ideas of others. I am almost certain that if an individual doesn’t have the capability to respectfully listen to what others have to say, then that individual will not be respected in return and will thus fail as a leader. A leader needs to be encouraging; they need celebrate the wins and persevere over the losses. If a leader can do these things, then they will simultaneously gain respect from those in the group thus enabling the group to generate a shared vision.
Once a shared vision has been established and accepted, then the sky is literally the limit (cliché, I know. But it’s true!) The group as a whole becomes motivated. They will listen to what you have to say. Sure, there might be some people in the group who haven’t fully committed to the shared vision quite yet, but once they see the vision being fully and successfully enacted upon, it’s not too much later that the stragglers will jump on board as well. I can’t fully express how gratifying it is to see a group of men, who before were unmotivated and could care less about the group as a whole, come together with a shared vision and accomplish whatever they put their minds to.
Lastly, the final component of what I believe is essential to be an effective leader, is praising the individual accomplishments of each member of your group. For example, how gratifying is it when you successfully answer a question in class and the professor compliments you for correctly answering the question. It feels pretty good, right? The concept seen in this hypothetical can be used for any kind of situation. Let’s say one of your group members had a baby, or another member just paid off his loan, or another member simply accomplished something that seemed so minute to you, but was quite the opposite feat for that person. As a leader, we should make our members feel like what they do is special! In all reality, your members are the most important individuals of the group. They are the ones who are helping you accomplish the work that needs to be done, so what’s special to them must be special to you.
If you’ve read up to now, I’m hoping that what I have had to say has been somewhat beneficial to you. I know that I don’t know everything about being a leader, but through my numerous roles as a leader, I simply wanted to uncover the characteristics that have been successful for me.
I would like to thank dearly all of my fraternity brothers at Kansas Alpha and across the nation for the hard work that they have put in to better Sigma Phi Epsilon. I have no doubt in my mind that my successors will have what it takes to make this fraternity even better than what it currently is. It’s nice to know that once we’ve hung our hats, whenever that time may be, we can always be assured that this fraternity will be different! It is undoubtedly great to be a SigEp!