What do former U.S. President Bill Clinton, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, and current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have in common? They were all members of their school clubs/organizations back in their student days.
Other than helping create important social connections, joining clubs/organizations can help in building a firm foundation for simple students to become leaders at an early age. Clubs helped them to prepare for the fulfillment of ambitious careers that require incredible charisma and great leadership skills.
Here are some ways as to how clubs/organizations give their members the necessary skills to become great leaders destined for great ambitions:
1. Avenue for Personal Growth
“Your personal growth encompasses all aspects of yourself, including the feelings you have about yourself and how you live your life,’ says Michael Crockett, PsyD. It is typical for many students to learn much about themselves while actively participating in clubs/organizations. By embarking in the activities of clubs that are designed for personal growth and relating to different kinds of people, each student is tested to their boundaries and encouraged to step out of their comfort zone. They learn new skills and apply their old ones. They are asked to handle certain situations individually or by a group. In this way, each student sees their strengths, their areas of improvement, and in what ways can they further develop their strengths and improve their weaknesses.
2. Developing Soft Skills
“The one common message from all of the experts was that working on the development of your “soft skills” will make you a more effective leader and team member,” says Ronald E Riggio Ph.D. Soft skills are essential, but almost overlooked skills in students. Participating in clubs helps broaden those important skill sets. Therefore, when students graduate and are deployed into the real, working world, they’ll be able to use those skills for the benefit of themselves and their employed agencies.
While categories of soft skills are broad, there are 10 key soft skills that are sought and valued by employers and can be developed in clubs/organizations.
- Communication skills – the ability to relay information effectively and efficiently in any type of audience.
- Self-motivation – having a positive outlook and initiative to perform the tasks at hand.
- Leadership – the ability to motivate and communicate with others for the best optimal performance of the group.
- Responsibility – the ability to be aware of one’s actions and owing to one’s mistakes.
- Teamwork – having the necessary accumulation of soft skills to perform as a good member of the team.
- Decisiveness – ability to decide by a thorough cost-benefit analysis.
- Time management – the ability to work under pressure and organize the priority of tasks to be done.
- Flexibility – having to be open-minded to new skills and challenges.
- Conflict Resolution – having strong interpersonal skills that can resolve tensions between parties and/or reach into a mutually beneficial means for everyone.
- Problem Solving – ability to reach solutions with or without the help of the team.
3. Being a Leader and a Follower
According to Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., “Good leaders take the time to listen to, and connect emotionally with followers at all levels.” In clubs, you are allowed to be a leader and a follower all at the same time. As a follower, you are asked to seek advice from superiors and listen to the ideas of the whole club/organization. On the other hand, as a leader, you are asked to convene and reach mutually benefitting solutions with diverse sets of people. Moreover, you’re given multiple opportunities to gain confidence for yourself and your skills as an individual.
4. Exposure to Different Fields and Expertise
Being in clubs provides you with avenues where you can try different things that you may never have tried before. Moreover, these groups give you a glimpse of real-life experiences in the fields that you’re studying in. For example, clubs dealing with community engagement activities give their members the real taste and sight of those communities experiencing social issues such as poverty, hunger, corruption, and the like. These opportunities allow you to apply your hard-earned skills and knowledge to test.
5. Great Experience
Overall, participation in clubs is a great experience. Not only are you able to meet new kinds of people and have various experiences, it also leaves you a sense of fulfillment for being able to serve the interests of people other than your own.
So, before you tell your teachers or advisors that you’re not interested in joining school clubs, think about it for a moment. You may be letting a golden opportunity pass before your fingertips.