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8 Essential Skills To Be An Effective Student Leader

Whether leadership is an innate skill or one that can be learned over the years is a never-ending debate. But what is absolute is regardless of you being a businessman, a doctor, an engineer, or a student, you will need to work hard to become an effective leader.

Although leadership struggles vary at every stage of life, they probably feel more strenuous when you are students. This is perhaps because young minds are more ambitious, power-hungry, and aggressive.

Developing essential leadership qualities in your early years is always a good idea. They will add value to your resume and prepare you to step into the professional world. Below, we have mentioned some necessary skills every student leader must possess.

1. Planning and decision-making

If one had to narrow down the crux of leadership, planning and decision-making would come down as the winning skill set. After all, the two are the most significant elements of becoming a leader.

As a student leader, the primary responsibility of planning either a project or an assignment will fall on you. Your peers will rely on you to distribute work amongst them and guide them to go about a task and achieving a goal. Similarly, the job of making small to final decisions will also fall on you. 

You should take every detail into account. You should listen to everyone’s opinion, understand the whole story and be ready to make amendments. Remember, your decision is going to affect a lot of other students. It would be wise to be careful.

Planning and decision-making skills are also essential qualities when applying to graduate school. Suppose you plan to join a 500 fortune company in the future. In that case, carefully planning your career path by opting for courses such as strategic communications masters programs online will help. Effective planning and decision-making skills will help you make the right choice to emerge as a successful leader in the future. 

2. Communication skills

Effective communication is essential in any and every field and especially when you are a leader. You need to get your ideas across to those you lead, and to do so, you need to develop practical speaking skills.

Good speaking skills help you communicate easily. They enable you to show your goals and visions to others. However, if you cannot communicate appropriately with your team, you have unfortunately failed to become a successful leader. 

Showing empathy, emotions, and concern are some of the top communication hacks. It shows that you care for other people and slowly builds trust and confidence. Apart from showing sentiments, having good eye-contact while conversing is also crucial. It makes you look more personal and helps create a relationship. If you have mastered the art of showing emotions, you can quickly grab others’ attention. 

3. Listening skills

Listening is equally as important as communicating. Perhaps even more to some extent. Listening also affects your communication skills. If you don’t listen to others, they won’t listen to you.

When you hear other people’s opinions and ideas, it creates a sense of trust and respect. Your student peers become more motivated and committed to following under your leadership. Besides, the reality is quite different from what you might think. Hence, it is always worth considering your peers’ valuable ideas. 

4. Keeping a daily check

Keeping a record of all your team members’ daily tasks and achievements can help you analyze everyone’s performance. It can help maintain the accountability required to achieve your set goals. A record will make it easier for you to overview everyday activities and respond accordingly. 

However, while doing so, you shouldn’t forget to include yourself in those records. It is imperative to treat yourself as the rest to bring the most effective outcome out of yourself. 

5. Learn to make difficult decisions 

One of the most challenging jobs of a leader is to pick team members and assign tasks. However, you must delegate the most important tasks to the most responsible team member. Even if others feel left out, prioritize those who are willing to do more than required for you. 

Such decisions can be extremely difficult for leaders. But remember, your role as a leader is to get the job done most efficiently. So, sometimes you will need to make decisions that will not always be in everyone’s favor.

6. Time-management

Time-management is perhaps the one skill that will come in most handy as a leader. As is evident, as a leader, you are likely to have tons of responsibilities and work on your head. Effective time management can help you utilize your time and resources most efficiently.

Some top time-management tips include keeping a schedule of everything. You’ll know when to do what and what to do next. It will help you be more structured and disciplined. New, more critical tasks can pop up at any time. Hence regularly updating your schedule/calendar is also crucial. Prioritizing your most important chores for the day and setting boundaries between work and social life can make you better at time-management.

7. Networking

Having a group of supporters and advocates is vital for your learning and growth. Not only does a strong network boost your motivation, but it also hugely affects your influence as a leader.

A student networking group allows you to meet individuals with similar goals and visions as you. It becomes easier to communicate, assist, and ask for help in times of crisis. For instance, when you face a difficult situation in college or university, others might have encountered a similar issue. So, they may be able to counsel and guide you in the right direction. Similarly, you might be able to assist them with a challenge they might have faced. 

Hence, networking is critical to leadership. A good network can help you in ways you never imagined. 

8. Learn from your mistakes 

Being in a position of authority can often feel very overwhelming. You might feel like you always need to be correct about every decision. However, as a leader, you are no less human than your peers, and it is natural to make mistakes. Students tend to make more mistakes than grown-ups. You are not required to be perfect. But you are also not expected to be stubborn and self-centered. A good leader is one who learns from their mistakes, improvises, and moves on.

Failure is part of life. What is important is that you get up and get back on your feet each time, stronger than before!


Leadership is a demanding job. There are a lot of expectations off leaders, and rightfully so. After all, you are presenting yourself as leaders and as mentors to your team members and peers. Therefore, you should make every decision and assign every task after careful consideration. You can make mistakes, but too many of them might become a problem. 

Effective leadership is the key to get the job done. Having the above skills is fundamental for you to become an effective leader.