Let’s start with the premise in leadership that you don’t need a title to be a leader. What is leadership? Leadership is a process where a group comes together to create positive change. While the organization might have a traditional “leader” at the helm of an organization, when viewed as a process everyone contributes to the success of the group. In a successful group, every member has skills and abilities that contribute to the group accomplishing its goal.
As a TU student, I encourage you to seek out opportunities to examine your strengths as a leader and group member, to practice your skills, to get feedback and to grow personally and professionally. Learning and understanding your strengths, applying your knowledge and skills, and being able to articulate your strengths and skills are invaluable as you graduate and navigate your career path.
What are some of the key skills needed to be effective in contributing to a leadership process?
- Effective leaders know and understand their strengths.
- It is important to be able to communicate your message effectively and to listen for understanding so that you are able to recognize different perspectives and experiences.
- Leaders who are able to build relationships and trust with other are most effective. It is crucial that a leader learns how to work effectively with others and to be a contributing part of the team.
Here are some ways you can develop leadership skills and capacity at Towson:
- Join an organization or participate in an activity which allows opportunities for self-assessment and reflection.
- Attend a retreat focused on personal and professional development.
- Visit the Career Center which has a variety of self-assessment and feedback opportunities such as “StrenghtsQuest” which identifies your top 5 talent themes to help you identify and develop your strengths. To learn more about the self-assessments offered through the Career Center visit: http://www.towson.edu/careercenter/students/advise/assessment.asp
- If you live on campus in the residence halls, look for opportunities to get involved in your Building Council and attend programs offered by URG and H&RL.
- Become a peer mentor on campus. The training opportunities and hand-on experience are invaluable.
- The Center for Student Diversity holds the “Retreat for Social Justice” every fall which provides an opportunity to strengthen your multicultural leadership and to understand the complexities of identity within organizations and groups while striving to create inclusive and safe spaces for all voices to be valued.
- The Office of Student Activities provides many opportunities to strengthen your leadership. To learn more about the Office of Student Activities visit: http://www.towson.edu/studentactivities/leadership/
a. Initiatives out of Student Activities include:
i. I L.E.A.D. Certificate – a non-academic certificate offered to students on campus who earn points by attending workshops and participating in various leadership opportunities on campus.
ii. LeaderShape – The LeaderShape Institute is a 6 day leadership development program offered each year to TU students.
iii. I L.E.A.D. Workshops & Conferences – workshops are offered on a variety of topics and conferences offered through Student Activities include the Men’s Leadership Symposium, Spring Leadership Conference, or Women in Leadership Conference.
iv. Omicron Delta Kappa – ODK is a national honor society that recognized students who have shown achievement in one of five areas.
My hope is that each reader will take advantage of the numerous opportunities available to enhance their leadership while a student at Towson University.
Deb Moriarty, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs