Leadership Development And Its Influence On College Students Education Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Developing student's leadership skills and preparing future leaders for the professional world are two of the main goals of higher education institutions; many of them are committing considerable time and resources to student leadership development programs and initiatives.

Higher education has focused on leadership development since the beginning of colleges and universities; they helped in preparing many of the nations' first political, social, and professional leaders (Astin & Astin, 2000). Colleges and universities have established a commitment to educate students to be responsible people (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, 2006; Roberts, 2003a; Thelin, 2003). Leadership behavior has been established to have a positive effect on developing students character (Astin & Antonio, 2004) and values (Cress, Astin, Burkhardt, & Zimmerman-Oster, 2001).

Higher education institutions have established leadership development programs, in addition to service and volunteer initiatives as a method to address a scarcity of interest in civil activities and to involve students in the institution (Astin & Antonio, 2004).

Leadership training programs are increasingly becoming widespread at modern higher education institutions. Contributing in leadership training programs help students learn to think critically way and communicate efficiently. These skills can support students in their personal and professional lives (King, 2003).

Students can serve as a leader in a diversity of frameworks which allows them to interact with others and to improve new skills.

Leadership involves a multilateral process that requires working with others in personal and professional relationships to achieve a goal or to enhance a positive change. Even though leadership competencies and behaviors can be improved in several different ways, there has been an emerging agreement that leadership is transferred from one situation to another where one person emerges as leader from a group.

Involvement in organizational leadership experiences provides members the opportunity to interact with their peers in formal and non-formal leadership training, and those organizational leadership experiences are different from leadership programs and can provide a distinct advantage for leadership development. Locke (2001) stated that many civil leadership programs encourage the participants to involve with the community and use what they have learned to work on or discuss solutions to problems facing the community.

Many college students obtain leadership experience through opportunities beyond the formal college classroom. Researchers have investigated how the experience of being involved with both learning communities and agricultural youth organizations influence academic performance, retention and degree completion (Bardou, Byrne, Paternak, & Perez (2003).

Leadership behavior analysis proposes that the more students are implicated in student organizations the more probable they are to enlarge strong leadership skills and behaviors. Such experience is precious in helping students expand a skill set they can use in the real world. Employers want and value competence in communication, adaptability, problem-identification and problem-solving, self-management, teamwork, and leadership skills (Schieman, 2006). This student organizational experience plays an important role in developing leadership within its membership (Lloyd, 1996). Developing competencies in knowledge creation, community and practical application, promoting a sharing of ideas, skills and those talents are reflective individualized and group leadership development and (Locke, 2001). Previous research indicates the desire for leadership development is strong, especially among students as well as the researchers of leadership theory (Day, 2001).

"How student affairs staff can assist more students to become involved in collegiate leadership opportunities" is one of the major questions that addressed in higher education institution, therefore empowering them to lead lives as leaders beyond the college environment (Astin & Astin, 2000).

Many college students obtain leadership experience through opportunities beyond the formal college classroom. Researchers have investigated how the experience of being involved with both learning communities and agricultural youth organizations influence academic performance, retention and degree completion (Bardou, Byrne, Paternak, & Perez (2003).

The results indicate that there is a positive relationship between student involvement and academic performance.

The way that a Student defines the leadership can play as a major role in whether perceives him/her as a leader or not. Influences on whether the students choose to get concerned in leadership opportunities, or look themselves as leaders, might be external to the student.

Student leaders often receive substantial praise, support, and opportunities, while those who are not engaged as leaders do not. Many students believe that access to options and opportunities often is what separates the privileged from the oppressed, these students noted that mentoring, intelligence, personality, a supportive family, and health are all opportunities that influence an individual's success (Chizhik & Chizhik, 2002). These opportunities may also influence a student's efficacy in regards to leadership (Astin & Astin, 2000).

Astin and Astin (2000) asserted that some perceptions of leadership promote constraining beliefs that limit student participation in leadership experiences. Constraining beliefs, according to Astin and Astin (2000), lead to disempowerment, which limit a student's perception of him/herself as an active participant in leadership and change efforts. These beliefs can result in external actions such as students being disengaged in campus life, being passive learners in the classroom, and self-selecting themselves out of leadership opportunities (Astin & Astin, 2000). Many students may be unaware that they possess these limiting beliefs. Astin and Astin (2000) also concluded that the goal of leadership development initiatives should be to instill empowering beliefs in college students. They defined empowering beliefs as liberating thoughts that allow a student to believe that he or she can have an influence and make a difference. Empowering beliefs encourage students to become involved in multiple ways on campus and in the community.

Effective leaders promote and embrace change by promoting the growth of organizations to go beyond their calling, offering a better environment for their employees, and providing outstanding customer service. Leaders are thrown into situations where they must solve complex problems rapidly and have final answers in the decision-making process (Fullan, 2001). The complex situations in which leaders need to be prepared reflect the education our students attain in college. Potential employers expect college graduates to be effective leaders with enhanced problem-solving skills.

Students take a positive step in the direction of becoming effective leaders when they become aware of their leadership skills through personal assessment, identifying their core areas, understanding that things change, and recognizing the importance of leadership in their academic and career fields. Personal excellence skills are processes of learning that can help students approach their coursework in a different mentality.

Personal excellence is a progression of rejuvenation and continuous improvement and positive building at each step of an individual's life (Nelson, Low, & Hammett, 2007). Personal excellence represents a development of the self in which individuals recognize behaviors that can lead them to successful outcomes. Becoming the best person sets the standard for becoming a great leader who can motivate others toward organizational goals. Personal excellence is indicated in people who develop their gifts and talents to the fullest, achieving a harmony in how they think, feel, behave, and believe that leads to productive relationships and outcomes. Rather than an arrival state, personal excellence is a journey in positive development beyond one's self. It manifests in self-defined and self-valued achievements that reflect one's best efforts. The emotional intelligence (El) centric theory of personal excellence connects the process of building quality from within the individual with the lived experience each individual has in their life (Nelson, Low, & Hammett, 2007).