There are many different views of leadership around on any given college campus. So I decided to speak with a Residential Assistant (R.A.) for a college dorm about her thoughts about leadership today.

ME: “What is the most important part of leadership?”

R.A.: “Connection!”

ME: “How do YOU connect with the students under ‘your care’?”

R.A.: “I like playing ‘get-to-know-ya’ speed dating with the students in my dorm. They like it cause it’s fun and I get to connect with them in a memorable way.”

I lean towards her take that connection is the most important part. I’ll use the analogy of a car and trip to take the understanding further.

Here are 4 ways to help envision leadership:

Connected
Just like car parts, people who are leading or being led need to be connected with each other. Using an exercise like the one the R.A. spoke about can help with being able to connect.

Working
Car parts need to be able to work when they are put together or else the car, even though it looks finished, will not move. As a leader you have to make sure that the people on your team are “working”. Whatever skills or actions you need them to accomplish you have to make sure that they can actually do it…and well.

For a leader that means that you have to understand what “being well” is for the group you are leading, and how to “fix” whatever isn’t up to par.

Gassed Up
After a car is connected and working, the next step is to get the gasoline that will help the car to move. When leading others you have to make sure that you know their motivation and how to motivate them in all situations. In NY we used to say that people who are feeling really confident about anything are “Gassed Up”….that’s what you as a leader have to do to get your team going forward – gas ’em up!

Maintained
With anything that is around for any length of time, you have to make sure that you are keeping it maintained. Going on any journey towards someplace that you have never been too, team’s often bump into burnout and lack of focus. It’s the leaders job to know how to re-focus their team. Using time away from the grind of pushing forward, like a night out watching movies or just hanging out can be great ways of maintaining the sanity of the team.

You probably noticed that I didn’t mention a direction or map. I can’t make that up for you! Your team’s direction is up to you. Where do you want to go?

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