Rationality and Compromises

When you’re a leader, you may be approached by and put in situations that you didn’t prepare yourself for.

When facing these situations, it’s easy to panic or get upset about it, but that won’t solve any of your problems. The best thing you can do in any situation is to think rationally and make compromises.

So someone comes to you and blames you and your club for something you didn’t know about. What do you do? You may have the urge to get angry and annoyed, blame someone else, and storm out of the room. RESIST.

The following steps are some suggestions for handling surprises:

Take responsibility for what may have been the fault of your club, even if you are not personally responsible for it.

Apologize for the confusion/disorganization/mistake/etc.

Rationally think about what options you have to fix the problem. Think about what is best for EVERYONE involved, not just for your side.

Discuss options with the opposing side of the conflict. What are they looking for in a resolution? What kind of compromise is okay with them?

Decide on a compromise and follow through.

Apologize again.

Make a note to yourself and your officers of what happened and why so that it can be avoided in the future.


Aack! What do I do?

¨ The Question: When asked a question you’re not prepared to answer, it can be awkward. Be honest about what you know and offer to get back to the person who asked.  You’re knowledgeable so, utilize your resources and refer them. Take responsibility and ensure you’re sending them to the right place.

¨ Feeling Pressured: If you’re asked to do something you may feel pressured, especially if asked by an administrator or in front of someone.             Say you’ll get back to them. Later you can talk It over one-on-one, get more information, and agree to do it or gracefully decline.

¨ Programming Saves: Another on the spot moment is when there’s a delay in an event, last-minute change or cancellation. Filling a few minutes may seem feasible. But what happens if the presenter/performer cancels or the equipment’s absent or not working and you need to cover the whole event? It can be a challenging and daunting task. Depending on the topic or activity, there may be a way to save the day:

¨ Use what you have

¨ Utilize resources

¨ Unearth hidden talent

¨ Always have a backup plan

From PaperClip Communications, Inc.

Advertising: go big or go home

So you have this event coming up for your club, and you’re totally engrossed in picking a host, sending in all of the paperwork, contacting all the right people for permission, buying decorations, and the list goes on and on. It’s so easy to get caught up in the brunt of the work to forget what may be the pass or fail of your event: ADVERTISING.

If you don’t assign someone to be in charge of advertisements and “getting the word out” about your club, it won’t happen. Though you may get lucky and have an advertising-conscious member of your board, there is a pretty large chance that if you forget about it – everyone else will too.

Advertising for an event takes time and planning. Make posters, get approval, hang posters, send emails, and etc. If you don’t advertise for your event, no one will know about it. If no one knows about it the only people at your event will be those of you who planned it. A failed event may mean a monetary loss – which is most likely the opposite of the event’s original purpose.

And the best way to advertise, is EARLY. The longer you advertise, the more opportunities people have to find out about your event.

With successful advertising, you get numbers. Event population is important and not to be forgotten.

Carving Out Your Character


This leadership position you’ve taken on requires strength of will, strength of convictions and, most importantly, strength of character. Your values help define you as a leader and as a person. And your character is who you are and how you act, even when no one is looking. So what’ll it be? What is the essence of your character now and what would you like it to be? As you carve out your character, as a person and as a student leader, consider the following:


¨ Good Intentions Alone Don’t Cut It: You may have the best of intentions yet, if your multiple promises go unfulfilled, that’s what will be remembered. Don’t promise so much that you’re unable to follow through on your good intentions.

¨ You Need to Act: Wishful thinking and good intentions alone aren’t enough. Put them into action. That’s what exhibits your true character.

¨ Let Your Values Be Your Guide: If something feels wrong, it probably is—at least for you. Your values have been your guiding force for many years, so don’t abandon them now!

¨ It’s the Big AND the Little Things: How you act under pressure during major decision periods speaks to your character. So, too, does how you act on an everyday basis. Your character impacts the person you choose to be, when others are around and when no one else is watching.


From PaperClip Communications, Inc.


Positive Role Modeling

As the officer of an organization you are seen not only a s a leader but as a role model. Students will be looking to you for cues regarding what is acceptable behavior. They’ll be watching your actions and how you interact with others. So, here are some things to consider as you put your best foot forward:

Attitude. Are you approachable? Do you have a positive attitude toward your school, organization, and position?

Body Language. Do your postures and gestures match what your words are trying to convey? Is your body language open (relaxed posture, eye contact) or closed off (hunched shoulders, folded arms)?

Sense of Humor. Are your messages delivered in a proper tone, and with appropriate, not derogatory humor? Do any jokes poke fun at an ethnicity, group, or gender?

Confident Decision-Making. Do you make decisions with ease? What is your process? Do you come across as confident or do you tend to second-guess yourself?

Questionable Behaviors. When you engage in questionable behavior, you not only impact your own reputation but that of your organization in general. Before you do something, do you think about the consequences?

Loyalty. Do you ever sell out your advisor or a fellow Executive Board member in order to make yourself look good? Sometimes this can be subtle (“John was busy so I pretty much planned the whole program myself”) yet it can still come across as disloyal and self-serving.

Respect. Do you make it a practice to treat others respectfully? Having respect for someone does not mean you have to agree with him or her on every issue, but it does mean being open to an opposing opinion or belief.

Communication Style. Do you go directly to the source when you have a problem or do you talk around it, with people who shouldn’t necessarily be involved? Is talking about people a form of small talk that you engage in?

Remember, you represent your organization 24/7. How do YOUR actions portray your organization?


SMART Goal Setting

Early in the semester, an organization comes together to set goals for their team. They ask themselves, what do we wish to accomplish by the end of the year, and what is a plausible goal for our team? When setting goals, remember to keep it SMART!

Simple & Specific. Remember to keep your goals as simple and clear as possible so everyone will understand and keep them in mind while working toward them.

Measurable. Make your goal measurable. Track the time it took from when you started until when you accomplished the goal. An example is: “We started with $100 and at the end of 3 months, we reached $1,000.” Don’t be afraid to use numbers to measure your success.

Attainable & Accountable. The goal is achievable; it is not an impossible task. Assign tasks to people and hold them accountable both when things go wrong and when things go right.

Realistic & Relevant. The goal falls into the description of our mission statement. It is an important task that we must accomplish and we have the resources to do it.

Timely & Time Bound. Now is the time to set this goal and reach it. We have the time to do it and we’ve set a realistic time frame to achieve our goal. Time management is important!



Effective leaders have natural abilities to create and oversee effective groups. However, good leaders also know when it is time to stop leading and start following. As a student organization leader, this is a distinction to begin understanding — a skill you need to cultivate. A true leader knows that is it is important for others to share in leadership roles in order to build up new leaders for upcoming years. Therefore, they don’t try to misuse or overextend their authority, their talents or positions. Learn to distinguish when your leadership is required and when it is not.


  • Set an example, if you are on time and prepared for meetings, others will follow your lead
  • Get control of the situation: if you see members being noisy and disrespectful during meetings, take strong leadership action and get things back on track
  • Encourage others to shine: Don’t hog the limelight


  • Small group discussion: YOU should not be the main attraction
  • Conflict resolution: Show organization members how to resolve their own conflicts rather than doing it for them
  • Greater understanding: Your role involves facilitating connections between people and increasing their awareness