Greek Speak: Step Up and Be a Leader
Holiday break? Officially over. Reality set it hard and fast for me last week when I had to return early to West Lafayette aka no-mans-land when classes aren’t in session for a leadership conference. Again, and admittingly with the most dramatic frame of mind as possible, I thought my life was over. But, I came out of this particular leadership opportunity feeling very motivated- yeah, yeah corny… give me a break. I learned techniques from other chapter presidents and also reflected on the techniques I most often use as a leader, too!
1. Accountability: Call ‘em out. Did a sister mess up? Let her know. I’m not saying bite her head off, but we are all adults here. And, let’s face it, sometimes as ridiculous as it may seem the women in our chapters are oblivious to their mistakes and the potential repercussions those mistakes have on the entire chapter. Suck it up and deal with the seemingly awkward confrontation – it’s worth it.
2. Every leader has two ears and one mouth: So listen, then speak (and always in that order). Acquiring input from your members is an easy way to assess the chapter’s morale. BUT as a president or any leader you have to draw the line somewhere. You will receive continuous feedback and criticism (which can be good) but after making a decision, stick to your guns…
… which has taught me…
3. Consistency is key: Unlike a hot fashion trend, rules cannot come and go, nor can they change with the season. When leaders and exec boards are consistent, women in the chapter learn the norms and, with time, get used to it. Is it always easy? No. Does this take time? Of course.
4. Delegate: You aren’t superwoman, and attempting to do every minute task puts yourself under way more stress and pressure than you can afford – especially when it’s The Bachelor season and you need to dedicate some time to putting together your bracket. Use your executive and other leadership teams to their full potential – chances are they really do want to help.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff: You will never (and believe me, I’ve tried) be able to control every move your chapter members make or prevent them from taking less than perfect actions that could get your chapter in trouble. Educating your members on why what they are doing could be detrimental to the chapter is my only advice. It can be eye opening.
One of the most influential leaders at my university told me this weekend that being a fraternity or sorority president is by far one the most trying leadership positions to hold as a college student – and if you hold that position or have held it previously then you are nodding your head right now. The sleepless nights, the networking opportunities, the anxiety, the drama, the fun, and the gut-wrenching decisions are all a package deal.
What are your secret leadership techniques? What is the greatest challenge you face as a sorority leader?
[Got a question for our sorority girl? Email her at submissions [at] collegecandy [dot] com. In the meantime, get the DL on Greek Life from the women who are living it right here.]