Developing Leadership Capacity for College & University Groups

“60% of US companies are facing leadership talent shortages that are impeding their performance. Another 31% expect a lack of leadership talent to impede their performance in the next several years,” says leadership experts Sue Ashford and Steve DeRue. Furthermore, they assert, “We need to stop teaching leadership theory and start teaching people how to learn leadership from real experiences.”

Leadership is a concept talked about frequently at the college and university level. Too often, those discussions end with leadership theory and conversations about their application; falling short in actual hands-on opportunities that empower students to explore and develop their leadership potential. Leadership skills can be learned and developed; similarly, to how an athlete develops sport-specific skills or how an educator develops classroom management skills. Learning to lead comes from opportunities to explore, practice, and reflect upon leadership! By seizing “leadership opportunities”, students develop a database of experiences central to their development, both on campus and professionally, into leaders.

“The education and development of students as leaders has long served as a central purpose for institutions of higher education as evidence in mission statements and the increased presence of both curricular and co-curricular leadership development programs” according to John P. Dugan and Susan R. Komives in their 2007 study, Developing leadership capacity in college students: Findings from a national study.

Dugan and Komives offer the following Ten Recommendations to Enrich Campus Leadership Programs:

  1. Discuss socio-cultural issues everyone
  2. Get students involved in at least one organization
  3. Get students to at least one leadership program
  4. Diffuse leadership program across the institution
  5. Focus on members, not just positional leaders
  6. Discourage too much breadth in involvement
  7. Develop mentoring relationships
  8. Design distinct programs for specific groups
  9. Align students’ self-perceptions of leadership competence and confidence
  10. Build bridges with K-12 educators.

Empower Leadership has a proven record for delivering experiential adventure services to develop leaders. Since 2009, our team has facilitated adventure experiences for thousands of people across hundreds of different colleges and universities, public and private schools, corporations, and municipalities.

Our programs are designed to provide experiential “Learn to Lead” opportunities to groups by providing the tools to:

  1. Strengthen self and group leadership skills
  2. Develop higher levels of self-confidence
  3. Think critically, problem solve, and persevere through challenge!

Empower Leadership features customized experiences for Student Leadership Organizations, Residence Life Staff Teams, Orientation Leaders, Living Learning Communities, and more!

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