I have interacted with quite a number of young student leaders who are finding it difficult to lead, some of them suffer burnout due to the attitudes their followers pose to them. Unfortunately, some have given up and thankfully, some are reading this article to learn how to be distinctive in leading their peers.

You must understand that there are certain core characteristics that majority of leaders possess. However, there are also an additional set of characteristics that define transformational leaders — leaders that have the ability to make an impact wherever they are.

Examples of these core leadership characteristics include:

  • Good judgment
  • Communication skills
  • Competence or knowledge
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Confidence

We hear about these leadership characteristics all the time and in many different contexts. While they are very important for leaders to have, there is another level of leadership characteristics that are “must haves” for transformational leaders. These are the leadership characteristics that make an impact and spur growth.

  1. Being Proactive: Being Proactive implies that you are apt with your decisions; don’t always wait around for others to make decisions. Take risks, try new approaches. Be observant, correct errors as soon as you notice them. Call your fellow student leaders to order when they get unruly.
  2. The ability to make difficult decisions: Always remember that transformational leaders do not back away or put off tough decisions. Difficult decisions are made easier when decisions align with clearly defined vision, values, goals, and objectives. When next you find yourself basking in the dilemma of a conundrum, be apt with your decisions as it must be in the best interest of your peers.
  3. Willing to listen and entertain new ideas: Transformational leaders understand that no man is an island of himself hence success is a collective effort of a team, growth is also based on the openness of leaders to listen to ideas from their team, if you don’t give your fellow student leaders the privilege of contributing, you are on the verge of failing.
  4. Willing to take the right risks: Transformational leaders take calculated risks that more often than not result in positive outcomes, don’t forget that anyone can take a risk so you have to trust your instinct, as well as your team to take their time to research, evaluate and inform your decisions.

 If you practice this well and often, you are gradually towing the path of being distinct as a student leader.