Leadership Skills for the Young and Ambitious

If you're reading this, you probably have dreams bigger than your backpack and ambitions that won't fit into a 280-character tweet. You want to lead, inspire, and maybe one day even have a corner office with an epic view. So, let’s talk about how to turn those dreams into your daily reality.

Why Student Council?

Let’s start at the beginning—your school’s student council. It’s not just a resume booster; it’s your training ground for the real world. According to a 2018 report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, involvement in activities like student government is a significant factor in college admissions decisions. Leadership experiences in student council can teach you essential skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, which are all highly transferable to your future career.

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Case Study: Sundar Pichai

Take Sundar Pichai, for example. Before becoming the CEO of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, Pichai was the captain of his high school cricket team in India. Leadership on the field gave him valuable lessons on teamwork and strategy, paving the way for his future roles.

Practical Steps to Student Council Success

1. Start Small

Don’t be overwhelmed by the big titles. If you’re new to student leadership, consider starting with a less daunting role like Class Representative or Treasurer. This allows you to understand the dynamics of student government without the pressure of running the entire show. While in these roles, pay attention to the responsibilities of the higher offices. Take notes on what works and what doesn’t, and think about how you would handle different situations. This is also a great time to establish relationships with teachers and staff who can offer valuable insights into leadership and governance.

2. Build a Strong Team

If you decide to go for a more significant role like President or Vice-President, remember that a leader is only as good as the team behind them. Work on cultivating a team environment that encourages open communication and values diversity of thought. A leader’s strength is often shown through their ability to delegate tasks that play to each team member’s strengths. Conduct regular team meetings to assess progress and change course if necessary. Team-building exercises can also help you understand the dynamics of your team and how best to motivate them.

3. Set Achievable Goals

Goals are the compass of leadership. Once you’ve settled into your role, get your team together and develop a list of objectives you want to achieve during your term. Make sure these are SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. For instance, instead of saying, “We want a cleaner school,” try “We aim to reduce litter in the school corridors by 50% before the end of the semester.” Measuring your achievements becomes easier this way, and it’s a good practice for the project-oriented world of business.

4. Listen and Adapt

Great leaders listen more than they speak. Open forums, suggestion boxes, and direct communication channels with the student body are crucial. The primary role of a student council is to represent the students, and you can’t do that if you don’t know what they need. Use the feedback to adapt your strategies and goals. Learning how to pivot based on feedback is a skill you’ll use throughout your career. It can be the difference between a project that sinks and one that soars.

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From Student Council to C-Suite: Implementing These Skills in High-Flying Jobs


Your ability to forge relationships in the student council is foundational for professional networking later on. The art of cultivating genuine relationships comes into play whether you are negotiating business deals or leading corporate teams.


Decision-making is crucial in both student council settings and in the corporate world. In both scenarios, you’re often faced with limited resources—be it time, money, or manpower—and you need to allocate these wisely.

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Your Roadmap to Success

Identify Leadership Opportunities: Seek out chances to lead, whether it’s in class projects or extracurricular activities.

Find a Mentor: Having a guide can be invaluable. It can be a teacher, a family friend, or even an online mentor.

Never Stop Learning: Whether it’s taking online courses or attending workshops, always be willing to expand your skill set.

Apply for Internships: Put your skills to the test in the real world. Even a summer job can be a platform for leadership.

Build Your Personal Brand: Create a LinkedIn profile, build a portfolio, and start defining who you are as a professional.

Remember, every journey starts with a single step. Whether you’re running for student council or drafting your first business plan, you’re laying the foundation for a future full of potential. So go on, and make those dreams a reality.

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