Soft Skills Series: Building Leadership Skills

For many of us, the month of December is about helping others and giving. Our team has decided to get into the spirit of the season by featuring a blog that relates to this theme every Monday this month. What does that mean exactly? We have been inspired by the forward-thinking bulbs that many of our university partners are creating in order to help their university learners (as well as instructors and admins in some cases) succeed in the world through the development of much needed soft skills. Sometimes that is as simple as teaching first-year university attendees how to live away from home, and sometimes it's more about learning empathy for people who look and behave differently from us.

The Question
How can we set young people up for success when they are put in leadership positions within a student organization? What about the future?

Photo by Miguel Henriques

The Solution
The young adults who are joining student leadership groups within their schools and universities are likely to be the civil, industry, and institutional leaders of our future. They are driven and interested in having an impact on their community. However, wanting to have an impact and having the skills to do so are not one and the same. Johns Hopkins University has decided to approach leadership skill development for young people through the use of PlayPosit's interactive videos (aka bulbs). The university has reached 1,200 students and counting with interactive videos that cover skills such as public speaking, debate, and more.

Students who feel empowered and capable of presenting and defending their ideas are likely to be more driven and to have a longer-term impact on the success of their community. However, the benefits do not stop there. Research by Murphy and Johnson shows that leadership skills learned earlier in life can have a longterm impact on an individual's ability to grow as a leader in their professional environment. They found that individuals who are given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills earlier in life are likely to be better and more successful leaders.

Have you thought about how a more dynamic leadership learning environment could help students in your institution succeed? Let's connect.

  1. Murphy, Susan & Johnson, Stefanie. (2011). The benefits of a long-lens approach to leader development: Understanding the seeds of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly. 22. 459-470. 10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.04.004.