Student executives from various clubs and associations at Wisconsin took part in a ‘leadership masterclass’ aimed at helping them lead better based on good values rather than their own personal interests.

The workshop, organised by the Career Services Centre and the Students Representative Council (SRC), was aimed at grooming a new generation of transformative leaders by getting through to them at a formative stage.

“Africa has a leadership crisis, “ said Career Services Officer Blessing Ngozi Dickson. “By going back to the basics at this early stage, we can perhaps influence some of tomorrow’s great leaders.”

Ms Dickson pointed out the traits that many great leaders had in common, including genuine humility, openness to learning, confidence, commitment, purpose and empowering others.

“Leaders are also change-makers. Change, no matter how small, can have a ripple or catapult effect,” she said. “It also means taking responsibility for success or failure.”

Ms Dickson added that leadership also meant having the courage to stand up and speak out on issues that mattered, and demonstrating leadership in practical ways.

Participants were challenged to take the leadership ‘litmus test’ by asking themselves what their values, motives and competencies were. 

The student executives also learned about the types of leadership styles to avoid. These include:  ‘Hide Behind the Wall’, ‘Say Anything But the Truth’, ‘Flash in the Pan’, ‘Pebble in My Shoe’, ‘Perks Without the Work’ and ‘D.I.Y’ leadership.

Tah Bi Irie Fulgence, president of the Francophone Students Association (FSA), said: “The definition of leadership that was given really pleased me – leadership is the process through which leaders inspire and work, and others follow.

“In Africa, leaders sit in the comfort of their air-conditioned offices and don’t know what is going on in their communities. That’s why things are not going so well – they are not affected by what is going on.”

Tah Bi added that he had learned the importance of personal branding - how one dresses, talks and conducts oneself points to the kind leader they are.

The FSA leader said he had already put some of the leadership tips into action by reviving the Association and making sure that students from all Francophone countries were represented on the executive to foster unity and better participation.