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Club leadership - is it worth it?

In January I asked - Which is the best club? This month I look at club leadership and ask - Is it worth it?

The reason I think this is important is simply depicted here:

Student Association

 

This is taken from a survey we conducted this month with outgoing club leaders.

Even for those ‘just’ spending 1-5 hours a week, that averages out as over 150 hours for their year as a club leader. Every hour spent on club leadership is an hour not spent on academics, recruiting, or socialising with friends and family.

So, is it worth it?

Below are some insights from the same survey to help you think about it yourselves. These are the questions I asked:
- Was this a good opportunity to practise relevant skills?
- Did you achieve your objectives?
- Did you manage to improve your club, or even the School?
- Would you recommend this position to another student?

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First we look at whether club leaders felt they were able to put skills into practice. To do this we look at the five key skills that students develop through ‘Leadership Launch’:

-          Know and develop yourself
-          Solve tough problems creatively
-          Communicate powerfully
-          Deliver through others
-          Manage and implement change

Student Association

Most club leaders feel that they are practising relevant skills.


Here is a different way of seeing these responses and separating out ‘Professional Interest Clubs’ and ‘Sports and Social Clubs’ (I’ve excluded ‘Regional Clubs’ as they had fewer responses).

Type of club

Number of skills practised (out of 5*)

Professional Interest Clubs

4.4

Sports and Social

3.5

All clubs (47 responses)

4.1

*Based on number of 'Yes' responses to each of the 5 Leadership Launch skills

 

Student Association

 

These results for skills development look encouraging. The club leaders feel they are practising a range of relevant skills, especially ‘Deliver through others’.

There were also some great examples given by the leaders on how they practised these skills e.g.

-          … one key challenge was how to deliver through others and encourage the new officers to be motivated to execute

-          Delegation and building and executing a vision

-          We set up a new committee of 15 people split into the areas of: events, conference, outreach and learning. We really step changed the club’s activity through these groups and we're very satisfied with our progress

-          Since most [of our] activities are organised in collaboration with others, this requires special negotiation skills

-          When I first joined the club, there were a number of different personalities involved, which required delicate communication to ensure things got done. Once I took on leadership - we implemented a culture of transparency and open communication which changed the workings of the club entirely.

-          You have to understand how to influence others and motivate them without monetary incentives - which can be very tricky and a challenge itself!

 

Next up, did they feel they achieved their objectives?

Student Association

 

This looks good but I suspect that ‘mostly’ dominates due to quite vague objectives e.g.

help students learn about [sector]’
 

Student Association 

My main take-away from this is that the most important determinant of success is their team of peers that help run the club.

The highest negative scores being for ‘Predecessors’ and ‘Handover’ is a concern. Many clubs go through a year of making improvements that are then negated through poor handover.

 


Next up, did they feel like they made a difference?

Student Association

Improving clubs- I have started collecting data from CampusGroups and other sources this year so the next club leaders will be able to directly compare their club’s performance to the previous year’s (and other clubs).

Improving the School- Over the summer I might look at whether there is any quantitative data to back this up! In the meantime please email me any evidence to jconradi@london.edu

 

 

So… is it worth it?

Here’s what the club leaders said when asked whether they would recommend their positions to another student:

Student Association

Which is an encouraging conclusion!

 

And finally…

Which clubs and club leaders were considered the best by other club leaders?

With approximately 15% of the vote each, the following clubs were tied:

-          Energy Club

-          Responsible Business Club

-          Student Association

(note that we also included other student-led organisations under ‘club’)

The club leader with the most votes was Ben Galloway (MBA2013) – co-president of the Industry Club and also part of the Student Association Executive Committee. Congratulations!

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions please post in the comments or email me on jconradi@london.edu

Jon
Student Activities Manager, Career Services