Written by: Dillon Alexander
Students organizations that effectively withstand time and turnover are few and far between. How do those few and far between manage to maintain their value?
I am the Student Leadership and Programming Coordinator in the Eller College of Management. I oversee 38 clubs and organizations with over 2,000 total members in the Federation of Eller Student Organizations. We have large organizations of 200+ members and other groups that consist of 15-20 core members. Despite this difference in size, all of our award-winning, consistent organizations have similar facets in terms of their organizational structure. Their energy, leadership teams, long-term vision, and care for one another powers their organizations each and every year and leads to strong performance. This is judged by job placement for seniors, club awards, recognition in the Eller Community, as well as the growth of their club and brand over the years.
I am a part of one of these groups I have described; the Sports Marketing Association. With over 150 members and thousands of alumni over our 23-year history, we put a large emphasis on member relations- are we serving our current members, our strong alumni base, and recruiting the future the best that we can?
Just this week, Eric Bresler, a former graduate that was closely associated with Arizona Athletics, came back to speak to SMA. Eric came on his own dime. The amount of individuals who go out of their way to do this is slim to none. His reasoning for coming back was simple; so many people have helped me along the way that I refuse to not honor the responsibility to give back in the same way. In SMA, we are trying to create this sense of belonging now, so our members have the same desire to contribute as much as they can to our culture now, and then continue once they graduate!
Eric is now the Executive Director of the Chase Center, the Golden State Warriors brand new state-of-the-art arena in San Francisco. He also has a shiny, new, gold Warriors championship ring on his finger.
If you are in a leadership position in any organization, can you answer the following questions with confidence? How are you serving your organization’s leadership team and members? What are you doing to make them feel cared for? How are you providing value both personally and professionally? Does everyone have each other’s backs, no matter the adversity that is faced? Will they give back once they have departed?
These questions are being asked every day by the leaders of our best organizations; it is a must for robust momentum to continue!
If it is difficult to answer these questions, try one or a few of the following to better understand your organization culture and values:
- Survey your organization and ask specific questions about their attitude about the culture and if they feel they are cared for
- Exercise empathy with your team; actively affirm their work and encourage them to improve and provide opportunity for them to do so
- Meet individually with you team and have them talk about where they feel they are excelling and failing; step into this conversation with the mindset of “how can I raise this person up?”
- Encourage creativity and flexible projects
- Do not forget to tell people you care about them! You are a family!
This attitude of giving back and tending to your roots is an often overlooked byproduct of the work we do here in the Eller College. Real leaders lead by humbling yourself before others and serving others by understanding what they need.
This university is producing champions that push forward relentlessly with courage and continue to look back constantly to pull others along; sometimes even with a championship ring on their hand.