One of my students recently wrote in her weekly internship journal that she had been learning how to speak to clients on the phone. It occurred to me that what to say and how to say it as a professional on the job is not a skill we usually teach in a classroom.
Much of the discussion at PRSSA’s conference I’m attending in Philadelphia this weekend is focused on developing student leaders through campus PRSSA chapters, which in turn will help them become managers and leaders in the real world.
Professional verbal and leadership skills are not always found in a syllabus or learned through a lecture. But whenever I’ve assigned a group project, a leader inevitably emerges when a student in each group steps up and takes charge. However, despite these students’ instinct to lead, she or he can sometimes lack the life skills to motivate the other group members, or may be unable to solve work distribution problems that can crop up.
Organizational leadership is taught as part of some college curricula, but not all. Such skills are also taught to students in student affairs roles such as a resident assistant or an officer in the student government. But not every college student gets such training, and some of the training they get doesn’t always prepare them for an office environment. Any management or leadership experience I had happened on the job as my level of responsibility increased. This is ultimately the case with most people, whether they’re high school graduates or have advanced degrees.
Business training guru Jim Rohn said, “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” I also like this quote from President John F. Kennedy: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Easy to agree with, but what might teachers be doing to prep future public relations leaders which we may not already be doing? Your thoughts?