Developing student’s leadership skills and preparing future leaders for the professional world are two of the main goals of higher education institutions; many of them are committing considerable time and resources to student leadership development programs and initiatives.
Higher education has focused on leadership development since the beginning of colleges and universities; they helped in preparing many of the nations’ first political, social, and professional leaders (Astin & Astin, 2000). Colleges and universities have established a commitment to educate students to be responsible people (Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, 2006; Roberts, 2003a; Thelin, 2003). Leadership behavior has been established to have a positive effect on developing students character (Astin & Antonio, 2004) and values (Cress, Astin, Burkhardt, & Zimmerman-Oster, 2001).
Higher education institutions have established leadership development programs, in addition to service and volunteer initiatives as a method to address a scarcity of interest in civil activities and to involve students in the institution (Astin & Antonio, 2004).
Leadership training programs are increasingly becoming widespread at modern higher education institutions. Contributing in leadership training programs help students learn to think critically way and communicate efficiently. These skills can support students in their personal and professional lives (King, 2003).
Students can serve as a leader in a diversity of frameworks which allows them to interact with others and to improve new skills.
Leadership involves a multilateral process that requires working with others in personal and professional relationships to achieve a goal or to enhance a positive change. Even though leadership competencies and behaviors can be improved in several different ways, there has been an emerging agreement that leadership is transferred from one situation to another where one person emerges as leader from a group.
Involvement in organizational leadership experiences provides members the opportunity to interact with their peers in formal and non-formal leadership training, and those organizational leadership experiences are different from leadership programs and can provide a distinct advantage for leadership development. Locke (2001) stated that many civil leadership programs encourage the participants to involve with the community and use what they have learned to work on or discuss solutions to problems facing the community.
Many college students obtain leadership experience through opportunities beyond the formal college classroom. Researchers have investigated how the experience of being involved with both learning communities and agricultural youth organizations influence academic performance, retention and degree completion (Bardou, Byrne, Paternak, & Perez (2003).
Leadership behavior analysis proposes that the more students are implicated in student organizations the more probable they are to enlarge strong leadership skills and behaviors. Such experience is precious in helping students expand a skill set they can use in the real world. Employers want and value competence in communication, adaptability, problem-identification and problem-solving, self-management, teamwork, and leadership skills (Schieman, 2006). This student organizational experience plays an important role in developing leadership within its membership (Lloyd, 1996). Developing competencies in knowledge creation, community and practical application, promoting a sharing of ideas, skills and those talents are reflective individualized and group leadership development and (Locke, 2001). Previous research indicates the desire for leadership development is strong, especially among students as well as the researchers of leadership theory (Day, 2001).