The Eagle Scholars Program is a two-year Leadership and Professional Development Program at Liberty University. According to their mission statement:
"The Eagle Scholars Program provides high achieving students the training necessary for personal and professional development to become leaders throughout college and beyond. This program fosters a sense of community, improves academic knowledge, and provides leadership and professional experience."
Having graduated last week from this program, I can personally testify that the Eagle Scholars Program definitely lives up to this statement. Here are a few ways the Eagle Scholars Program has been a major influence in my life:
1. Leaders are good hosts.
Most of us have seen the "leader vs. boss" pictures on Facebook. Well, one thing that differentiates a good leader is that he puts others first. A good leader will be a host to others by caring for them and having fellowship with others.
2. Leaders know networking is indispensable.
After my first two years of college experience, I can testify to the importance of networking. Making meaningful and intentional connections with other people can prove to be a defining ability for a leader. Networking is not to connect with people in case you need them someday; networking is connecting with people to operate more effectively and be of mutual help.
3. Leaders embrace and share vision.
A leader without vision is useless. First, a leader must adopt vision and make the decision to strive for it. Only then is a leader able to share their goals with others in a way that they may also adopt it. As a result, when the whole team shares in the same vision, the team will be successful and effective.
4. Leaders should aim to be replaced.
By this I don't mean that leaders look to get fired, obviously. What this means is that leaders will raise someone to continue their work after they are gone. Most people are too selfish or proud to want to think of being replaced, but it is actually very important. When the leader is able to pass on the baton to someone he has trained, then the vision can continue to grow and the legacy of what we did as leaders can live on.
5. Leaders need support.
Whether we like it or not, as a leader it is important to admit we can't do everything; we are not Superman. A leader needs a right hand helper that he can trust, a person the leader can talk to. More importantly, a leader needs a close friend for support.
6. Leaders aim high.
Leaders are not afraid to accept the challenge of going big. Aiming toward improvement and higher goals brings out not only a leader's true potential but also that of the team. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and do things you never thought you could do.
Altogether, a leader is someone who cares and is willing to go the extra mile. My time in the Eagle Scholars Program enabled me to put these and other principles into practice. There are many other practical lessons to be learned, but these are a good start and I'm thankful to Eagle Scholars for helping me get here.