Exploring Challenges and Factors of Undergradute Student Leadership
Undergraduate students are highly valued by the nation because they are able to contribute to the development of the country, both economically and socially. It is important for the higher education institutes to produce competitive students for the global markets by furnishing them with awareness about leadership skills. This study explores the leadership skills among the student leaders in the higher learning institutions of Malaysia. This study also explores the factors that influence the students to become a leader and the challenges faced by the student leaders. This is a qualitative study. Data was collected via interview approach. Purposive sampling and snowball sampling were used to select 14 undergraduate student leaders from universities in Selangor, Malaysia. Findings indicated that the most stated leadership skills of a student leader are (1) self-enhancement, (2) presentation and confidence, (3) decision – making and problem solving, (4) responsibility and commitment, (5) time management, (6) communication and collaboration and (7) inspiring and motivating others. Most of the student leaders agreed that self-satisfaction, as well as support and encouragement are two main factors that influenced the student to become a leader; whereas time constraints, management support and group members have been the main challenges faced by student leaders. This paper clearly shows that respondents gained their leadership skills via participation in organizations and being active outside classroom which then enhances student leadership skills through experience.