20 Tips for Advisors to Increase Organizational Productivity:
- Know what the students expect of you as an advisor.
- Let the group and individual members know what you expect of them.
- Express a sincere interest in the group and its mission. Stress the importance of each individual’s contribution to the whole.
- Assist the group in setting realistic, attainable goals. Ensure beginning success as much as possible, but allow the responsibility and implementation of events to lie primarily with the organization.
- Have the goals or objectives of the group firmly in mind. Know the purposes of the group and know what things will need to be accomplished to meet the goals.
- Assist the group in achieving its goals. Understand why people become involved. Learn strengths and emphasize them. Help the group learn through involvement by providing opportunities.
- Know and understand the students with whom you are working. Different groups require different approaches.
- Assist the group in determining the needs of the people the group is serving.
- Express a sincere interest in each member. Encourage everyone to be responsible.
- Assist the members in understanding the group’s dynamics and human interaction. Recognize that at times the process is more important than the content.
- Realize the importance of the peer group and its effect on each member’s participation or lack thereof communicate that each individual’s efforts are needed and appreciated.
- Assist the group in developing a system by which they can evaluate their progress. Balance task orientation with social needs of members.
- Use a reward system and recognition system for work well done.
- Develop a style that balances active and passive group membership.
- Be aware of the various roles that you will have: clarifier, consultant, counselor, educator, facilitator, friend, information source, mentor, and role model.
- Do not allow yourself to be placed in the position of chairperson.
- Be aware of institutional power structure—both formal and informal. Discuss institutional developments and policies with members.
- Provide continuity for the group from semester to semester (not mandatory but encouraged).
- Challenge the group to grow and develop. Encourage independent thinking and decision-making.
- Be creative and innovative. Keep a sense of humor!
(Adapted from M.J. Michael) Office of Student Leadership Development Programs at East Carolina University