Communication is Key: Five Tips for Aspiring Leaders

Posted by: Justin Pyles - January 23, 2017

Caden Duve (Northern Colorado University, 2017) went all in when it came to taking leadership roles in the Fraternity.


“I saw the potential that Theta Omicron possessed and thought I could be an asset to my chapter in playing a larger role,” Duve said. “The amount of pride our members have in the chapter is rewarding enough for all the hard work that has been put in over the last three years. Being the leader of this chapter has been one of the biggest honors I have ever had, and the continued success of the chapter has kept me going through both good and bad times.”

As president of Theta Omicron Chapter Duve learned that good communication is the single most import quality of a good leader. He found through observation, as well as experience that a good leader can’t rule anyone’s opinions out. “It is crucial to be able to communicate with ALL members no matter how different you might be,” Duve said.

Even with effective communication moving a chapter in the right direction isn't always easy. Duve faced resistance on a multitude of issues in his time as president. “Sticking to your guns and explaining the reason for your actions is what sets good leaders apart from great leaders.”

Duve attributes much of his success and readiness to support from his advisor Dr. Ryan Mayeda (University of Northern Colorado, 1999). “If I had to pick out the number one reason my chapter has been able to excel, there is no doubt in my mind that he would sit atop the list,” Duve said.

Support from his brothers also factors into his success as well as attending Fraternity leadership experiences including division conference, the President and Advisors Retreat (PAR) and Karnea.

His time at PAR let him evaluate himself and mature as a leader. “It was a much-needed reminder that while there is plenty of fun to be had as a Delt, but as a leader, I am expected to do a job and do it well.”

Duve is proud of leaving the chapter where it is today, but believes the chapter can continue to grow.

“I hope that my presidency leaves a legacy at Theta Omicron which conveys the idea that there is always more work to be done,” Duve said. “When goals are attained we have every right to celebrate and be proud of our progress, but the fact of the matter is that after that time for celebration has passed, there is more work to be done.”

Duve’s Five Tips for Undergraduate Leaders

  1. Go ALL IN. By this, I mean Delta Tau Delta is an organization that allows you to get out exactly what you put in. I have seen plenty of members who simply join and take the backseat but I know first-hand the more you buy into this organization, the better off you will be not just as a Delt, but as a man in general.
  2. Buy and use a planner. Having a detailed layout of your week and month is crucial in planning around things like school, work, the Fraternity and what other things you may have going on in your life. I truly do not know how I would be able to juggle all of my obligations without my planner. After you get the hang of using a more basic planner, however, I strongly encourage everyone to buy a little bit nicer of a planner that allows you to detail what is going on each hour throughout your days. The planner I use is called the “Passion Planner” and while it may be a bit cheesy and sappy, there are a lot of useful and cool tools this planner offers to help you become more efficient and be better at living a busy, but happy lifestyle.
  3. Take the ticket. We are all busy people with more than enough to get done in a day’s time. We get run down and sometimes make the decision to just stay home and not go do something with our brothers. I promise you though, if you can make time in your day to go out and experience different things with your brothers, family and friends, then you should do it. You will never remember the weekend you stayed at home to save money, but you will always remember the weekend you and three other guys decided to make a random trip to a neighboring state to do something as simple as watching a football game.
  4. Start early and start fast. While four years may seem like an eternity now (yes, I’m talking to freshmen) I promise this undergraduate experience flies by faster than you could ever imagine. So, if you have ambition to be a leader in your chapter, play a club sport, be a leader of the student body or anything else. Get a plan together now and start implementing it tomorrow. Undergraduate life is too short to do it any other way!
  5. Know our Ritual. So many people go through their Delt experience not knowing the Ritual as well as they should. This goes far beyond just memorizing certain parts of the Ritual. Actually appreciating and understanding what each and every part of the Ritual means is crucial to becoming a “Great Delt” in my mind. The one thing that holds the international Fraternity together for the last 158 years is the Ritual. Take the time to talk to your guide and to esteemed alumni at division conferences and Karnea. I have had the personal privilege to hear Jody Danneman [(University of Georgia, 1988), former international president] speak on the ritual multiple times and I always leave with a new perspective.