I admit I have had a lot of training as a student advisor, and my role changes every year with each class of students. Many of the issues I bring up do apply more to being an advisor to undergraduate clubs, but many of these topics can be extended to high school programs.
1 & 2) The qualities I want in a leader (whether it is a student, a coach, or a person for whom I work) in general are summarized by a number of words and phrases. I want someone who is responsible and has/shares a vision for an outcome. Leaders understand individual subordinates' skills and motivations, and they work to bring out the best from everyone. Leaders understand and accept the limits of power. Leaders praise in public and discipline in private. Leaders share the credit but humbly take responsibility for blame. Leaders are not afraid to confront interpersonal problems and get them resolved as best as they can. Leaders are mentors, recruiters, critical planners, and representatives for their group and the school/university.
Specific tasks for an advisor or a team leader:
* Define and communicate a vision or set of goals for learning and performance. Communicate, communicate, and communicate.
* Provide resources and raise institutional support for team. Maintain resources (questions, equipment) and let others value those resources.
* Make the game fun and inclusive.
* Understand that you are a role model. Encourage others to be leaders through example.
3) I frequently do divide leadership roles as there are so many tasks that can be split among the students. Most students (and adults) don't have all the skills to be editor, tournament director, recruiter, tournament hotel reserver, finance director, and captain. In addition, splitting up the responsibilities democratizes leadership skills development, thus giving every student more ownership of the team's activities. The ownership is extremely important: it builds trust among students, and it gives students an idea of how much effort is involved with running a program.
Some students are more effective in interpersonal skills. Some students are better writers in certain subjects. Some students have the ability to do announcements, and some don't like being in the limelight. High school and college students should gain confidence in the skills they have comfortably developed but they should also stretch themselves to take on different skills.
4) Certainly the most difficult situations I have had occur when there is a breakdown in communication of expectations and responsibilities. When this happens, trust is jeopardized. If you are a student leader, you again cannot be afraid to confront these problems but one must be compassionate with the other person to know what he/she needs. As a student organizations advisor, I have had to keep the temperature on the pot as low as possible so that emotions don't prevent a solution from forming.
6) One other difficulty as an advisor is putting trust in students. I know many of the high school students are still minors and require adult supervision. The fact is that if students share your vision of proper behavior and respect for other players, of running a competition, or of running a club, you will be surprised if you give them some more leeway to run the event (and just provide resources). It surprises me sometimes how my own students can do something a little more efficiently or have a little more enjoyment of an activity if I let them be responsible for their own actions. As much as we want to, advisors and parents have to refrain from hovering too much.