The real leader has no need to lead--
he is content to point the way.
Margaret O'Regan, the author of this article, is a very experienced toastmaster and has assumed many leadership roles in Toastmasters.
When you think of a leader what do you think of? Maybe what comes to mind is a larger-than-life individual in charge of some group, team, company or country? It may be someone who impresses you or not. We all know that leaders need special strategies to create loyalty, generate persuasive messages, and even create opportunities for others to take over leadership. How this is achieved is another matter. I've encountered many leaders who are to be avoided at all costs. In fact, I have worked with some of them. They are the kind who look like they'd tear you apart if you said something wrong. And indeed, some of them do just that. In thinking about what helps a leader in the "likeability" stakes, I've found that a very effective way to enhance leadership capability is to simply change the manner in which information is communicated and dare I say introduce a little humour, in other words lighten up.
Now least you are thinking what has this article got to do with toastmasters, well read on. Toastmasters are well known to be effective in developing communication skills, standing up and giving speeches and well able to throw in the bit of humour too. Humour being part and parcel of every toastmaster’s tool kit. One of the lesser known facts about toastmasters is that membership not only helps members to become more confident in speaking in public it also helps develop leadership skills. Good, strong and professional leadership skills. The leadership programme within toastmasters, like the communications programme lets the member progress at a speed that suits him or her.
Members learn leadership skills by taking on various meeting roles such as toastmaster (chairman), topics master or timekeeper. Members also learn immense leadership skills by taking on various officer ship roles within the club or the region such as treasurer, public relations officer or president. Taking on officer roles within toastmasters differs from other clubs or organisations as toastmasters has a learn-by-doing approach, members are not lectured about leadership skills; rather they are given responsibilities and mentoring to help them lead in their own style. A structure is in place to support all officers and training is provided. In undertaking meeting roles guidance, mentorship and evaluation is provided. Officer roles are rotated yearly and meeting roles are rotated at each meeting. It is easy to see then that all members get an opportunity to progress at the rate they are comfortable with.
The leadership track within toastmasters is built on;
1 Credibility – toastmasters has built its credibility by providing guidance materials to ensure members have the knowledge to do what needs to be done and set appropriate goals
2 Purpose – every step within the toastmaster’s programme has a clear sense of purpose. Add to this the drive and determination members have to overcome obstacles and the result is that the leader achieves his/her purpose.
3 Energy – because officers rotate yearly and meeting roles rotate at every meeting, a sense of vitality and newness is always present.
4 Motivating people - the ability to inspire people has always been a core element of the toastmaster ethos. This doesn’t mean being a grand orator, it means conveying passion for what you are trying to achieve and tailoring how you motivate people to their individual needs by including them in solving problems.
5 Interpersonal sensitivity - being diplomatic and tactful rather than blunt.
6 Team building - fostering a team spirit by sharing information, creating a sense of group identity (we're in this together attitude) and involving people in major decisions rather than giving the impression that you have all the answers
7 Planning and organizing. This includes delegating and trusting people rather than micromanaging them.
8 Communication - making expectations clear, seeking members input while listening attentively, standing up for important values and delivering on your promises.
9 Equipping people – nurturing the incoming and future leaders of the club that they can successfully take on leadership roles. The essence of this involves letting people learn from doing even when that involves learning from mistakes.
We live in a world that needs good and strong leaders. Regardless of whether you are an employer or an employee; retired, unemployed or a manager each of us can benefit from improving our leadership abilities. One does not have to be born with such skills, they can be learned and honed with practice and mentoring.
Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our membership is 280,000 strong. These members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 13,500 clubs in 116 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.
Membership in Toastmasters is one of the greatest investments you can make in yourself. It is also one of the most cost-effective skill-building tools available anywhere. More than 4 million people have discovered the benefits of this proven learning formula. What are you waiting for? If you want to develop or improve your leadership skills in a no pressure atmosphere promise yourself to visit us at our meetings which take place on alternate Thursday evening at 8pm in the Hibernian Hotel, Mallow. All welcome.
Next meeting is on tonight, December 13th.
Non members are very welcome to attend all meetings and will not be asked to speak
Contact Jerry 0863752895,or Noel 0872427485.
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