Coaches Corner


Modeling Leadership

The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner points out that Toastmasters is one of the ways to improve your leadership and communication skills. This book is one of the best leadership references I have read.

Five practices are described in the book: Model the Way, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Challenging the Process, Enabling Others to Act, and Encouraging the Heart. Modeling the way is very important for officers in Toastmasters. It helps your club move forward with both club climate and the Distinguished Club Plan.

What does Modeling the Way involve? It involves listening to yourself. What kind of pronouncements do you make while you are in front of the group or before or after the meeting. If you put down officer training, giving manual speeches, making meetings better or speech preparation, you are modeling what your club will become. That is because members learn from their officers. If the officers pooh‑pooh training, then other members will not want to attend when they are officers.

So listen to yourself and what you say. It is a valuable lesson in leadership. Be the model you are personally proud of being for yourself and your club.

Before You Decide Where Your Club is Going,

Find Out Where Your Club Is.

Before your club officers develop their Club Success Plan for next year, I suggest they do a club assessment.

Club assessments can be completed by several different methods. One of the better methods is the Buffalo Toastmasters who ask every member to complete a survey at the beginning of August:

  1. Please describe your ideal club – the club you would like ________to be.
  2. Current reality – What is working really well in our club? What do you like about it?
  3. Suggestions for improvement – What is not working well for you? What do you think is causing the problem?

The officers then use the information to develop a club vision, organize activities, and build strategies to meet the expectations of the members.

Other useful assessment tools are Moments of Truth and How to Rebuild a Toastmasters Club (assessment sheets are in back of the manual). You can also have each member do an evaluation from 1 to 10 at the end of each meeting with any comments they have. These are gathered by the general evaluator after the meeting.

If you want to improve your club, you have to decide what needs to be improved as decided by your members. Now is the time to get started.

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