by Greg Pick, DTM, Immediate Past District Director
In 2008, Toastmasters introduced the Competent Leader manual that put definition and form around the fundamental leadership skills being implemented at club meetings as members performed their roles. Although learning these fundamental skills resulted in personal growth, my understanding of leadership increased tremendously when I implemented my first High Performance Leadership project. I learned the most effective way to recruit members occurred when I asked people directly.
As I gathered members for a contest team, I asked for volunteers by email, then by standing at the lectern. Both methods yielded no results. From this experience, I learned these techniques have little success. I learned that you build a team by forming personal bonds and building relationships. I learned you can add team members easily by recognizing a member’s talents and strengths and identifying talents in people who may not see that strength within themselves. When I approached members directly, they agreed to be part of the team. We became a cohesive team that developed and staged a successful area contest.
An effective leader builds personal relationships as they recruit a team. It takes more time and effort than blasting an email or making a plea for helpers standing at the lectern but the rewards of the personal touch and relationships created cannot be overstated. Leadership is all about the relationships we form.