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Positive Leadership

Healthy leadership always moves along a positive path. Forget about those age-old images of the stern, dour-faced manager, cracking the whip and doling out punishments and hard work to embittered employees. In todays world, great leaders are recognized by the positive effects they have on people. They promote teamwork, encourage excellence, foster growth and even offer criticism in a productive way. Toastmasters provides many opportunities for members to practice positive leadership skills. Many corporations around the world encourage their current and future managers to join. If youre looking for a good place to work on your leadership skills, why not give Toastmasters a try?

Laws of Positive Leadership How to Find Leaders Requiem for the Heroic Manager

Laws of Positive Leadership

How to be a leader others want to follow. Examples abound of poor leadership. Who hasnt had a teacher or boss who invoked feelings of disrespect? A positive leader is someone who inspires, motivates, energizes and unites, while generating loyalty and producing results. In his article for the Toastmaster magazine, Victor Parachin offers 10 rules on how to be that kind of leader:

Give more than you expect others to give. Combine optimism and perseverance. See everyone as a diamond in the rough. Express appreciation; accept responsibility. Keep your ego in check. Show respect for the people around you. Treat team members as family. Be a source of inspiration. Stress cooperation, not competition. Maintain a sense of humor.

How to Find Leaders

Want to find leaders for your organization? John Maxwell, Ph.D., is an expert on leadership and author of more than 30 books on that topic. In his monthly e-newsletter, Leadership Wired, he answers the question, How can I be sure to hire the right person?

To accomplish anything of significance, you must have the right people by your side. Finding a great hire often goes hand in hand with identifying potential leaders. Maxwell credits his friend Fred Smith with helping him arrive at these 11 questions to ask when looking for a leader:

Does the person question existing systems and push for improvements? Do they offer practical ideas? When they speak, who listens? Do others respect them? Can they create or catch a vision? Do they show a willingness to take responsibility? Do they finish the job? Are they emotionally strong? Do they possess strong people skills? Will they lead others with a servants heart? Can they make things happen?

Requiem for the Heroic Manager

Ideas about effective leadership are changing. In the past, the heroic archetype was the most popular image of corporate leadership. According to this image, a good manager was a rugged, decisive individual, capable of single-handedly driving a business to success and glory. But as Dave Zielinski points out in his article "Requiem for the Heroic Manager," the heroic archetype of leadership is on its deathbed. In its place, leadership research conducted in the past 20 years paints a very different picture. According to recent scholarship, good leaders:

Focus on the success of the organization rather than their own personal success. Enable success in others and share the glory of success with the group. Acknowledge personal weaknesses as well as strengths. Celebrate the accomplishments of employees and make them feel like heroes.

Speak Like a Leader

Communication and leadership skills go hand in hand. There are many good reasons why Toastmasters teaches both communication and leadership skills. People with good communication skills are more likely to be promoted to leadership positions, and good leaders need communication skills to be effective. In other words, if you want to be a leader, you have to learn to speak like a leader. And Toastmasters is here to help.

Motivational Speech Techniques The 10 Commandments of Communication

Motivational Speech Techniques

Five simple strategies to motivate your listeners. One of the most important elements of leadership is the ability to motivate people. Without motivation, even the most skilled team of seasoned professionals is unlikely to achieve great things. A highly motivated group of talented people, on the other hand, can move mountains. While its true that motivating people involves more than just changing the way you speak, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to help build team motivation with only your words and your voice:

Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious! Before you present your ideas, think about the aspects of the subject that you find most interesting, and dont be afraid to let that interest come through in your voice. Use quotes, stories and anecdotes. Along with their obvious entertainment value, quotes and stories can lend authority to your topic and provide concrete examples that people can relate to. Speak with confidence. Deliver your message loud and clear. Maintain eye contact with your listeners. Dont mumble or slouch. Say you and we, not I and me. Instead of telling people what you want them to do, present ways for them to work together to achieve their goals. Involve listeners in the success of the group. Keep it simple. People arent motivated by what you say; theyre motivated by what they understand. The best way to ensure audience understanding is to break down complex ideas into simple components.

The 10 Commandments of Communication

How to speak like a leader. By Michael Landrum, ATMB 1. Listen generously. Emerson said: First seek to understand, then to be understood. How do you listen to an audience? Do your research. Find out who they are, what they need and want, and what they expect from you. When you step to the lectern, pause and listen. Are they ready to hear you? During your speech, keep listening. Pay attention to them. Are they leaning forward, backward or on each other? Be willing to depart from your prepared remarks to recover your rapport with them. Ask questions. Even something as simple as Is that clear? can reestablish contact. 2. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Arent these two phrases the same? No indeed: Say what you mean is about telling the truth, Mean what you say is about making a commitment, keeping your promise, honoring your word. Have something meaningful to say. Step to the lectern with the intention of making a difference to your audience. 3. Use the fewest words with the fewest syllables. I run afoul of this one all the time. Its the main reason I rewrite so often, looking for big, two-dollar words I can swap for a single 10-cent syllable. Delete therefore, insert so. Thats real economy in writing. Remember that the basic unit of communication is not the word but the idea. 4. Align with your audience. We may consider it our task to speak to the audience, but it is sometimes more important to speak for them. Express those thoughts and feelings that you share with them. Even if you think they are wrong and you are the advocate of sweeping change, you must first

understand and articulate their feelings. Great leaders know that leadership begins with the pronoun we. 5. Be specific. Use stories, anecdotes, parables and examples rather than generalities and abstractions. This is a tough one for some people. They love to wander through a topic in the abstract, scattering generalities as they go. The great teachers and speakers pepper their talks with vivid, detailed examples. He seemed upset as he left is general. He blew his nose, kicked the dog and slammed the door is specific. 6. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action. Dont say Im glad to be here while looking at your wristwatch. Be aware of your non-verbal communication. Your gestures, posture, facial expressions, energy, tone of voice, and a thousand other tiny, unuttered elements actually carry the true and specific meaning of your communication. We can understand the words I love you well enough. But their true importance, their actual meaning, is all wrapped up in how they are spoken, and by whom. 7. Structure your speech. One valuable way to make your talk memorable is to speak to a structure and make your listeners aware of it. Share with them the form of your thoughts as well as the content and they will be able to follow more complex ideas. It will be easier for you to remember, too. People appreciate the scenery more with a glance at the road map every now and then. 8. Speak to be understood. Have the courtesy to develop your voice so that all may hear you. You groom your appearance, so why not cultivate your voice? With a little effort it can be strong, crisp, clear and various in texture, color and range. Its sad when speakers expend their energy to create a vivid, well-constructed talk and then whisper, mutter or mumble. 9. Speak for the benefit of others. Serve your audience well by keeping their interests foremost in your mind. This is the golden rule of speaking. As an audience member you can easily tell when a speaker is self-serving. Nothing communicates more clearly than intention. 10. Speak from your highest self. The highest self is where hope resides. To lead effectively requires a courageous, positive, optimistic view. As any astronaut will tell you, if you get high enough you will be in perpetual sunshine. There must be a caveat attached to this rule, however: Beware of elevating yourself with a high horse. Be humble. Having an opinion is a meager accomplishment. On most occasions a modest demeanor improves communication. Michael Landrum, ATMB, is a speaker, coach and writer in New York

Harnessing the power of the group. Effective leadership has nothing to do with promotions or job titles. It has no relationship to the number of people who work under you, and its not about earning awards, accolades or personal glory. Its all about the ability to motivate and inspire people to work together as a team. In Toastmasters, members take turns filling various meeting roles, giving everyone access to hands-on leadership and team-building experience. Curious? Find a meeting location near you and see for yourself.

Delegating Authority Turning Team Conflict into Team Harmony

Delegating Authority
The best way to wield power is to share it responsibly. A leader is only one person and can only do the work of one person. In order to best accomplish the teams goals and objectives, he or she must carefully delegate authority to team members. Why we dont delegate Some leaders hesitate to delegate authority for the following reasons:

They think they can do it better themselves. They fear others will make mistakes. They think team members wont like them if they give them a lot of work and responsibility. Theyre afraid the person will perform too well and make them look bad.

Truth is, the careful delegation of authority is one of the most important aspects of team building. When done right, it plays to the teams strengths and gives team members valuable experience. It also gives people the opportunity to shine while freeing up the leaders time for more important or appropriate activities. How to delegate While delegating authority and responsibility is crucial to team success, there are a few guidelines that should be followed:

Choose the right person. Select someone who is capable, able and willing to take on the responsibility. Make expectations clear. Describe the project or task to be completed, the results expected and the timetable. Establish how and when you want feedback on progress. Do you prefer daily reports? A weekly e-mail? Give appropriate authority. Dont give a team member a project that he or she does not have the power to complete! For example, dont assign someone a task that requires access to a database that they cant get into. Get the persons agreement. The team member should commit to and be willing to carry out the work

Turning Team Conflict into Team Harmony

How to get people to rally together for a common cause. Whether its in school, at the office or on the playing field, being a team member is a challenging role. How do people with diverse backgrounds, aptitudes and belief systems set aside their differences and start rowing together as one? Elusive as good teamwork may be, there are steps organizations can take to ensure their work teams are high-performing and well-adjusted. In his article for the Toastmaster magazine, Turning Team Conflict Into Team Harmony, Dave Zielinski

cites team-building experts who offer advice on how to be a team leader, leading volunteer-based teams, and what to do when your team isnt working. For example, Zielinski says a teams chances of success depends on the leaders ability to:

Use people skills. Set precise and measurable objectives. Provide regular and actionable feedback. Promote peer pressure as a tool for accountability. Offer meaningful rewards for good performance.

Learning Leadership
The best way to learn how to lead is to become a leader. Take a quick look at your local bookstores shelves and you will likely find hundreds of volumes about leadership. Scan the table of contents of a handful of them and youll find that there are many different even contradictory theories about what leadership is, and how to be a good leader. No matter how good some of these books might be, theres no arguing that its difficult to advance your leadership skills without actually taking on leadership roles yourself. Thats where Toastmasters comes in. In Toastmasters, members advance in the Leadership track of the educational program by participating in club leadership activites. The Toastmasters approach is hands-on and participatory, not dry and academic; its a place to try your hand at leadership instead of just reading about it. So if youre looking for a place to put some of those leadership ideas youve been reading about into practice in a safe, supportive environment, give Toastmasters a try.

Leadership Track Leadership Essentials

Leadership Track
Learn to lead with practical practice Members working in the leadership track learn and practice leadership skills by serving in club roles. The Competent Leadership manual is the core of the leadership track. It features 10 projects, which you complete while serving in various club meeting roles. An evaluator will give you feedback on each project, helping you to improve. When you complete the manual, you are eligible for Competent Leader recognition. Complete the CL application in the manual and ask your vice president education to submit it online to World Headquarters. You'll receive a CL certificate and, if you wish, World Headquarters will send your employer a letter about your accomplishment. Advanced Leader Program

After earning the CL award you can further refine and develop your leadership skills by working in the advanced leader program. Members working in this program are eligible for Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB) and Advanced Leader Silver (ALS) recognition

Leadership Essentials
Leadership is difficult to define. Its an abstract concept that evokes as many different reactions as there are different kinds of people. Yet most of us know good leadership when we see it, and we can often tell when good leadership is missing by the way a team or organization struggles without it. At Toastmasters, our leadership training program identifies the following areas as essential to quality, effective leadership:

Mission. A clear mission helps the leader to focus the team so that they can ignore distractions and pay attention to whats most important. Values. When a leader demonstrates values that are in sync with the companys mission and the teams goals, everyone benefits. Planning and goal-setting. With clear goals and effective planning, leaders make their expectations understood and team members know what to do at all times. Delegating authority. The job of leadership is usually too big to handle alone. By sharing responsibilities with the team, a leader instills a sense of purpose and empowerment. Team building. Establishing trust, playing to individual strengths, encouraging people to work together all are important aspects of team building. Giving feedback. Constructive, concise and timely feedback is essential to each team members success, and to the success of the team as a whole. Coaching team members. A good leader must take on the role of trainer now and then, providing expert advice, encouragement and suggestions for improvement. Motivating people. By providing a good example, learning each team members needs and giving rewards and incentives when appropriate, a leader can inspire people to achieve higher levels of performance. Working for the team. Great leaders encourage participation, facilitate communication and provide an environment where team success is more likely to occur. Resolving conflict. Conflict between team members is inevitable, and not always a bad thing. A leaders job is to resolve the conflict in a just and reasonable way so that productivity and morale do not suffer