“Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better.” ― Bill Bradley
When you join Toastmasters you receive the CL manual as part of the joining package. Projects in this manual will help you develop your leadership skills. When you complete the manual, you are eligible for the Competent Leader award.
Good listening helps you to identify and clarify issues, make decisions, resolve conflict and be creative. Listening skills also play a major role in team-building. You can learn to be a leader by following a few simple suggestions.
A leader gathers information, then analyses, interprets and understands it before acting. Critical thinkers question what they read and hear, then determine the quality of a piece of information and use logical reasoning to reach conclusions.
Giving performance feedback is a necessary leadership function. When done properly, feedback can relieve stress, improve interpersonal relationships and promote trust and respect for leaders and team members.
Time management helps leaders make the most of the time available to them. You can budget your time and accomplish projects and tasks efficiently by identifying long-term and short-term goals, make a daily to-do list, prioritize the list, make a schedule, delegate when possible, leave time for unexpected tasks, and manage interruptions.
A plan provides direction for the leader and the team. The planning process involves setting goals and objectives and preparing plans and schedules to accomplish them. The process forces leaders to look beyond their everyday activities and think about what they want to happen in the future. Involving team members in the process will encourage their commitment.
Leaders must ensure the team is organized and capable of accomplishing goals and objectives, and they must provide the structure in which the team will operate. Delegation also plays a major role. A leaders should accomplish functions that only he or she has the knowledge and authority to do and delegate all other tasks to team members.
A facilitator establishes the structure of the team needs to function effectively, ensures the structure is working and removes obstacles that may be impeding progress. A facilitator also resolves conflicts which are inevitable any time two or more people are required to work together. Good facilitation skills can help the group reach a resolution.
A motivated team can overcome obstacles of all types to achieve its goals. A leader creates and maintains an environment where team members are likely to become motivated. Leaders find out what motivates team members, and then develops reward systems that match what team members value. They also look for ways to reward team members for doing the right things.
A mentor recognizes an individual who has less experience and cultivates that person’s potential and talents and helps him or her succeed. Leaders are also mentors. You can be a mentor by offering someone opportunities for skill development, helping the person recognize areas needing work, providing helpful advice, being a role model, and encouraging the person to think for himself or herself.
Teams offer great benefits. Team members have a variety of knowledge and skills, which results in more creativity and greater productivity. When a good team is in place, a leader has more time to devote to leadership issues. Team members must be carefully chosen and trained and encouraged to openly discuss issues with you and among themselves.