With great power comes great responsibility.

If you’ve ever experienced an over-zealous new team leader or manager, you might have this phrase ringing in your ears. It’s common practise for companies to promote members of staff into leadership roles and then develop them once there, instead of giving them the tools to do the job and them promoting them into the role once equipped.

The thing about a Toastmasters International public speaking club is that it provides an excellent opportunity for anyone seeking this toolset and mindset to try it out in a safe place, supported and encouraged instead of looking over their shoulder in fear of making a “career limiting” mistake or worse ruining someone else’s career through poor line management. It’s not just about making toasts or speeches, it’s so much more.

I’m going to share my story with you as I hope to inspire you to consider that there is another way….

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Having worked in the corporate world for over 20 years I have experienced and witnessed many shocking and unprofessional incidents borne out of a lack of experience and understanding. The crucial factor to becoming a new leader of any kind is self-awareness; to understand your impact on others and to learn to listen first. Most people are never taught how to be a follower never mind a leader! At school we were told to sit down, shut up and do as we were told! It just felt like all the doors were firmly shut.

My own capability before I discovered Toastmasters was limited – I see that now – but I was unconsciously incompetent then. I would copy other team leaders hoping they were good role models to emulate but that only served to perpetuate bad practise, inconsistency and stressful conversations with disgruntled staff. Nothing seemed to change for the better, and there seemed to be limited formal training, you were supposed to just figure it out. The coping mechanisms and expected behaviours were never explained and I was struggling to be effective and influential.

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After joining Toastmasters I was given the opportunity to start learning the skills of leadership by undertaking the role of Mentor. It’s such a simple role, between two people meeting up monthly and one helping the other to achieve specific goals using the benefit of their knowledge and experience. But it taught me how to be a good listener. It taught me to remove myself from the equation – it’s not about me – it’s all about them. It also honed my problem solving skills as I helped them navigate the challenges they faced.

Read on in Part 2…

Sam Warner 07973 490150              Email: sam@get-your-message-across.com

Sam’s website: www.get-your-message-across.com  

www.toastmasters.org     www.shropshirespeakers.org.uk       www.ludlowspeakers.org.uk

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