Friday, July 11, 2008

Competent Leadership Manual

From an article in the September issue of theToastmaster magazine by Bonnie L. Maidak, ATMS/CL.

I Completed the New Competent Leadership Manual in Six Months!

What were the pluses and minuses?

When the newly-minted Competent Leadership (CL) manual arrived last year, I dove in and followed a plan to complete it before anyone else in my district – I wanted to complete it by July 1, 2006. I’ve learned from the experience and can now report some pluses and minuses that you may want to consider for yourself and your club.

Here are some of the pluses:

  • It will make the High Performance Leadership (HPL) project less daunting. I worked on the CL manual simultaneously with an HPL project. By practicing specific leadership skills in a supportive meeting environment, I gained more confidence to carry out the HPL project. The new CL manual identifies what a Toastmaster needs to break the HPL project down into smaller “digestible” bits.

  • As the only club member working on the new CL manual at the time, I had the luxury of completing a project at every meeting. It’s important to determine your club’s policy about the number of speakers allowed in one meeting. Some clubs might support verbal evaluations for all individuals while others must limit theirs to three per meeting.

  • The CL manual encourages members to sign up for different meeting roles. You need to fulfill each typical meeting role at least once. Roles such as general evaluator or Toastmaster need to be performed multiple times. Doing the same role counts for credit only once per project per meeting.

  • The overall quality is high. It will be easy to sell the Toastmasters program to organizations when club members explain and demonstrate the practical leadership skills that can be learned and developed by completing the new manual.

Three minuses:

  • I had difficulty finding evaluators familiar with the projects. Because the manual was new, most club members were unfamiliar with it. So I often relied on the same individuals to serve as evaluators. No doubt this decreased their enjoyment of club meetings, as each evaluator was forced to read the project description while attempting to participate in the meeting. As members become more familiar with the manual, this will problem will be minimized. However, to avoid asking the same individuals to serve as evaluators for CL manual projects, the VPE might want to keep track of who serves in this role for each meeting.

  • Working through the new manual in such a condensed time took its toll. Though the new manual helped me conduct my HPL project better, I had to postpone some efforts for the HPL project in order to finish the new manual. I encourage anyone who is starting the new manual to recognize that the length of time to achieve other concurrent projects or goals might need to be extended. Unless you’re a member of multiple clubs or a club that meets weekly, it is more likely that it will take closer to a year to complete this manual.

  • I also wanted more specific information regarding some of the project or role descriptions. For example, how long do you need to mentor someone in order to complete project number 9? I hope that future versions of the manual will address this and other questions.

I achieved my goal to complete the new CL manual in six months. I learned a lot from the experience, which is exactly what we wish for in our Toastmasters activities.

Do you have any good tips for leadership? E-mail your story to me and it could be published on this blog site. Send it to .

If you are interested in the Leadership Track, pick up the New Competent Leadership manual and track your six month progress with an Achievement Chart today!


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