By TM Umme Salma Babrawala
There are many times that a responsible individual is given a leadership position. Then, there are other times when leadership positions make one responsible. My journey into Toastmasters leadership started in the year 2013. I joined Toastmasters to enhance my speaking abilities. I was never interested in taking up any leadership position. When the nominations for club leadership were out, I did not nominate myself for any position. It was after persistent pushing by the then president TM Rajesh Rupani that I was elected the President of Thane Toastmasters club.
Being the President gave me an opportunity to speak and develop. It allowed me to preside over every meeting and inspire members through the Toastmasters platform. It not only helped me improve my leadership skills but enhanced my communication skills as well, which in turn assisted me to reach my purpose. Later in the year 2016, I was elected VP Education and subsequently became the Area Director for the year 2017-18.
I will share three important lessons that I have learned through my Toastmasters leadership journey:-
1. Know your Plan: A goal without a plan is just a wish. It is essential that as a leader we have a vision and also a plan around that vision. The Distinguished Club Program and Distinguished Area Program are very well defined goals. However to achieve those goals there needs to be a well-defined plan that should to be reviewed from time to time with the team.
2. It is not about you but the members: The core type of leadership in Toastmasters is service leadership. Humility and empathy are the two core values of service leadership. It’s not about you but the members. At our club we tried to create an atmosphere where each member felt engaged, involved and respected.
3. The whole is greater than sum of its parts: Synergy between the leaders and members is fundamental to member satisfaction and greater efficiency in learning. Thus, it is important to work together because ‘together we are 100%’.
I have learned that every situation demands different forms or types of leadership depending on the circumstances. Leadership does not have to be your way or my way but the ‘Right Way’.