For many folks, leadership is equated with management and a title. We think of the boss, people with authority. But you can lead anywhere, anytime, without a title.
Leadership is about taking initiative instead of taking charge. Growing up, I used to love being in charge. Bossing my little sister around. Running for student government. Being captain of the soccer team. Authority was the only way I thought I had power and could be a leader.
As I have matured with age, I have learned that authority is only one way to lead. There are quite a few other ways I have learned to lead without the title.
Credibility & Experience – We often give respect and deference to elders or veterans of a group like Toastmasters because of their years of experience and knowledge. They have wisdom and insight that can be incredibly valuable.
As a member for 9 years but also having grown up in Toastmasters as the daughter of a prominent Toastmaster, I have developed credibility and been afforded many leadership opportunities to contribute to important decisions or take the lead on a project.
Where do you have years of experience that you can utilize as leadership leverage?
Likeability & Relationships – It’s easier to get people on board if they like you. Whether it’s asking for a volunteer for a project or needing assistance to complete a task, people say yes more often if they like you. A smile doesn’t require a title.
I strive to be friendly and build relationships in my workplace because I know that if I need something from a coworker down the line, it will be easier to ask and easier to get a yes.
Where can you build better relationships at work or in your community to use as leadership leverage?
Service to Others – Servant leadership is focusing on the best interest of those you lead. By leading through service, you build trust with others over time because they see that you are looking out for them. No title is needed to serve.
When I am looking for opportunities to lead, this is the easiest place to look. I just ask – How can I be of service in this moment? It may be stepping into a needed club meeting role or helping a neighbor shovel a driveway.
Where can you be of service for others in your Toastmasters clubs and communities and build trust?
No matter where you are, you can always build gain experience, form friendships and build trust to develop more leverage and lead.
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