Have you improved since you joined Toastmasters?
I have grown from someone that would never speak in a meeting at work, to someone that asks to speak in meetings where I am not paid. What changed?
I was fed the breakfast of champions known in Toastmasters as feedback. I love Toastmasters for feedback and growth resulting from receiving consistent and constructive feedback. Truth is when I joined Toastmasters I was already a speaker, I had speaking skills that I excelled in and speaking skills that I needed to work on, or at least I was told that when I was delivering my Ice Breaker.
Feedback for me is a tool that we use in Toastmasters to search for the speaking skills that need improving so that we become intentional about improving them.
It is for this reason that when I became the Club President of Standard Bank Operations I started a program of Club Officer Feedback. If we were to grow as leaders, we had to help each other find those leadership skills that required improvement so that we could intentionally work on them. We schedule each Club Officer to give two other Club Officers feedback about their leadership every three months. This made each officer to not just focus on their roles but on others. That way, if any one resigns at least everyone is in tune with what is happening in the club.
My year as Club President of Standard Bank Operations remains the best year of my Toastmasters life. The feedback I received from my fellow Club Officers helped shape the leader I am today and receiving feedback will help me grow.
Truth is when we joined Toastmasters we were already leaders, we had leadership abilities that we already excelled in and leadership abilities that we need to work on. It is therefore important for us to create and seize opportunities to receive feedback when we take on leadership roles within Toastmasters. Without feedback we risk growing our weaknesses with us and becoming the leaders that we complain about in the world. We are always saying that Africa is in desperate need of leaders, we say this because we know that the leaders that Africa has are not the good quality of leaders it deserves.
If you are serving as a leader, I challenge you to ask your teammates to give you feedback. Erich Viedge said it well that there is nothing as unnecessary as doing the wrong thing right. It is for this reason that I challenge you to find those blind spots that needs your attention and not risk doing the wrong things right.