On August 8, 2013, Founder’s District Division A had its first council meeting led by its Governor, Dr. Diana Dee. The meeting was attended by about a dozen Division A leaders, including five Area Governors. The meeting started on time and ended at 8:00 pm on the dot in true Toastmasters fashion. The Division’s Executive Coach, Linda Brown took the 5 Area Governors in attendance through a goal setting and success planning session. Linda shared with the Area Governors her life experience and the impact she was able to make when she had the opportunity to serve as Area Governor, during the 2012-2013 Toastmasters International year.
Linda has over 27 years of experience serving as an empowerment coach and life strategist. As it applies to serving in Toastmasters International as an Area Governor, here are some of the nuggets of wisdom she shared:
- Work exclusively through club presidents. Area Governors are the only leaders in the district who normally interact directly with club members. It is easy to get carried away and want to be as effective as possible by touching base directly with every club member or club officer. However, you can simplify your tasks by creating an empowered relationship with your club presidents. If you provide caring, clear direction and support for your Presidents, they will take good care of their club members. You will see how directive leadership and teamwork synergize and produce greater-than-expected results.
- Know when to ask for help. Every single member of Toastmasters International is driven by very unique and oftentimes very different motives, but one thing all members seem to share is a desire to serve, to be of help. Leverage that at every possible opportunity, otherwise you can easily get overwhelmed quickly. The more you courteously direct, inspire, acknowledge, praise progress, empower, and recruit a Team (i.e., inspire team-building), the more effective you will be with less efforts.
- Find out what the club wants. Every club has its own culture and tradition. As an Area Governor never criticize the way a club operates, if that is their tradition. Acknowledge the unicity of every club and find out what the club does well and compliment them on that. Be aware of the clubs’ needs and wants, and do not impose your wants (or needs) on your clubs.
- Don’t fall victim to quotas. Every district has set goals and targets to become the best in the world, which is a worthy ideal. Those goals are met when quotas are set and the division and area governors work with other district executives to meet those goals. Quotas can appear very challenging when you get fixated on them instead of abundantly meeting members’ objectives. Like the saying goes, take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. In other words, if you have thriving clubs in your area, the quotas will be met without you even thinking about them.
- Take it easy and have fun. Everybody around you in your Toastmasters circle wants you to succeed as a leader and an individual. Don’t take the whole assignment too seriously and remember, if it is not fun, it’s up to you to learn how to make it fun. Call upon your Area Governor and Division Governor colleagues to brainstorm. Everybody wants the experience to be easier, more effective, and more fun. Why not make the experience a happy memory for you and those you have the privilege of serving ?
Linda Brown is available for executive coaching and she can be contacted through her website, http://www.lindalbrownma.com/
Update: Significant editing for improvement has been made to this post by Linda Brown after the article was initially published. Thank you Linda!