I’ve seen some discussion online about petitioning Toastmasters International to create a single starter level with a number of projects that don’t have to be repeated. A number of advanced Toastmasters have contributed their ideas, including me. My idea is the the Leadership Style Quiz and the Communication Style Quiz ought to be included in that beginner’s level.
Repeating speeches is apparently of concern to a number of people. I even covered it in a previous podcast – toastmasters101.net/31.
The Leadership Style Quiz came up when I attended the District 10 Quality Club Forum Club Recognition Ceremony today. I heard something that made me sit up and take notice – about the quiz. About what the Leadership Style Quiz did for one woman.
The District 10 Area Director of the Year, Laura Simon, said this about the Leadership Style Quiz
“Everyone should take the leadership style quiz. I took it and discovered that it’s not that I’m not leader, but that I never knew my leadership style. Once I took that quiz, I discovered that I do have leadership skills – and the district was willing to accept me to use them.”
I’ve known Laura for about 6 years. She once said to me that she never wanted to take on leadership tasks. She was the sole officer in the club who remained when I joined her club as a club coach – and she hated every minute of being a club leader until we elected new officers.
Once Laura moved onto the Pathways program, she started her path and faced that Level 2 project – the Leadership Style Quiz. I remembered her repeated statements over the years that she didn’t want to be a leader and here she was, looking at her own leadership style with some surprise.
Laura’s like a lot of people. They don’t think of themselves as leaders. They don’t know what they are because the definition of leader seems to be
That’s why the Leadership Style Quiz shocked Laura. Because doesn’t leadership doesn’t require these attributes? Characteristics?
Where Leaders are Made
Toastmasters tag line is now “Where Leaders Are Made.”
YES! I get this because I completely believe that the foundation to leadership is public speaking skills. The ability to communicate effectively is the where leadership skills start. You build your public speaking skills and you build your leadership at the same time.
Whether it’s impostor syndrome or lack of self confidence or any other thing you want to call it, perceiving yourself as a leader isn’t always obvious. I never thought of myself as a leader – just someone who invited people to come along and have fun with me.
This is why I like this leadership style quiz. I’m sure there are plenty of people who feel it’s simplistic, or not thorough enough, or overly complex, or too in-depth… I’ve heard all of these complaints.
I thought it was interesting. I’m not known for a great deal of introspection. Nor do I have a lot of confidence in what I think of as “magazine” tests – those random quizzes that promise to tell you the best way to paint your basement based on 10 questions. This was the first style test that Toastmasters offers that I took (I did Leadership Development before the Presentation Mastery path) so I was… skeptical. So much so that I was losing confidence in Toastmasters if they were going to make me submit to some… lame… wait, what did that test result say?
Leadership Style Quiz Results
When I got my results, I immediately understood what leadership style meant. Which was odd, but I didn’t really read much of the project before the quiz, so if it said anything, I had already ignored it.
This is the drawback to speeding through the Pathways training. You miss a lot.
When I shared my results with my family, they all nodded. Hmmm. I didn’t expect that it would be recognizable to my family as well – although no one was surprised with bureaucratic came out dead last. No one who knows me would be surprised with that. Nothing makes me crazier than a form I have to fill out! Which explains a lot about my year as area governor…
And why I liked Pathways right away. I have not seen the printed version of this test. I hope it’s easy to take and score. Cause I’m not likely to do it right.
Leadership Style Application in Toastmasters
Let’s go back to Laura’s quotation:
“Once I took that quiz, I discovered that I do have leadership skills – and the district was willing to accept me to use them.”
She said that as she got her award for being the only Presidents Distinguished Area in the District.
For me, that’s a bolt of lightning moment. It said everything about Toastmasters that I thought we need to explain to guests. That’s what we start in Toastmasters – we teach the skills you need, give you the opportunities to fail and to win, and send you out to change the world.
Toastmasters is the training ground.
A proving ground where we try out new ideas, new skills, new opportunities – and with that newness, comes a probability of failure. Of the crash and burn.
A few years into my Toastmasters experience, I started trying some new and crazy stuff that I’d seen other people do in speeches. These things were not my style, but I wanted to see what would happen if I tried them. I decided to try extending my leadership skills to the role of division director. I wasn’t perfect. Who would be?
Sometimes we forget in Toastmasters – and I’m speaking to the members who’ve been a round for a while – that Toastmasters is where people learn. Learning is messy. It’s why we need to be forgiving and mentoring and encouraging and… so much more.
And then – we take it outside Toastmasters. Laura wrote to me when I asked for permission to quote her in this podcast that she loves to hear the Leadership Style Quiz speech from other toastmasters.
“Learning your leadership style not only helps one specifically understand how they lead people, but also how one reacts to the other styles of leadership. I see them getting it. It’s a game changer.”
New Leaders in D10
We are seeing new leaders in District 1o.
At the Quality Club Forum today, I didn’t know a significant number of people. Maybe half of them were new to me. That’s really good news. Not that we’re losing a number of leaders in our Toastmasters community – it’s exactly the opposite. New people are discovering their talents, their gifts, and taking the opportunities to try something new.
Bravo, District 10! Congratulations to the 39 Presidents Distinguished clubs, 10 Select Distinguished clubs, and the 11 Distinguished clubs that were honored! And congratulations to Craig Gerlock as Division Director of the Year and Sharon Stadul as Toastmaster of the Year.
It was a good day to be in District 10.
How about you? I know many if not all of the districts have awards, but maybe we need to take that kind of recognition down to the club level. Is there a member who is stepping up whom you can recognize? Is there someone you can encourage to try something new? Like Laura said, we need to let people know that we accept them and their skills and want to use them to build new clubs and support the ones we already have.
Every district is now gearing up with the club contests. Area contests will follow. Are there roles to be filled? Of course there are! Experienced members can mentor people through the tasks. That doesn’t mean we need to step down if there’s something you love to do – like be chief judge! I know there are fantastic chief judges out there with double digit numbers of contests they have worked. If that’s your jam, then go for it – but go bigger! Instead of running a club contest, offer to help with the area or division contests.
And thank you – speaking as a competitor and as a Toastmaster who struggles with paperwork – remember that bottom bureaucratic leadership style of my leadership style quiz? I need you!
A few weeks ago, I was corrected about my misuse of the word Pathway when the correct term is “Path.” Yes, that is the correct term. So I put a poll on the Toastmasters 101 Podcast Facebook page and so far, I have 12 votes. It’s 5 to 1 for the word “Path” but that means there are some people like me who call my path my pathway. I’m still working to improve myself here, so give me grace if I slip.
When you listen to this podcast, the poll may be still be open. Go on over to the Toastmasters 101 Podcast Facebook page and vote, or leave a message. Tell me where you found the podcast. We’ll be glad to hear from you.
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Toastmasters 101 is a podcast production of Toastmasters District 10.