To provide value added information that sets you up for success during your six or twelve month term as President of your Toastmasters Club. In a short article it is impossible to teach you all that you might want to know in order to effectively lead your Club. Therefore we will focus on where you can find the answers to your questions and provide you with a framework for what is expected.
Your Legacy as Leader of the Club
At the end of your term you will ultimately be given credit for the success of your Club Officer Team and the Club as a whole. Remember, leaders lead! What is expected of you as the managing director is clearly laid out in the resources provided by Toastmasters International. Your assignment is to understand what is expected, learn how to rally the team and deliver results that are in the best interests of the club by leveraging the Toastmasters Educational Program and the training and support that is available through Toastmasters International, Founder’s District, your Division Governor and your Area Governor. It will require time, effort and dedication to successfully lead your club. The membership is watching your actions and they will follow 50% of what you do right and 100% of what you do wrong.
The Club Leadership Handbook
This resource is a must review for all Club Presidents. Under normal circumstances the individual elected as Club President has served as a Club Officer in other capacities and in doing so has gained insight into the inner workings and business matters of the club. As the CEO of your Club you are encouraged to read this manual from cover to cover. This is especially important if you have never served as a Club Officer. It isn’t necessary for you to be the ultimate expert within your club however you should have a working knowledge of each of the Club Officer roles and you should also be aware of how you are expected to support and lead each member of your Club Officer Team.
The Distinguished Club Program
The one true predictor and measurement indicator of club health is the Distinguished Club Program. This is your dashboard! It provides you with goals to aim for, a directional roadmap for success and a method for determining how your club is stacking up as you progress through your term.
The Club Success Plan
Every successful company or organization in the world has a blueprint for success. You are the driving force in the leadership team and you are responsible for pulling the team together and building a plan that combines the individual contributions of your Club Officers into one document that clearly outlines your Mission Statement, Club Goals, Educational Needs, Action Plans, Individual Executive Objectives and Officer Commitments.
There is a direct correlation between the number of Club Officers who attend training and the ultimate success or failure of a club. By attending training on a semiannual basis you set an example to other club officers. Your actions endorse and show support for the training opportunities that are provided by the district.
V.P. of Education
This is the most challenging Club Officer role. The V.P. of Education is responsible for the quality of club meetings and scheduling for the regular meeting agenda. This person is charged with a great deal of responsibility and workload. Keep in mind that this is a position that requires a plan full mind, due diligence, record keeping skills, fairness and a task oriented nature. Your V.P. of Education is the second in command in the club, they are your right hand. Support this person, protect this person and clear the way for this person so that they are able to keep up with their duties and maintain harmony and balance within the membership and the Educational Program. Be in tune with their needs and make certain they aren’t being over tasked because you do not want them to burn out.
Ultimately your V.P. of Education is responsible for creating and maintaining a schedule for the club. Review the calendar that they create (or encourage them to create one) and then work with the V.P. of Education to ensure that important dates are added to the calendar. This will is beneficial for planning of various activities including Club Contests, forming a nomination committee (in a timely manner) and holding a club election well in advance of scheduled Founder’s District LACE Training. It also serve as a reminder for critical calendar dates such as deadlines for dues renewal and submission of updated Club Officer lists.
Club Officer/Executive Team Meetings
This is a behind the scenes meeting that is specifically intended for the purpose of dealing with Club Business. This would cover any and all matters that time doesn’t permit for during the regular club meetings. It is recommended that you hold regularly scheduled Club Officer Meetings. Ideally the frequency should be once per month however if this isn’t possible, bi-monthly meetings should be the minimum expectation. The meeting should provide the team with an opportunity to share amongst their peers, get updates from each other and from the President and they should also create a platform for team building and further strengthening of relationships within the Club Officer Team and the club as a whole. If there are private or sensitive matters that need to be discussed this is the place for behind closed doors discussion to ensure that the membership is sheltered from negative subject matter. Meeting time should be up to two hours. You should prepare an agenda in advance. Each Officer should be allotted approximately ten minutes on the agenda to provide a report for their role. These meetings provide an excellent opportunity for those who are showing interest in doing more within the club. Never be afraid of inviting Officer Candidates for the Club to your meetings, this is a great way for them to gain exposure to the inner workings of the club. Most matters can be freely discussed with non-Officers present and when sensitive subject matter must be covered you can dismiss them from the conversation.
Support Those Who Support You
During your term as Club President you will find that there are many people who are reaching out to support you and make your term as successful as possible. This list includes members of your club, your Area Governor, people within your Division and the District. Support those who are working on your behalf to make your journey pleasant and prosperous. Return calls and respond to emails in a timely manner. Forward messages and share information with your Club Officer team and the membership. Make announcements and promote, promote, promote! Get involved beyond the club and encourage others to do so as well! Get involved with the Area Council and do your part to enrich others and make their term and Toastmaster year a success as well!
Building Leaders and Planning for Succession
As President of your Toastmasters Club you are called upon to further develop the leadership within your membership. You can measure your success not by how important and needed you feel but by how important and needed you make others feel. One of your primary objectives should be setting your sights on your replacement and removing yourself from the role at the end of your term. As a leader you will be able to measure your success by the number of people who (at the end of your term) want to take on new challenges within the Club Officer Team and within the club! As tough as letting go can be, staying in your role any longer than one year is self-serving and you begin to stifle the club and hinder the growth of the members. It is far more rewarding and better for the club if you empower people, challenge the membership, make them feel worthy of advancement and when the time comes clear the way so that they can spread their wings and further strengthen your club.
This is a resource that you can leverage in many different ways. If you have never logged into the website do so right away! Important Club related information can be accessed through the “Club Central” portal. This is also where you update important information for you club like your Officer list. In addition there are many valuable resources that you can use to effectively lead your club.
Primarily, The District is responsible for supporting your Club with Training and also for providing competitive speaking opportunities for the Membership via semiannual contests. This is another resource that you should bookmark and make reference to on a regular basis. Most of the District Officers (i.e. Area Governors, Division Governors and beyond) are very good about updating the district calendar with upcoming events. If you are looking for information this is one of the first places to reference!