Are the leaders in your Toastmasters Club protective of individual member rights? It is that time of year when your Toastmasters Club should be preparing to roll in a new team of leaders! Fresh minds, attitudes and perspectives are an essential ingredient for keeping your club healthy and vibrant!
The leaders in way too many clubs and other organizations get caught up in popularity contests and stacked up with favoritism which can end up making the representation imbalanced, one sided and cliquish. The proven danger of this is that it can negatively impact retention and it stunts membership growth.
A Nomination Committee provides the checks and balance necessary to ensure that no one plays favorites and that each person gets a fair and equal say and opportunity to contribute and participate. In addition, the Committee looks for new talent and up and comers in order to promote the leadership and growth opportunities that contribute to a flourishing environment.
Especially in Toastmasters, people need to feel encouraged to accept a nomination or throw their name into the hat. The Nomination Committee should accept nominations and also seek out members of the club whom they feel will act responsibly to serve the best interests of the club throughout their term.
In my personal opinion, it is healthy to have multiple candidates for Club Officer roles. This promotes some friendly competition, it forces candidates to think about why they are the most suitable candidate, how they are going to persuade the membership to vote in their favor and what committments that they are prepared to make before being elected. It deters complacency!
The successful candidate who earns the majority vote should feel a higher degree of accountability to the membership, especially to those who voted for them.
The recommended procedure for forming and Nomination Committee and holding club elections is outlined on Page 55 and 56 of the Club Leadership Handbook http://www.toastmasters.org/~/media/E51A693193F749AE91FD79F6DB839534.ashx
The first club that I was a member of created a Nomination Form that was circulated to all of the members by the Nomination Committee. On the top half of the form, you wrote your name and for each Club Officer role you indicated one of the following:
- I would like to serve as
- I’m willing to serve as
- I’m not willing to serve as
On the bottom half of the form each of the Club Officer roles was listed and you nominated one or several candidates for each role.
On many occasions, I have been told, no one will step up, no one is interested in serving as a Club Officer in our Club. Usually the person who has told me this has served in the same role for multiple terms (which is contrary to the Governing Documents of Toastmasters International). This usually isn’t the case at all. People are willing to serve and they will serve, it is all in the way that they are asked and encouraged to do so. If leaders within your club are clinging onto leadership roles and not freeing up these opportunities for others to participate and add value to the club then you may want to refer them to the recommended guidelines and procedures otherwise you are condoning actions that are likely to stagnate individual members and club growth. If you are ready for your next leadership learning experience then I highly recommend serving as a Club Officer!