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  • Writer's pictureAletta Rochat

Confessions of a Volunteer Leader


When you step into a leadership role in Toastmasters. chances are you'll face some challenges along the way. Sometimes those challenges are related to the time you have available, finding volunteers for your team or learning what needs to be done. Most often, in my experience, the biggest challenges are those related to managing people.


As much as you think you have briefed everyone adequately, things don't always get done on time. Our natural instinct when that happens, is to find fault in others. I've learned that as a leader, I have to confess that I could have briefed my team better. Here's what I've learned:

  1. Be Careful of Assumptions What is obvious to you isn't always obvious to others. Not everyone has the same experience or the same skillset as you. Check in with your teams to make sure they have the same understanding.

  2. Check that you've communicated your Expectations Have you made it clear when tasks have to be completed by? Do your team members understand why the timeline is important? It's always a good idea to have some check-points along the way. Use these to monitor progress and get updates from your team. If possible, show your team examples of what you expect. If a report has to be written, what format are you wanting it in?

  3. Validation is a powerful leadership tool Your team is made up of volunteers . They are also busy. Validating their efforts and commenting on their contributions goes a long way to make them feel valued. The more you validate, the better your team dynamic. Find a way to validate everyone on your team. Your validation needs to be personal and authentic.

Volunteer leaders don't always have all the answers. We also don't always get it right. By checking your assumptions, communicating your expectations and validating your team, you'll keep making progress.


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