Leadership is a position that many seek, however not always for the right reasons. Some people are looking for the recognition or the prestige. They picture the kudos, and often will not think about the benefits for the team that he/she is responsible for and/or the job he/she is supposed to do. But what can you do to avoid this?
A couple of years ago, I spent time as an Area Governor for Toastmasters International. The intent of an Area Governor (AG) is to be a leader for 3-6 clubs, and report to the Division Governor (who has 3-7 Area Governors). The goal of an AG is to become at least Distinguished, if not Select or President's Distinguished in your Area. In order to do that the clubs you work with need to (among other things) achieve a level in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). The goals of the DCP for the club are:
1. Two Competent Communicator (CC) awards
2. Two more CC awards
3. One Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB), Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS), or Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG) award
4. One more ACB, ACS, or ACG award
5. One Competent Leader (CL), Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), Advanced Leader Silver (ALS), or Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award
6. One more CL, ALB, ALS, or DTM award
7. Four New Members
8. Four More New Members
9. A minimum of four club officers trained during each of the two training periods
10. On-time payment of membership-renewal dues accompanied by the names of renewing members for one period and on-time submission of one club officer list
If you are not familiar, items 1-6 deal with awards, 7-8 are membership, 9 is training, and 10 is administration. The goals were established because these are pretty much what a successful club must do. Now, items 9 and 10 are fairly easy to do, but let me ask you this: If you were a member of my club and I asked you to get your CC (10 speeches) done in 3-6 months because it would help the club reach its goal, how motivated would you be?
I'm willing to bet that most of you said you wouldn't be motivated, and you would be right. There is no reward to the member for completing the DCP, so why should you care? The club President gets recognized and some of the Executive Board, but so what? This is the trap that so many leaders fall into. They think about why it is good for himself/herself, without thinking about why it would be good for the members of the team.
Here’s what I told my Club Presidents to do when I was an AG: Make the Goals about the members! If you want your club members (in a volunteer organization) to earn awards (goals 1-6), then you need to provide a motivation that is for them. In this case, my recommendation was to find ways to acknowledge the accomplishments to the professional manager (i.e. boss) of the member. I encouraged the clubs to print and award certificates, write letters congratulating the member, and host an award ceremony where the member could be recognized (with the boss and co-workers invited). Steps like this provided motivation for the club members to achieve the awards.
The second thing I encouraged was to find new and original ways to bring in new members (goals 7-8). The award ceremony for the member (which also brought in co-workers) was an ideal example, because it allowed non-members to witness something that they could accomplish as well, and some wanted that recognition and joined. Others joined because HR or Professional Development groups at work were approached and agreed that Toastmasters was a great way to enhance skills. A final way was to encourage management to make the awards at Toastmasters part of the professional development goals of their staff (which fed back to goals 1-6).
With these types of recommendations (and the use of metrics, perhaps another blog entry), all 4 clubs in my area reached Presidents Distinguished recognition (at least 9 goals reached). My area was the only one (out of 35+ Areas) to do this in the District 56 (Houston).
Now, this isn't about me, and as a leader, it cannot be about you. This week, I would encourage you to take COMMAND and look at your goals for your team. Ask: what's in it for them? What do they accomplish, earn, or achieve by working toward your goals (and the answer hopefully isn't only: a paycheck)? Find the answer to that question, then work with your team so that they recognize this answer, and work toward it. If you make it about them, they will work harder and buy into your goal. Once they do that, the goal is nearly accomplished. So, remember:
It's Not About You!
What's In It For Them?