This is my second speech, "When You Call Leadership." Hopefully, it's more interesting to read than it was to listen to it. It has some great information that I put together, but my delivery was off for this speech. I was standing in the front of the room, in the middle of giving my speech and thing thinking, "Wow, this is a boring speech." It would be beneficial to learn how to deliver material that isn't about Korea or animation, so I will work on improving in the future.
A lot of people talk about "when leadership calls". In college, you’ll run for a student government or a club position; at work you’ll apply for that management job; in Toastmasters, you’ll wait for someone to beat you over the head with a meeting role. Today, I want to talk about calling on leadership. You don’t always have to wait to be a leader. You can lead right from where you are.
One way to be a leader is to lead yourself. Self-leadership is taking a hold of your life, having a vision and setting goals for yourself. If you can’t lead yourself, how can you lead others? It’s all about creating a better future for yourself and being responsible for your actions. What is your goal for Toastmasters? Do you want to finish the Competent Communicator book in six months? Do you want to become a great evaluator? What about at work or in your community organization? Some things you can do is take on additional tasks. For me, I want to become a better 3D artist. So I’m taking it upon myself to create personal projects to implement so that I can get better and grow my skill set. I’m also taking advantage of online learning resources to learn new topics. I have weekend projects that I have outlined and big projects that can roll through multiple weeks. I set aside a 2-hour session one day a week to sit down and learn something new. You may not be able to fit it in your schedule all the time, but scheduling it at all is a good start.
Another way to be a leader is to be a great member or team member. At work, in a club, or in an organization are places you can set goals. If you see a change that is needed, step up and do it without being asked. If you want to work on critical thinking and problem solving, offer suggestions when you attend meetings. If there is a problem, try to help fix it. When I worked at TurboSquid, I created the new inspector training before I was a manager. The reason I thought this was important was because on my first day, my manager was on vacation, one of the subject matter experts had classes and another one was working from home because his car had gotten stolen. For the first two or three days, I was sitting at a desk, just reading everything on the website and watching all of the videos they had produced because I had no one to guide me. It ended up making me a great inspector, but I didn’t want anyone else to go through that.
When I was a manager, I noticed that our artists would complain about the inconsistencies among our inspectors and how they could submit a certain quality 3d model to one inspector and it would pass, but if the same model was submitted to a different inspector it would fail. To create consistency for quality and certification, I created multiple presentations to help the inspectors with what was and was not acceptable.
If we use Toastmasters as an example again, you can step up without having a title or a role. You can sit next to a guest and help them with the understanding of the agenda. You can invite people to meetings to encourage growth. You can just greet guests and make them feel comfortable. The Greek poet, Homer said, “A guest never forgets the host who had treated him kindly.” Sometimes people don’t come back because they don’t feel anyone cared about them.
If there is an intimidating meeting role that you’re interested in taking on, but don’t feel fully confident about it, you can ask to have someone share the role with you. So you can be a co-general evaluator or co-toastmaster.
Lastly, you can go to where the leaders are before it is required. When I received an email about the Toastmaster’s leadership meeting, I signed up. I went simply because I was interested in what they were teaching the leadership and it ended up working out great. I sat in on the vice president of public relations session and a few weeks later, I was presented with the opportunity to be VP of PR for this club. That’s an example of luck being when preparation meets opportunity.
Conferences are a place leaders go as well. At the leadership meeting, Chic Miller mentioned how surprised he was when he made it to some of the top speaking competitions. Some of the people he was competing against struggled to get where he was. It took them 2 years to make it out of their club and 3 years to make it out of their district. And that wasn’t because they were bad; it was because the people they were competing against were so good. Your eyes are opened when you go to conferences.
Sometimes you have to experience it. It’s similar in my young professionals group. We try to tell people how awesome the conferences are, but it's hard to put the excitement into words enough to make people want to attend.
All in all, my mission is to change your mind about how you think about leadership. A lot of people associate leadership with a title, but if you’re in this meeting, you’re already a leader. Don’t wait for leadership to call; call on leadership!
Updates about ongoing projects and interesting 3D news.