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May 2024
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Reflect on Your Leadership Role

By Morag Mathieson, DTM

Toastmasters International President Morag Mathieson
Morag Mathieson, DTM

Most evenings when my father came home, we would engage in a similar conversation:

“What did you do today?”
“I was planting vegetables in the garden.”
“How did that go?”
“Mom wasn’t happy when I dug up her flowers to plant old potatoes.”
“What could you have done instead that might not have upset her?”

I would think briefly before answering. I didn’t realize it, but my dad was teaching me the value of reflective practice. It’s a tool I’ve been grateful for in leadership positions.

In Toastmasters our personal growth comes through learning by doing. We progress through our Pathways projects and reflect on our own growth in the relevant competencies. We have evaluators who give us feedback on our performance. Both help us acknowledge our growth and identify areas where we want to continue to grow.

When we take on a leadership role, we don’t have a formal evaluation process. However, we can reflect on our experiences and outcomes, as well as the impact of our leadership, to understand how we are growing as leaders. Insights from mentors and team members can further complement our understanding of our personal development.

I believe leaders are learners. There will never be a time when I know everything about leadership. I am eager to learn how to become more effective as a leader. Who we are now does not limit who we will be in the future if we are willing to learn.

In learning as leaders there are three important aspects: patience, perseverance, and perspective.

It takes time to develop and grow as a person and as a leader. We see those who are more experienced and may think we will never get there. Be patient and maintain commitment to your personal growth.

Perseverance helps us overcome setbacks and maintain our motivation in the face of failures or disappointment. Giving up on yourself will not help you grow, but keeping on despite challenges will.

Finally, having a realistic perspective on your growth enables you to see your progress and gain confidence in your abilities. While gathering others’ perspectives is worthwhile, developing your own perspective through reflective practice adds even more value.

The transition out of a leadership role is a great opportunity to patiently reflect on your experiences, and the skills and attitudes you have gained or evolved. Identifying the valuable lessons you’ve learned in Toastmasters will grow your self-confidence, which is something you can apply to your everyday life, enabling you to see just how far you’ve come.

Be a leader in learning!

Morag Mathieson, DTM

2023–2024 International President


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