Episode 3: Reciprocity – A Key to Leadership


A confession:

This was recorded in July, not September, so when I say Grabenhorst in this recording, think Taylor.  Yes, our Jenilee got married to Todd Taylor, our Area 14 Governor.

Congratulations to our newly-wed District 10 officers and from everyone here – may you have many happy years together.

Tonight we’re going to talk about reciprocity.  We’re talking about judging or training or working on a conference. Why should people help out with other clubs?

Jenilee Taylor shares a few thoughts with us tonight – on the table.

Reciprocity – an interview with LGET Jenilee Grabenhorst Taylor.

LGET Jenilee Grabenhorst Taylor talks reciprocity.

LGET Jenilee Grabenhorst Taylor talks reciprocity.

We’re talking to Jenilee Grabenhorst [Taylor], LGET of District 10, and tonight we’re going to talk about reciprocity.  There are times when other clubs need help with judging or training at the area level or working on a conference.  Why should we help out with other clubs?

Jenilee:  I think a better question is why not?  We as individuals get stuck in what we see every day.  We need to have a brighter, broader outlook on the Toastmaster world.  So going to help another club with what they need will probably lead to others coming to help your club when you need help.

Kim:  So it’s a reciprocal thing.  I judge your club, you judge mine?

Jenilee:  It is.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be.  Because my TM world was brightened when I did an officer training at one of the prison clubs.  I went in, and at no point did I think that anyone from that club  could come back to my club and judge or train.  But I received so much from that training, seeing those individuals help to better themselves. Just seeing that was one of my top three Toastmasters experiences of all time.

Kim:  Wow.  Is it hard to judge outside your own club? You already know who’s there [at your own club.] Going someplace else… what if you don’t agree with the other judges?

Jenilee:  You never know if you’re going to agree with the other judges, even if it’s in your own club.  But it helps you to look at speakers you haven’t heard before, or maybe only heard once or twice and they have grown and improved since the last time you saw them… It helps to keep you sharp and your skills at the top of your game, when you’re not just seeing the same speakers week after week, and what their skill set is.  You’ll probably for your own arsenal as well.

Kim:  That’s a really good point, that we can learn from watching others who are performing or giving speeches we haven’t seen before.

Jenilee:  Absolutely.

Kim:  What do you think about training outside of your division?  I was invited yesterday to come up and train in the Western.  That’s about an hour and a half drive from my house.  I really have to think about whether or not that’s worth it for me.   I’m not going to get reimbursed for my gas or my time.  I’m not unwilling to do training, but that’s a long way to go.  Is it worth it?

Jenilee:  It’s absolutely worth it!  You will get to meet individuals that you may not get to meet at other events.  They may be unable to get to your club when your club is meeting.  So you’ll be able to share information with them.  Maybe they’re new Toastmasters, who don’t travel outside of their district.  So you are going to have the opportunity to reach out to them and be able to share different information with them.

Kim:  I hadn’t thought about it that way.  What about doing conference work?  You’ve got a conference coming up soon.  Do you need people to volunteer, or are you going to go to the same-old same-old people?

Jenilee:  Oh, no, absolutely we need fresh ideas, bright minds, individuals who have gone to conferences, maybe even outside Toastmasters, in other industries, so they can share their knowledge about what went right, what could be improved upon, how to change our format and what we’re doing.  Without new individuals, we may not have the opportunity to grow as much as we want.

Kim:  What kind of work do you have for us to volunteer to do?

Jenilee:  You could do something as simple as work registration or helping to decorate, or even introducing the presenters who are there.  We have two great contests.  Maybe you don’t feel comfortable judging, but you could be a ballot counter or sergeant at arms to help keep the door shut when people are speaking.  There is a job for every person and skill set.

Kim:  Could I do my HPL?

Jenilee:  You absolutely could.  Being a chair or a volunteer in the conference is a great way to earn your HPL.  As a matter of fact, chairing the Southern Division conference a few years ago was my very first HPL project.

Kim: Then we should be encouraging people to step up and do this.  How are you letting people know that this is something they can do?

Jenilee:  There will be posts on the District 10 website  and on our Facebook page, and emails coming out from area governors.

Kim:  Then I know what to be looking for.  Thanks for talking to us tonight, Jenilee.

Jenilee:  Absolutely.  Just remember to surround yourself with great people who you trust, and you’ll be a great person for other people to trust.

Reciprocity and Leadership

Jenilee has made a few great points.  It seems obvious that we get benefits from stepping out of our club bubble, – exposure to new information and ideas.  But those who want to get their DTM awards, volunteering for these events is a great way to get your name out there.  Getting the district officer role – Area Governor, for example – is based on the current officers’ knowledge about you, your professionalism and your abilities.  Imagine trying to get to be an area governor if no one knows who you are?  It’s a risk that some of the trio may not be willing to take.

Personal loyalty gets developed when we step up to help someone else out.  That’s not limited to Toastmasters, of course; it is a part of leadership.  You want to build your leadership skills?  Get out there and start by helping others.  The HPL manual talks about servant leadership.  It’s a way to lead by enabling someone to achieve their goals – surpass their goals – in the process of working together.

It’s interesting that servant leadership starts with listening, according to author Robert K. Greenleaf, who has written several books on the topic.  His ten steps place the responsibility to develop a supportive relationship with another before any change can be proposed that the leader wants to attain.  It’s even more interesting to me that persuasion comes after listening, empathy, healing and awareness.  The focus is not on the power the leader acquires, but on the leader’s ability to support others to their dreams.  – you can find them at onthetablepodcasts.com slash servant leadership (all one word).

When Jenilee talked about going to the prison, she had no expectations that she would get anything in return.  Is that where servant leadership must start – to start to serve others before demanding others to follow?

In the process to your DTM, you’ll be practicing leadership in a variety of ways.  Which way do you want to lead?

A special thanks to the new Jenilee Taylor for this interview.  She’s right about the upcoming conference still needing help.  We’ve got work to do to make this a conference a place where people will learn to improve their public speaking and leadership skills, as well as receive the awards they’ve earned – the DTM ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. on October 11.  I’m excited to announce we have 12 new DTMs to be minted!  We also have 5 or 6 who are unable to accept their awards at the conference so they’re deferring to the Spring Conference.

Thanks today to Toastmasters District 10, our show’s sponsor and the home of the world’s only DTM mentorship program.  We’re serving you so that you can learn to be better leaders.  As you can see, we’re seeing people succeed in their DTM tracks – we want to help you get to yours.  You can contact us on our contact page about ways to move you down the road to success.

Our music today is from incompetech.com.

Meeting is adjourned.

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