Aug 13

Leadership: According to Toastmasters

I recently wrote a post about leadership and decided to write a follow-up after exploring the Toastmasters International website. They talk about how difficult it is to define leadership. People have different kinds of reactions to the word leadership, but we all seem to know good leadership when we see it.

The Toastmasters leadership training program, which begins with the Competent Leadership (CL) manual identifies some of the areas that they perceive as being importnat for effective leadership.

“Mission. A clear mission helps the leader to focus the team so that they can ignore distractions and pay attention to what’s most important.

Values. When a leader demonstrates values that are in sync with the company’s mission and the team’s goals, everyone benefits.

Planning and goal-setting. With clear goals and effective planning, leaders make their expectations understood and team members know what to do at all times.

Delegating authority. The job of leadership is usually too big to handle alone. By sharing responsibilities with the team, a leader instills a sense of purpose and empowerment.

Team building. Establishing trust, playing to individual strengths, encouraging people to work together – all are important aspects of team building.

Giving feedback. Constructive, concise and timely feedback is essential to each team member’s success, and to the success of the team as a whole.

Coaching team members. A good leader must take on the role of trainer now and then, providing expert advice, encouragement and suggestions for improvement.

Motivating people. By providing a good example, learning each team member’s needs and giving rewards and incentives when appropriate, a leader can inspire people to achieve higher levels of performance.

Working for the team. Great leaders encourage participation, facilitate communication and provide an environment where team success is more likely to occur.

Resolving conflict. Conflict between team members is inevitable, and not always a bad thing. A leader’s job is to resolve the conflict in a just and reasonable way so that productivity and morale do not suffer”.

You can experience many of these elements by particpating in Toastmasters CL programme and eventually moving on to Advanced Leadership Bronze (ALB) and then Advanced Leadership Silver (ALS).

In order to complete the CL manual you have to complete 10 projects similar to the Competent Communicator (CC) manual, but you have to fulfill 21 roles in order to complete those 10 projects.

As Grosvenor Square Speakers where I am a member we try to get our members to complete two leadership roles for every speaking role. So technically, it is possible to complete the CL manual in 21 meetings (exclusing taking on speaking roles).

Until recently I had misunderstood how that particular manula worked figuring it was just the same as the CC manual. However, on closer inspection and with confirmation from Toastmasters International I have discovered that this is not the case.

Here’s out it breaks down. The project number is on the left with the number of roles you have to fulfill in order to complete it on the right:

1. 3 out of the 4 roles
2. 2 out of the 3 roles
3. All 3 roles
4. 1 out of the 4 roles
5. 3 out of the 4 roles
6. 1 out of the 6 roles
7. 2 out of the 4 roles
8. 3 out of the 5 roles
9. 1 out of the 3 roles
10. Toastmaster and General Evaluator or one of the Contest Organiser roles.

Just check the manual to see which roles need to completed for each project.


  1. Mike Donlan

    Toastmasters has done wonders for me, both in public speaking and in Leadership. . As a Vice President Education of Reading Toastmasters in PA, I may have to steel your idea of encouraging everyone to complete two Leadership roles for every speaking role. Thanks.

  2. Jason Peck

    Hey Mike

    Thanks for dropping by. Yeah, go ahead steal away. There seems to be a global problem with trying to get a balance between speaking and leadership roles. Having spoken to Toastmasters International this past week, they confirmed that it wasn’t isolated to the U.K. as i previously thought.

    The thing is Leadership is very important in modern business and without the speaking skills the leadership won’t be as effective and vice versa.

    Speakers should come from “a place of leadership” in their day-to-day lices as well as in their workplace.


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