March 2006 - Be Prepared
To create growth in your Grange, a leader needs to encourage each member to contribute their time, ideas, and enthusiasm to the team. In order to get others to give their best, the leader needs to be sure to show the way. The method of showing the way starts with being prepared.
The first step a leader should take is to be organized. Take the time to review your duties and learn how to improve yourself. The presiding officer needs a good understanding of parliamentary procedure and of the agenda. A committee chair needs to understand what the goals of their team are and what each member brings to that goal.
Being prepared is more than just being organized. A leader needs to come to each meeting prepared to offer a report of activities or suggestions of new opportunities. Come to each event or meeting prepared to have fun. Be prepared to start on time and to spend as much time as necessary. Be prepared to adapt to unexpected challenges.
Be prepared and become a better leader in your Grange!
When was the last time that you, as a Grange leader, took ten minutes out of your schedule and sat down with a piece of paper? Taking time to reflect on where you've been, and deciding where you want to go, is crucial for effective leaders.
By taking time to reflect on what has happened with the different activities in your Grange, you may think of ways to improve. You may also find certain things that did not move your Grange forward. Even more important for your team, you may have noticed hidden talents or interests in some of your members.
All plans start with some time to think about possibilities. When you take the time to look forward into the future, the opportunities will become much easier to see. It is by creating plans and setting goals that your Grange will move forward successfully with you as the leader.
Take ten from your busy schedule and become a better Grange leader!
Read A Book
Great leaders take the time to learn something new on a regular basis. For the new year, make a resolution that you will read one book before March 1st, and that book will be on leadership.
Suggested titles might include:
"Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson
"Fish" by Lundin, Paul, & Christensen
"Gung Ho!" by Blanchard & Bowles
"Good to Great" by Jim Collins
"The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by John C. Maxwell
"How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey.
Your local library or bookstore will have these and many others available. Choose one that looks interesting to you.
The hard part comes after you have read the book. Sit down and write a minimum of one paragraph on how your Grange could use what you've learned by reading. By writing it down you will distill what you've learned. Then ask your lecturer if you can have a few minutes at the next meeting to give your "book report" and share what you've learned.
Read a book and share what you've learned with your Grange and watch the incredible happen!
Let Your Team Have Control
Leading your Grange toward achievement is a matter of building effective teams. On of the hardest lessons every successful leader has to learn is to let your team have control. A leader's job is to keep the team focused on the goal and to get them back on track when they get sidetracked. When we know exactly how to do something, it is difficult to be a teacher rather than a boss.
Effective teams are made up of people who understand that they are in authority of achieving their goal. That means that each member of the team contributes their ideas and effort to move toward that goal. Authority in teams is vested with the members on the team. How, what, when, and who is decided by the team, not the leader. Each member must feel that they are in control of their portion of the effort to achieve the goal.
The second element is that the team knows that they are responsible. Not only do they have authority, but they understand that they are responsible to the Grange. They have the freedom to try new things, but the responsibility to accomplish the task by their best efforts. Each member of the team has shared responsibility and by that they find ways to achieve success.
Let your team have control in your Grange and you will become a better leader!
Cheer Them On
Your members believe that they are doing worthwhile work and have control of what they are doing. What more can a leader do? A leader must cheer their teams (members) on. Most important, all cheering must be sincere and true. Congratulating someone for something they didn't do, is as unproductive as not recognizing someone for something they did achieve.
Cheering should not just be for the end. It should be something that leaders practice every time members gather. Cheering members on may be a private word of encouragement or an announcement in a meeting. It must be regular and consistent from the leadership. It should also be passive, in that we give members to opportunity to accomplish goals without interference. When teams know that their leaders have confidence in their abilities, it empowers those teams to succeed.
When leaders are cheering their teams on, soon team members will adopt the attitude that they too can cheer others on. When teams are cheering each other on and each member feels that they are valuable and necessary to success, the Grange wins.
Cheer your teams on and as your Grange grows you will become a better leader!