Leadership (part 5) – Getting Others to Participate

Leadership is not an individual sport – others have to play or it won’t happen. I will discuss how you can convince others to join you and participate. I am tailoring this section to Toastmasters because I have been asked to speak on this subject in a couple of weeks, but this kind of leadership applies to so much more than Toastmasters. My great friend Ed, a leader in his church, said to me “You nailed it with leaders being servants. That is the way Jesus modeled true leadership.” This stuff applies all the way around non-profit organizations, families, and sports teams.  Your assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to create more leaders. It’s for you, so you have less dead weight to carry. It’s for them, to have purpose and a better life to live.

“Whoa, Dave,” you might say, “Why does it matter to me if somebody is a poor leader of a Toastmasters club I don’t attend?” It matters because you believe in the organization, otherwise you wouldn’t be part of it. It’s a good organization because of the people – the ones that came before and the ones that come later. It matters because a leader doesn’t want a failure like that on his watch. And I am glad it didn’t take much to convince you, I knew that it wouldn’t.

Let’s get on with the leadership building.

Now the foolish salesman will treat everybody the same. One size fits all. That is a shame because many will miss the point of their leadership opportunity. They need to know how this helps them. The things they need to know depend on where they are at in their journey. Some of the leaders are experienced. Others are just starting. I believe the key is how much or how little they have benefited so far. Somethings must apply to all. Here are some things you can tell them:


  1. Praise their good qualities. Of course, you have to recognize their good qualities first. And tell them. This should start and end every time you give advice.
  2. Remind them about teamwork. If you don’t have time to do it right, you definitely don’t have time to do it alone.
  3. Work the Toastmaster leadership program. You will read about the basic skills to be successful, practice to learn those skills, and fill larger roles to apply those skills at a higher level.

Experienced Toastmasters:

  1. People make the organization happen. A well run organization doesn’t happen automatically like the seasons, flowers, and fruit. You have received that benefit, so pay it forward.
  2. Now you have a chance to create your legacy and greater reputation. You are building your brand. How do people think of that brand?


  1. Others are there to help you. Nearly every situation you encounter, somebody else encountered that or close to that circumstance. Ask for their help, then honor that help by seeing it through.
  2. Leadership is rewarding. Whether you decide to conquer the world, or return to being the servant leader, you will always appreciate your own capability and accomplishments.
  3. You will develop a greater understanding of the organization, and of the skills you need to master your own definition of success.

Let’s go back to the first image that we had in this series – the one about the new leader. The new leader is ready to take on new responsibilities because of learning leadership skills. He is going to be a successful leader. But you are not that leader. You are not the Grasshopper, Kwai Chang Caine. You are the blind master Po. You have taught and encouraged the next generation of leaders. Because the greatest act of a leader is to create a leader that he himself would follow.


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