Leadership Symposium

A Leadership Symposium was given on October 5 with Toastmasters International. It was divided into three parts with speakers:

  • Part 1: Characteristics of Effective Leaders (David Yung)
  • Part 2: Developing Your Leadership Skill (Deborah Bonner)
  • Part 3: Working in the Team Environment (Craig Gerlock)

David Yung shared with us the Asian words for leader which are:

It translates to Receive and Guide. This made a lot of sense to me and as the day went on, I felt it related to conflict resolution as well. You must receive the information and guide a collaborative resolution. David also said that a leader often asks, “How can I help?”

After discussing leadership styles, participants took a Leadership Style assessment and a Team Leadership assessment. We worked in small groups to discuss the results and shared with the larger room. Many participants were surprised by the results and took time to reflect on their leadership style and team dynamics.

The group then went on to the second part of the symposium with Deborah Bonner and discussed how to influence team members. Characteristics of effective teams, stages of team development, motivation, rewards, and coaching were discussed. Case studies were role played in small groups to practice coaching. Participants played out the scenarios using listening and problem solving to guide the conversation. We practiced direct communication which, as many of you know, is not always easy but very necessary.

Lastly, Craig Gerlock got everyone moving and thinking about Team Environments. Topics such as encouraging commitment, fostering collaboration, building trust, and resolving conflict were discussed. One take away was to not always strive to win but to strive to help. Participants worked in small groups to discuss two scenarios involving team conflicts. They shared their discussions with the larger group. Some participants added their own life experiences and other industry examples.

Throughout the discussions and role playing there was much laughing, learning, and eating. It is the kind of experience that I don’t feel you can get just reading the Power Point presentations. We were encouraged to apply our new skills and knowledge in our work places. I think the opportunity to role play added a great deal of value and I would encourage everyone to take this symposium. This was my first Toastmasters experience and I have to say I was impressed by what a safe, supportive environment it was to share ideas and speak publicly.

By Laura Fox

See photos from Tricia Spayer at the https://flic.kr/s/aHsmHuUia3 location.