If you want something done… (ask someone)

Recently my Toastmaster club was discussing the re-occurring need to fill roles for our weekly meetings.  Most of the time a mass email is sent out asking for people to volunteer.  This approach reminds me of my experiences as a pastor.

In churches you often need people to fill unappealing roles.  For instance, we need nursery workers so we put an announcement in the bulletin and we give an appeal to the congregation from the pulpit.  Rarely, and I mean rarely, does this ever produce results.  It doesn’t work because if you want someone to help you out you must ask someone, not everybody.

I led youth groups for years.  I would often ask parents of teenagers to be involved – I’d ask them as a group.  I eventually discovered this concept of asking specific people to help with something and had great success.  It was ideal because I could ask who I wanted (who had the characteristics and skills I was after), I could avoid those I didn’t want (the quirky, high-maintainence types), and I would get faster results.  I asked a really fun grandparent-aged couple to cook for a youth group camp out.  They were great cooks, hard workers, and very fun to be around.  I was bridging generations, getting quality help, deepening an existing friendship, and having a blast doing it.

When I am the Toastmaster of the Day for my weekly Toastmaster meeting I ask specific people to fill vacant roles.  As a mentor I leverage this opportunity to make sure my Toastmaster mentees get the opportunities they joined Toastmasters for.  I ask them to fill roles they haven’t had a chance to yet and give them some guidance on how to fulfill the role.  I can also ask people who I’m not mentoring to fill roles and often times I can pull people in who are starting to drift in their club involvement.

Leadership often times is knowing how to work with a team and as a team.  Whether in the work place, volunteer organization, Toastmasters, or at home, we can accomplish more, be more efficient, and build affinity while deepening friendships by taking the time to ask someone to help out.

If you want someone to help you out you must ask someone, not everybody.


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