From Coralie Frances DTM
For me the hardest part of the High Performance Leadership (HPL) was deciding what to do.
It wasn’t that I lacked vision, I had plenty of ideas but which one?
I settled for something straight forward – organise our Area Christmas social.
My unofficial mentor Steve Brewer, was not impressed. “You could do that with your eyes shut”, I was told. Damned with faint praise or a back handed compliment? Either way I could tell I was not going to get away with just box ticking, not if Steve was going to be on my Guidance Committee.
“Can’t you do something in your work place?” Steve suggested. I wrestled with that suggestion. For one thing is it just me or are others reluctant about coming out at work and telling them you are a member of Toastmasters as is if you are revealing a weakness that might be seized upon and used against you?
Secondly one has to be very careful about delegating at work. The danger of being thought to be getting above one’s station and antagonising the “who-does-she-think-she-is-telling-me-what-to- do?” brigade. I thought long and hard and then I had a Eureka moment!
My HLP subject
During my peer teaching for my Post Graduate Certificate of Education teaching qualification I had been involved in research investigating the benefits of video recording teacher’s performances.
In my workplace we also did peer review. I embarked on a mission to introduce the video recorder into my colleagues’ lectures.
Once I had the brainwave the rest of the jigsaw fell into place, so to speak.
Making my HLP happen
I approached my colleague responsible for peer review with my idea and once I had convinced her that being on my guidance committee was not going to be too time consuming ( my guidance committee, comprising my work colleague, Steve Brewer and Alan McMahon, met via Skype) she was delighted. She had an ally with a common interest intent on ensuring the sometimes reticent lecturers complied with their mandatory peer review. We had a common goal.
As we envisaged, there were some lecturers only too eager to star on video, others who needed a certain amount of persuasion and a small minority who ran every time they saw the video camera but it had the effect of ensuring they were timely with their peer review even if just to avoid me and that camera.
What did I gain from completing my HLP?
All aspects of my leadership abilities were developed and strengthened. Undertaking the project forced me to address areas which I would previously have shied away from. Sharing my ideas with colleagues, and delegating, giving others the opportunity to manage tasks rather than feeling I had to do it all myself; persuading and winning round doubters to my ideas. (Bringing people on board); supporting colleagues and feeling comfortable with monitoring progress without feeling that I was being over bearing; helping colleagues to develop in areas that were less familiar to them (I found there were people in the workplace who were bigger technophobes than me and appreciated my help) and most importantly for me, remembering to praise and thank others so that they realised how much they were appreciated.
Carrying out the HPL at work elevated my status and gained me my first “outstanding” tick in my annual appraisal for doing something for the department and not just for myself. Rather than regarding my membership of Toastmasters as an inadequacy, I found my colleagues were somewhat in awe and admired me for being brave enough to do “Public Speaking” and to commit to the extra work required voluntarily.
And the icing on the cake…
I gained my HPL and consequently my Advanced Leader Silver award for completing all requirements needed. Definitely a win – win scenario.