Leadership - what does this entail - what does this mean?

Many women shy away from taking on leadership roles in Clubs, organisations and business. Why - the question that is often asked. Too often women feel they are not suited to the role, not good enough or simply lack courage and conviction to take the next step. In fact the whole issue of Leadership and women is something that is high on many agendas around the world. We need women to stand up and take on a leadership role in all facets of our business, service organisations, not-for-profit and for-profit organisations and we all need to work with women to make this happen.

I'm not going to focus on the business role for this blog but more around leadership in our Clubs, Regions, Countries and Federation in Soroptimisism. We belong to an amazing organisation that truly does make a difference to women and young girls around the world. However, as we all know we are silent in our promotion of this fact and silent in our communities. Yes we face a lot of competition from other organisations that are also geared towards women and girls but we are part of a World-wide movement that has presence and acknowledgement around the globe but if we fail to grow we will lose this recognition and this is something that many of us do not want to happen. So what can we do about this.

Firstly we need strong leadership coming from all levels of our organisation. Too often I hear (and see) women in our Clubs who are happy to be part of the Club but for various reasons will not stand up and take on a role of leadership in the Club, Region or Federation. Too many of our Clubs are recycling their leadership team because there are either not enough members or simply lack of women putting their hand up to have a go at being President or other elected officer roles in the Clubs. Yes we are all busy, and time is precious, but perhaps you need first to answer the questions - why did I join this Soroptimist Club, and what did I hope to achieve from being part of the organisation?

When you can answer those questions then you need to look at why you are not putting your hand up to be part of the leadership of your Club, Region or Federation?

I asked this of a younger member of a Club why she would not stand for President and her responses were: I’m too young, I have no experience, there are others who would be more suited to the role, other members have been here longer than I have, and I don’t have much spare time.

Yet this young Soroptimist was highly educated, in a senior role in an organisation, travelled for work round the country and was highly organised. These are the skills of a woman that we are looking for to enable our Club and Federation to grow.

Some tips for aspiring leaders or for those who feel that they don’t feel confident putting their hand up to take on the role:

1. Lead by example – Leaders need to show and not just tell – be part of the Club and not just the person out the front running the organisation
2. Show humility – leaders share the highlight and are comfortable crediting others
3. Effective Communication is imperative and that also includes listening to your members
4. Keep your meetings productive and limit the opportunities for time wastage – learn effective meeting procedures
5. Know your limits – we are also all volunteers so ensure you set clear boundaries and stick to them to ensure you can balance being a club member with your other family or personal life.
6. Know who to turn to when you need help – a mentor who has held the role before and been successful will enable you to grow and develop in the role but also act as an excellent sounding board when things go awry.
7. Learn from the past – history is a useful reference but take the good ideas from the past and refocus and repurpose them for the organization of today.
8. Keep Learning – everyone needs to constantly learn and work towards improving themselves. There is always a new skill that we can master and we always need to keep our minds open to new ideas and possibilities. (Source: Entrepreneur.com Article)

My challenge to you as Club Members is to look to putting yourself forward in 2018 for a role within your Club and help us bring fresh, new ideas, invigoration of Club dynamics and showcase that we can all rise to the challenge of being a leader within Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific.


President SWP 2016-2018

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