It's popular to believe that a cigar-chewing, crew-cut, fire-breathing son-of-a-gun, gets the most out of people and is the prototype of a great leader. You do occasionally find instances of this but let's take a moment and think of modern US history from WWII forward. Does this description fit Franklin Delano Roosevelt? No, he doesn't fit the mold. Harry Truman? No. John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King? No. I think you get my point.

Great leaders in free successful societies can't lead their nations by being arrogant autocrats. Don't get me wrong you can be financially successful to varying degrees by being a negative leader, but think about it for a minute. Can a person who has so much of their life executed this way in public have a balanced prosperous personal life?

Healthy leadership always has a positive direction. Teamwork, encouragement, promoting excellence, fostering growth and productive critiques are the way that Toastmasters provides so many opportunities for members to practice positive leadership skills. Many corporations around the world encourage their current and future managers to join Toastmasters.

I have been blessed to attend many different types of management and leadership trainings. However the self-paced training I received from Toastmasters was the most effective over the long haul.

Surprised? Don't be. It works for a very simple reason. They have taken useful, available technology, and deliver it in a practical manner. By attending regular meetings at your local club (or other Toastmaster clubs) you take a clear guided step-by- step approach to leading and communicating that is easy to apply in ALL situations, both business and personal.

As a manager, business owner, Toastmaster club president, and former Toastmaster district officer, I can speak from practical experience that my leadership and management skills have been dramatically sharpened by my Toastmaster experience in a compelling way that I attribute to the duplicate-able and repeatable formula.

Here is how it works. Members working in the leadership track learn and practice leadership skills by serving in club or meeting roles.

The Competent Leadership manual is the core of the leadership track. It features 10 projects, which you complete while serving in various club meeting roles. An evaluator will give you feedback on each project, helping you to improve your performance. When you complete the manual, you are eligible for Competent Leader recognition. Complete the CL application in the manual and ask your vice president education to submit it online to World Headquarters. You'll receive a CL certificate and, if you wish, World Headquarters will send your employer a letter about your accomplishment.

After earning the CL award you can further refine and develop your leadership skills by working in the Advanced Leader Program. Members working in this program are eligible for Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB) and Advanced Leader Silver (ALS) recognition.

I don't receive any compensation if anyone becomes a Toastmaster but I do get the satisfaction of possibly having helped others advance their career and improve their personal life.

(C) Copyright - THJ & Associates

Author's Bio: 

Theodore Henderson, DTM - Distinguished Toastmaster
THJ Associates, LLC
Plan - Communicate - Prosper

During a career that spans over 20 years, Theodore Henderson has excelled as an articulate, organized, and successful business manager with a career in commission sales and sales management. He has demonstrated the ability to build and maintain profitable, long-term relationships with a sophisticated client base.

From international computer applications and telecommunications expertise to excellent management/team leadership skills, he is known for his willingness to take charge and produce bottom line results. His success-oriented attitude has enabled him to become a top-ranked sales professional and sales manager. He is a senior professional with a proven track record in preparation and implementation of marketing plans and complex sales proposals. This lifelong native of New York City is a vivid, persuasive communicator experienced in establishing new, profitable territories.

Looking for a new challenge, he launched THJ & Associates, LLC in 2003. His company provides both non-profit and for-profit consulting. Key focuses include entrepreneurship, education, and self development. He works with individuals or groups who have a keen desire to build a small business that reflects their passion and purpose by guiding them through a direct, simplified, and functional business planning process. THJ Associates specializes in facilitating a thorough business planning process that delivers a coherent, easy-to-read business plan appropriate for either a person who is new to owning a business or a banker to review for investment. His clients are able to properly stand before an audience of 1 or 100 and present their plan, vision, and benefit with confidence.