2017-2018 American Legion Auxiliary Leadership
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
Leaders are people who do the right thing, managers are people who do things right.
Leaders help themselves and others to do things right. They set direction, build an inspiring vision to create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team; and it is dynamic, exciting and inspiring.
Yet while leaders set direction, they must also use management skills to guide their people to the right destination, in a smooth efficient way.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.
Leadership is proactive-problem solving, looking ahead and not being satisfied with things as they are.
Once they have developed their visions, leaders must make them compelling and convincing. A compelling vision is one that people can see, feel, understand and embrace. Effective leaders provide a rich picture of what the future will look like when their visions have been realized.
A compelling vision provided the foundation for leadership. But it is the leaders’ ability to motivate and inspire people that helps them deliver that vision.
For example, when you start a new project, you will probably have lots of enthusiasm for it, so it is often easy to win support for it at the beginning. However it can be difficult to find ways to keep your vision inspiring after that first initial enthusiasm fades, especially if the team needs to make significant changes in the way that it does things. Leaders recognize this, and they work hard throughout the project to connect their vision with people’s individual needs, goals and aspirations,
Effective leaders like together two different expectations.
1. The expectation that hard work leads to good results.
2. The expectation that good results lead to attractive rewards or in achieving the end result.
Leaders must ensure that the work needed to deliver the vision is properly managed – ether by themselves or a dedicated team of managers to whom the leader delegates the responsibility – and need to ensure that their vision is delivered successfully.
To do this, team managers need performance goals that are linked to the teams overall vision. Leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision.
They also manage delivery of the vision, either directly or indirectly, and build and coach their team to make them even stronger.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Invite new members to participate in meetings and events.
- Always greet new members and offer a new member packet.
- Provide unit officers/board of director’s contact information.
- Unit leaders should encourage members to work their issues out directly with the parties involved rather than attempting to fix the situation by intervening.
- List to what members have to say and thank them for their ideas.
- Be open, rather than critical, of the ideas of others.
- Assist in positive solutions to conflicts by focusing on desired outcome.
- Give praise and recognition when members do what is asked or go beyond what was expected.
- Build your leadership skills by volunteering to chair a short-term project.
- Give a short presentation on ALA training opportunities to the unit.
- At Your Unit Level – Get to know members of your unit. Help them identify skills they can use in service to our veterans. Not all leaders have titles.
- Survey members to identify their interest and skills. Match projects based on individual member’s strengths.
- Develop a plan to incorporate at least one aspect of leadership learning, monthly or quarterly meetings.
- Identify individuals willing to assist members who wish to acquire or strengthen computer skills to communicate via the internet.
- Identify individually who lack the ability to communicate via the internet and ensure their inclusion in all unit and department communications.
- Participate in the ALA Academy as a unit. ALAforVeterans.org
- Encourage members to take the Welcome to the American Legion Auxiliary Senior Auxiliary Basics. A course on our History and Legacy at www.ALAforVeterans.org under Leadership tab.
- Utilize available materials to collectively develop a unit plan for projects on wishes to work on.
- Ask members to review the Unit Guide Book, Unit Constitution and ByLaws, Department Constitution and ByLaws and National constitution and Bylaws. Note things they don’t understand or find puzzling and address what comes from the discussion by documenting the results. Set aside time to answer any questions that arise from any discussion on ALA documents, follow guidelines on www.ALAforVeterans.org. Submit to the Department chairman the name of any member who demonstrates leadership recruitment or development practice for a National President “shout out”. Follow guidelines on www.ALAforVetreans.org.
OFFER A MENTORING PROGRAM
- Utilizing the knowledge and experiences of members who have served as leaders beyond the unit level.
- Use positive experienced members to train and guide new members.
- Encourage members to volunteer to train/guide new members.
- Encourage members to become “experts” in some areas so that they can become the unit mentor in that area.
- Discover potential leaders and talent within your unit by collecting a unit survey form from every member.
Mid-Year Reports -- Due December 5, 2017. Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report by December 5, 2017 to the Department Leadership Chairman.
Year-End Reports -- Due April 15, 2018. Each Unit is required to submit a narrative report by April 15, 2018 to the Department Leadership Chairman.
You can send your report to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail at P.O. Box 928, Palmer AK 99645. Questions contact me at 907-745-2868 or 907-841-2757.
Wishing all a good and productive year sing your leadership skills to better our great American Legion Auxiliary Department of Alaska.