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PREPARING FOR LEADERSHIP
To Push or Not to Push

Jaina Best
University City, Missouri, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 34 No. 2, April-May 1998, p. 31

For many of us, a trip to the playground is sure to include time on the swing. Sometimes the person on the swing needs a push, sometimes she doesn't, but we are there standing close by and ready. If we watch and listen carefully, it's easy to see when a little push is not intrusive but something that can help the one on the swing to swing high!

The LEADER'S HANDBOOK describes a Leader's active role in the application process, yet many Leaders worry about “pushing" Applicants too hard. They may fear that Applicants will be overwhelmed by too many get-togethers to discuss leadership, too many invitations to extra activities like Chapter Meetings and District Workshops, too many discussions about aspects of Group management. For fear of offering too much too soon, so me Leaders wait for Applicants to initiate discussion on Leader activities.

However, it's difficult for an Applicant to set any kind of pace for her

application when she isn't aware of the opportunities available to her.

An Applicant needs to find a balance between family and LLL work just as

Leaders do. A Leader can help an Applicant find this balance in several ways:

  • Discuss balancing family and LLL early in the application. Look over this section in the LEADER'S HANDBOOK together.
  • Talk about how each Leader balances family and LLL in her own way. Give examples from your own situation: LLL activities that had to be missed and arrangements that were made with the family to be able to attend others.
  • Encourage an Applicant to let a Leader know if she feels overwhelmed. Reassure her that meetings can be rescheduled or other creative ways can be found to make sure she gets the information she needs.

Regular contact with the sponsoring Leader can help keep an Applicant enthusiastic about leadership. When a Leader offers an Applicant opportunities to attend meetings, practice skills and talk about leadership, she shows support for her decision to pursue leadership and lets her know that her interest in LLL is important.

When a Leader is confident that an Applicant understands “ family first,” she knows the Applicant will say no if she needs to. This approach allows her to make the decision about how much activity is too much. She can let the Leader know if she's “pushing too high.”

For an Applicant, a push can help keep up the momentum. Just like a person on a swing, a push is nice now and then!

Encourage an Applicant by:

  • Calling her on the phone just to chat as well as to discuss leadership;
  • Sharing your resources: books, newsletters, names and addresses of Area, Affiliate/Division and LLLI support staff;
  • Offering to carpool to meetings, workshops and conferences:
  • Introducing her to Leaders from other Groups and encouraging her to attend other meetings;
  • Asking how her application is proceeding and if she would like to discuss anything of concern.
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