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Evaluating Your Effectiveness as a Leader

Christina DeSchepper
Fays, Belgium
LEAVEN Volume 35, No. 1, February-March 1999, p. 6

While attending an eye-opening Human Relations Enrichment (HRE) workshop with Pat Tatlow, HRE Instructor, I received a handout, "Checklist for Leadership Skills and Group Dynamics." I used it after a Series Meeting and quickly realized how it pinpointed exactly what went well and what didn't, helping me clearly see what to do the same or differently at future meetings. I then adapted the checklist with LLL meetings specifically in mind, (see checklist below.)

Now after a Series Meeting - preferably the same day - I take a few minutes to go over the checklist. I put a plus sign (+) next to the points I feel were successful and a minus sign (-) next to those that need improvement. This has proven to be a reliable way to answer that burning question, "Something wasn't right, but what?" At the same time I find plenty of reasons to give myself a pat on the back. Occasionally, if I feel as though everything at the meeting went wrong, I skip filling out the checklist to avoid dwelling on my negative feelings.

Before the next meeting, I read through completed checklists to remind myself of the special points I want to keep in mind.

In the long run, the checklist can be an aid to discovering a Leader's or Group's strong and weak points. You can work on weak points by discussing them at Leader workshops or Chapter Meetings, reading books or articles that deal with these particular issues and by simply reflecting on them. You can let other Leaders benefit from the strong points by sharing them at Leader Workshops and in your Area Leaders' Letter. Both strong points and areas that need improvement can be discussed in your regular communication with your District Advisor/Coordinator.

Give the checklist a try. If your leadership skills are helped by it as much as mine have been, then you, your Group, meeting participants and LLL will all greatly benefit!

Checklist for Leadership Skills and Group Dynamics

Preparing Myself

  • Was I well prepared?
  • Did I organize my materials ahead of time instead of dashing around at the last minute?
  • Did I take sufficient time to affirm myself?
  • Was I well-groomed?
  • Did I accomplish the above with little disruption to my family?

Opening the Meeting

  • Did I show people I value the meeting by being there early?
  • Did I start on time?
  • Was the meeting opening warm and friendly?
  • Did I make the mothers, especially the newcomers, feel good about being there?
  • Did I state the ground rules clearly and without apology?
  • Did I outline the course of the meeting clearly so mothers would know what to expect?

Leading the Meeting

  • Did I give priority to meeting my child(ren)'s needs?
  • Was I enthusiastic?
  • Was I warm and friendly to all mothers, not just my friends?
  • Did I encourage an atmosphere in which each mother, including myself, could talk calmly and openly?
  • With words, looks, voice and touch did I invite people to be equal with me and with other participants?
  • Were my questions and method of conducting the meeting non-threatening?
  • Was everyone mentally and physically comfortable?
  • Did I show my passionate belief in mothering through breastfeeding?
  • Was I respectful and supportive of others' differing choices without compromising LLLI philosophy?
  • Did I invite mothers to think?
  • Did I let mothers discover things for themselves?
  • Did I refrain from giving advice by offering options instead?
  • Did I respect each mother "where she is"?
  • Did I follow my outline and not allow the meeting to get sidetracked?
  • Did I present enough information and yet not too much?
  • Was I honest about what I knew and didn't know?
  • Did I offer as varied a learning experience as I could (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, intuitive, etc.)?
  • Did my co-Leader and I work effectively together"?
  • Did I learn along with the Group?
  • Did I have a good time?

Closing the Meeting

  • Did I verify that mothers' questions had been answered?
  • Did I show appreciation for specific contributions?
  • Did I invite mothers to take from the meeting what suits them and leave the rest?
  • Did I encourage mothers to have their own copy of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING?
  • Did I confidently emphasize the importance of membership?
  • Did I encourage mothers to use the library?
  • Did I encourage mothers to come to the next meeting?
  • Did I encourage mothers to contact me between meetings if they wish?
  • Did I end on time?
  • Did I end on a positive note?
  • Did I consider what to do the same or differently next time?
  • Did I celebrate my achievements?

Smile, relax and have a good time!

This checklist is loosely based on J. Illsley Clarke's book, Who, Me Lead a Group? Parenting Press, Seattle, Washington, USA.

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