2019-2020 National Mentoring for Leadership Ambassador
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” – Author Unknown
Each day comes with an opportunity to embrace all that it has to offer. It is up to each of us how we are going to react. With so many challenges facing our members, now is the time to be resourceful, understanding, respectful and mentoring – leading the way to strengthen our Auxiliaries.
This time of year throws us in the midst of completing a year of outstanding service, celebrating accomplishments, conventions, election of officers and finding individuals willing to chair a Program or project on all levels of the organization. Please continue to review and follow the directions and updates outlined by National President Peggy Haake and National Headquarters for additional information. They will continue to mentor us on this unchartered journey.
Resourceful – For many there may be a little extra time on your hands, confined within the four walls of your home. Now is a good the time to visit the National website for valuable resource materials and review. Are you looking for interesting reading? Consider picking up your Bylaw and Ritual book and researching a new topic you are interested in. How about checking out Roberts Rules of Order? While not everyone is deeply interested in parliamentary procedure, take time to review and refresh your memory of the basics. These resources are key to mentoring and provide guidance within a leadership role. The Online Auxiliary Academy is a proven resource to guide us through processes and ideas. Reflect on the current year Programs through the National Program Book. Don’t forget to spend some time revisiting the Building on the VFW Auxiliary Foundation guidebooks. Stretch your horizon, research a topic you currently are not directly involved with.
Teaching – Mentors and Leadership can continue to provide teaching moments which are within your reach through social media, telephone, email and text. Is there a question you haven’t felt comfortable to ask in a group setting? Now is time to reach out for a one-on-one session with a mentor or leader of your Auxiliary. Are you considering taking a step forward in to a leadership role? Reach out to a mentor or leadership for more information and to offer your desire to take that next step.
Respect – All members deserve to be respected. Mentors and leaders should be reaching out to the members by whatever means chosen. The expression of a friendly “Hi, how are you? Is there anything I or the Auxiliary can help you with during this trying time?” can produce a sense of calm and compassion. Reaching out to a member will show respect for that individual. During this time of adversity we must meet the needs of our members.
Patience – Mentors and leaders, be patient with your members now and after this crisis has subsided. Allow the members time and space to respond to an inquiry, along with respect their need for privacy. Each of us has one way of looking at the Auxiliary and our surroundings. When the opportunity presents itself, ask for and value their opinion. Through the insight of many it will bring a scope of ideas and various ways of looking at situations of how to act and react. Now is a good occasion to ask individuals what they think and what ideas they have pertaining to Auxiliary business. I’m certain in some cases you will hear things you weren’t expecting, a new way of looking at old problems as well as renewed ideas.
Nothing makes an individual feel as valued and important as being asked for their opinion and idea. The inquiry provides a sentiment that they are an important link to the Auxiliary and not just a card-carrying member. The individual actually has a chance to contribute. This alone may provide the desire to engage more in change and development of the Auxiliary.
Leadership – As a leader it is easy to lose sight of what it is like to follow someone. Even though you, as a leader, have a higher-level leader to follow, you may have trouble understanding leadership from a follower’s viewpoint. Remember when you are in a leadership position all eyes are on you. You set the example and sometimes rules for the followers to follow.
As a mentor and leader, don’t ask the member to do something you clearly won’t do yourself. Don’t send the signal of “do as I say and not as I do.”
How can you become a great leader and model to others?
- Remember actions speak louder than words.
- Don’t set expectations that are unattainable or that you are not willing to follow.
- Pay attention to detail.
- Be open minded but willing to make the tough decisions.
- Ask someone you trust if there are areas where your actions and words don’t match.
- Always remember the members have feelings.
- Be open to assistance.
- Open the door to learning experiences for yourself and the members.
- Being a leader can sometimes be a difficult task but with a positive approach you will be respected.
“The most important part of being a leader is maintaining the desire to keep on learning. That means learning about yourself, about your peers, about the people you serve.” – Brian Koval
As this is my final blog to you, it’s been a pleasure to share my thoughts and hopefully instill some positive ideas and action.
All the positive mentoring that has been happening throughout the Auxiliaries this year can be destroyed in a minute if we don’t:
- THINK before criticizing. Don’t say something you will later regret.
- THINK before reacting in a negative way. Breathe!
- THINK before giving up. Don’t judge the entire organization based upon one person’s negative action.
- THINK of those that look to you as a role model. Are you a positive one?
- THINK who loses in the end with bad behavior. Our veterans, their families and the community.
- THINK of all the positive qualities of the organization, those we serve and serve with. Don’t tarnish that with negative and hurtful actions.
- THINK about being supportive, not tearing down someone’s dignity.
- THINK about how you want to be treated.
- THINK of what our members that have gone before us would say if they witnessed such negative behavior.
- THINK where the members and organization will be if vicious behavior continues.
- THINK how wonderful it would be to truly share in positive thoughts, actions and outcomes with your sisters and brothers.
- THINK how you can be instrumental in mentoring positive behavior.
- THINK about the future of the Auxiliary and those individuals waiting to be asked to join. Don’t disappoint their excitement of belonging to this amazing organization.
- THINK how excited and proud you were when you held your first membership card in your hand. Find that passion and excitement again.
“If you don’t like something change it; it you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit