Democratic or Innovative

Toastmasters International’s 2020 Virtual Convention Speakers

By R. V. Varsha, 
Stagecoach Bengaluru Toastmasters Club, 
India Pathway: Dynamic Leadership 
Area B21 Director, District 57

In the year 2019, I was asked to lead a volunteering team for National Service Scheme Camp. That was the first time I took up a leadership role for a huge crowd. I was nervous, but with great enthusiasm, I took my first step. I chose five random, fellow students and planned the entire trip – transportation, organizing group activities based on participant interests. Every group was assigned a leader. Throughout the week, the group met for 30 minutes to plan each day, based on changing circumstances. I made myself consider the volunteers’ opinions and any creative ideas given by them. It was challenging but by setting up a group connection for 30 minutes, every day of the camp, we were able to successfully end the camp without any complications. I realized that I had a leader in me too. 

With this great experience I did research on leadership and came across various leadership styles. I began to make a small self-evaluation on what leadership style I possess. I understood that my style is Democratic with a hint of Innovation. The qualities of a Democratic Leader are to encourage participation, take decisions of everyone’s output, allow to take lead and Knowledge sharing. Whereas, the qualities of an Innovative Leader are to share vision, encourage innovative ideas, promote respect and effective problem solving. 

I was unclear: AM I A DEMOCRATIC LEADER OR AN INNOVATIVE LEADER??? A Leader is the one who shows path to the team while serving the team and who acts according to the situation, to eliminate risk. After much evaluation, I knew that a  leader can be autocratic, democratic, transformational, innovative and many more as the circumstances a leader might have to deal with. So, my leadership style is not confused: “I AM BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND INNOVATIVE”.