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What Do I Say?

Karin Gausman
Director of LLLI Leader Accreditation Department
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2008, p. 6

Why does the LAD need information from you? Because the three of us -- Leader, Applicant, and LAD -- are working together to design and implement a plan to help the Applicant prepare for LLL leadership, and to assess the Applicant's readiness for accreditation. Each of us does both of these things; each of us needs adequate information to do them effectively.

Perhaps you can't think of anything to write to the Associate/Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (A/CLA). Actually, you began your communication when you filled out the current Leader Recommendation form (March 2007). The kind of detail you provided when you answered the questions on the form describing what and how is an example of what is helpful to the A/CLA throughout the application.

A very important part of leadership preparation happens during Series Meetings and Evaluation Meetings. Your observations can be a guide to what the A/CLA should emphasize during her correspondence with the Applicant. You can ask about resources the A/CLA might have and can bring up topics that are important to this specific application. Following are some examples of helpful information from Leaders and how it could benefit all application partners:

  • I'm really excited by the way [Applicant] helps at meetings! I know I can count on her to show examples of how LLL philosophy has worked in her life. She's moved from needing information to helping other mothers. It's great to see the way she makes an effort to help mothers feel comfortable, and to include them.
  • [Applicant] has taken over the job of publicity, including meeting flyers and newspaper announcements. What a difference that has made to our Group! In addition to meeting flyers and newspaper announcements, she's also looking into making a Group Web site.

As the A/CLA assesses the Applicant's readiness for accreditation, she needs to know that the Applicant understands how to contribute to an effective meeting, that she's learning about what happens behind the scenes at meetings, and is gaining some skills that will help her manage the Group. The A/CLA can tell you when the Applicant's writing confirms what you are seeing. With your input, the LAD representative knows that the Applicant is putting into practice what the two of them have discussed.

Perhaps you mentioned in your recommendation that the Applicant needed to develop her skills in a certain area. The A/CLA might have suggested ways to do this. Let the A/CLA know as you see the Applicant acquiring those skills.

  • Earlier I said that I was concerned about [Applicant's] comments at the meeting, when she promoted her own religious beliefs. Thanks for sending the article. We used it to talk about the reasons why Leaders don't mix causes, and I've seen how [Applicant] has changed what she says at meetings to reflect her new understanding.

Your report lets the A/CLA know that your concern has been resolved. Writing about this might remind you to comment to the Applicant about it too, if you haven't already.

Another important aspect of preparation happens when you meet with the Applicant outside the Series Meeting. What are you and the Applicant doing to increase the knowledge and skills she will need for leadership? How can the A/CLA reinforce or add to what you are doing? Here are some examples of the kinds of things a Leader might write:

  • We have been meeting twice a month to talk about sections of the LEADER'S HANDBOOK checklist. Last time, we discussed "Planning/ Evaluation Meetings." [Applicant] took responsibility for presenting an enrichment topic about children's dental health. [Applicant] did a great job organizing her materials, and after a little initial nervousness, opened up well to the group.
  • We made arrangements to visit another Group's meeting, where we did the Listening Exercise together. Afterwards, we talked about why the Leader did what she did. We also discussed how the that Leader's style differed from mine, and how Leaders do not all lead in exactly the same way. We talked about ways to organize materials, and I showed [Applicant] how I keep everything straight.

The A/CLA can reinforce and, from her experience and resources, add to the information you've given the Applicant. For instance, the A/CLA might add tips about organization, knowing that such information would be relevant to what the Applicant is thinking about now.

When the A/CLA hasn't heard from either one of you, she may wonder why. A short note can keep her informed:

  • [Applicant] has asked me to tell you that she is newly pregnant and has felt quite ill. We haven't been able to get together. When she feels better, you'll be hearing from me again. The A/CLA can be a resource for you, as you help an Applicant prepare for leadership. She can help the most when you let her know what you need. Consider these comments:
  • My co-Leader and I are very much alike in the personal choices we've made. We manage the Group, organize materials, and lead meetings in similar ways, too. We are a remote Group, with no others nearby. How can I help [Applicant] expand her knowledge of what we look for in a Leader, so she will know how to identify potential Leaders?
  • [Applicant] is really nervous about telephone helping. She's afraid she won't know the information she needs to help mothers. Do you have any ideas for ways to help her feel more confident?
  • [Applicant] is feeling apprehensive about how she will lead meetings and watch her toddler at the same time. My children are older and aren't with me at meetings. Can you recommend any resources that would help [Applicant]?

The A/CLA can recommend helpful exercises and useful articles. She may also have access to publications not available to you, and can send you information from those. The A/CLA may also be able to offer information and insights that contribute to the Applicant's expanding knowledge base and developing confidence.

The A/CLA is eager to be a resource for you. She also counts on you, based on your face-to-face relationship, to add another dimension to the picture she has of the Applicant. She looks forward to hearing from you by email, by postal letter, in person, or by telephone. Please, contact your A/CLA today, and let her know what you and the Applicant have been doing, and how the A/CLA can help.

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