A New Co-Leader in Four Easy Steps

Suzy Landreth, Nebraska, USA

Adapted from an article in the Nebraska Pioneer, Spring/Summer 2013

I remember years ago when my mother purchased a new Video Cassette Recorder (VCR). Yes, I said it was years ago! My husband was trying to explain to her what all the little buttons were and what they did. She said to him, “I won’t worry about learning that now, just show me how to turn it on and off.”

That is how I am sometimes: part my mother and part Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind who said, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” I approach learning new information on a “need to know” basis. If it pertains to me personally, I am more apt to want to acquire the new knowledge.

Learning about a new skill, such as breastfeeding, is much more enjoyable when you are pregnant or have just given birth, than, say, when you are 16 years old and reading about it for health class. You might feel the same way about supporting a Leader Applicant if you have no experience working with Applicants or if you haven’t seen any potential Applicants on the horizon. You might switch into “Scarlett O’Hara mode” and think you will learn about that tomorrow.

Helping mothers prepare for leadership is easier when you have some basic understanding of the application process. Would you feel more confident when approaching a mother about leadership if you knew you could have a new co-Leader in four easy steps?

Before the application

Step one: Pre-Application Dialogue
Leaders can access Pre-Application Guidelines for Leaders at https://llli.org/docs/lad/TaLLLPre-ApplicationGuidelinesforLeaders.pdf from the Leader’s Pre-Application Packet. Learn about the four prerequisites a mother needs to meet to apply for leadership: Personal Breastfeeding Experience, Mothering Experience, Organizational Experience, and Personal Traits. In addition to describing the prerequisites, this resource will also guide your discussion of LLL philosophy, the work of a Leader, what is involved in an application, and the costs of applying.

Step two: Leader Recommendation
After you have thoroughly discussed the items in the Leader’s Pre-Application Packet with the potential Applicant, you will complete a Leader Recommendation form which is also included in the Packet.

During the application

Step three: Checklist of Topics to Discuss in Preparation for LLL Leadership.
Set up regular times to discuss these topics. Ask your Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) representative for a copy of this checklist organized by the responsibilities of Leadership. A compact version of the Checklist is available in the Leader Applicant’s Resource Kit (LARK), combined version, Part 3.

Step four: Preview of Mothers’ Questions/Problems and Group Dynamics/Management (Preview)
Many Leader Applicants save this until the end of their application but it can also be used at any time during the application. The Preview is a tool for Leaders and Leader Applicants to work together in mock helping situations. It can also be completed when the Applicant works through the Breastfeeding Resource Guide (BRG). For example, after she completes the BRG section on nipple problems, she might practice a Preview response about sore nipples.

As you and the Applicant address Steps 3 and 4, she can also be working on other parts of the application by herself or by corresponding with the LAD representative. For instance, she can be writing portions of her personal history, going through the background reading, and researching the topics in the BRG if she chooses to work on it on her own. Your LAD representative can give you a graphic summary of the application work. This can also be found in the LARK.

Breaking down your work with a potential Leader into steps and acquiring the knowledge to help her prepare for leadership through her application can be a fun and enjoyable way to gain a new co-Leader.

After all, as Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

Suzy Landreth has been an LLL Leader in Nebraska, USA since January 1995. She has held the positions of Area Coordinator of Leaders (ACL), Area Conference Supervisor (ACS), District Advisor (DA), Area Leaders’ Letter Editor (ALLE), and two separate terms as Coordinator of Leader Accreditation (CLA). She and her husband, Tim, have eight children; four boys aged 27, 26, 25, and 12, and four girls aged 22,19,15, and 8.