Developing Your Leadership Skills Through ASTM International

How do you become a renowned technical expert and a dynamic leader at the same time? One proven answer is to get involved in ASTM International.

Creating and revising the world’s most respected standards requires all the skills of leadership:

  • You need to communicate effectively with the people in your task groups, subcommittees, and committees.
  • You need to thoughtfully plan for how to usher a standard or a revision through the process, keeping in mind policies, key meeting dates, balloting procedures, and more.
  • You need to negotiate and manage conflict among stakeholders who might not completely share your or others' point of view…

and the list goes on.

Over the years, I have worked with dozens of technical committees and thousands of members. One of the most rewarding things to see is how a member can truly transform into a leader in the standardization community as well as in their career.

How can you build your leadership skills at ASTM International?

Most of our committees have in-person meetings twice a year. You can simply show up and volunteer for a task group. After you get your feet wet, you could even serve as the official technical contact for a new work item or a standard. 

As you get more involved, you’ll start to learn how to gather and synthesize inputs from a variety of stakeholders. It’s an exciting challenge, but you’ll find that it’s immensely rewarding to converge on consensus and to see a standard get published or updated.

From there, you might help guide the development of additional standards in task groups and subcommittees that pique your interest. And, if people start to recognize you as someone who is efficient, effective, and trustworthy, you might naturally step into a formal leadership role in one of our 2,000 subcommittees or nearly 150 main committees.

These roles could involve developing meeting agendas, taking minutes, managing the member roster, and/or leading meetings as a chairperson. (Furthermore, you could even be asked to serve in a unique capacity such as in our staff’s global outreach efforts, our organization-wide standing committees, or even our board of directors.)

Along the way, you will begin to see many ways that the leaderships skills you gain in ASTM International and in your daily work start to build upon each other. Leadership skills will become more intuitive and natural.

And, of course, as you become a leader, you will start to give back. Many of our chairpersons, for example, have become mentors to emerging standards professionals. They inspire and encourage the next generation of standards leaders from their own companies — or other organizations — who have great potential.

For decades, the cultivation of leadership skills has been a hallmark of ASTM International’s culture. 

We’re extremely proud of that, and we’re always looking to attract, support, recognize, and develop more leaders who move our mission forward.

Are you ready to learn skills that can help advance your career? Are you looking to broaden your impact on your industry? Are you looking to stretch and grow in ways you didn’t think possible?

This happens every day for our 30,000 members. You’ve found the right place.