Bro. H. H. Astbury
One of the most critical problems facing us today is the
question of Leadership. In Government, business, and homes, we experience a
sense of well-being or conversely - doubts, turmoil, and frustration, depending
upon the degree of this elusive quality that happens to be present.
The same is true within the Lodge with this one exception - if leadership is
lacking in our society, or our home, or our work, that fact cannot readily be
avoided. If it is lacking within our lodges, it an be avoided by members simply
staying home from meetings, and not participating in lodge activities, and in
some cases, taking their demit.
We are quick to place the blame for poor attendance on other factors - too much
leisure - time activity to compete against, too much pressure of work, too many
All we need to do is to exhibit some leadership in the process.
What do we mean by leadership? What is leadership?
There have been as many definitions perhaps, as there have been leaders. One
military definition refers to Leadership as "the art of motivating others to
achieve the aim" . . . so leadership is an art. It is something that can be
learned, as skill that can be acquired. It is not a case of "some of us having
it and some not". It's something Mr. Average Man can have if he wants it or
needs it badly enough.
What else? Motivating others! . . . so the Leaders is not a one-man band. The
good leader is the orchestrator, the conductor of the symphony. He relies upon
the abilities and the readiness of others to take part, and make a necessary
contribution. He cannot do everything himself, he needs help and support. How
about this? Achieving the aim! Now there's a mouthful for you. With every
leader there is an accomplishment to gain; there is a goal to reach. There is
something to strive for and it becomes the job of the leader to know those
goals, and to help others know and want them badly enough that, as a team, they
can achieve them.
What are our goals in Freemasonry? Certainly the ritual and the symbolism set
out the ultimate objectives of the order, but it is the impact of the various
leaders that ultimately determine how or in some cases whether, those Goals can
or will be attained. So perhaps it is the task of individual lodges, or
Masters, to set objectives on a yearly basis within the terms of reference of
our overall purpose, as a mark to strive for.
Now it's very difficult for a Leader, a Master, for example, to motivate others
if no one turns out to motivate. We are all familiar with the old adage, "You
can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". Well believe me, that
horse will never get a drink if you fence him off from the trough, or if, when
he gets there, the trough is dry.
What kinds of answers do you get when you ask a Mason why he doesn't attend
Lodge? Have you heard any of these recently?
"It's dull and boring sitting through the same old meeting month after month
with nothing new."
"I don't find I'm accomplishing anything", or "Unless a person is prepared to
accept an office there's nothing for him to do at Lodge".
If these sound familiar, or if you hear other criticisms, they can be clues to
setting the aim, or goals of your lodge. Put something in the trough!
Those of you who have visited other lodges occasionally, realize that each Lodge
has a distinctive image or flavor to it. Where leadership is evident the lodge
will be active, the goals will be there. Some lodges might focus on social
activities, some on the quality of ritual work, others on visitation and
fraternal relations, for example. The important thing is not necessarily what
those goals are, but the fact that they are; they exist: the lodge has a
Brethren, there is no magic in leadership. There is a plain prescription that
can be followed by those willing to work at it:
Make Them Known;
Draw Up a Plan to Aim for their Achievement;
Involve Others. Give as many as possible a "piece of the action".
Commit yourself to achieving those goals and stick to it until the job is
Determine your goals by an analysis of what you feel is wrong with your lodge.
Not enough candidates? Why not? Poor attendance? Why? Too many dropouts? For
What do we offer our membership in return for their time and dues? What are our
alternatives? What programs can we establish?
Having set our goals, make them known. Put an insert into your Lodge Bulletin.
Get a phoning and visiting committee working. Pull, prod, cajole, and wheedle
people to get out to lodge. When they get there, make it a pleasure for them,
they'll want to come back.
Give them something to do; preferably something they will enjoy doing. Make them
a part of the lodge; help them want to be a part of the lodge. Use their
talents. People like their abilities to be recognized.
And remember, if the Master and his officers are committed and enthusiastic,
that enthusiasm will be contagious, and will carry through the lodge and its
Your officers are your future leaders. They are training for the Chair of
Solomon, by systematically taking additional responsibility each year, as they
progress toward the East. So give them your support, and offer them your help
and assistance as they might require it, and you will have a strong, healthy and
back to top