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WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
Leadership is the art of getting others to do something you want done
because they want to do it.
MYTHS OF LEADERSHIP
Myth: Leaders are born, not made.
Have you ever heard the statement "He is a born leader?" While the statement
may be true in some circumstances, it also implies that if you were not born a
leader you may as well give up. This implication could not be farther from the
truth. Many of the great leaders learned their skills by watching others. By
identifying the characteristics which set great leaders apart from average ones,
we can all learn how to be successful leaders. Artists, athletes, musicans, and
many others may be born with the raw talent of their field, but it needs to be
honed, refined, nurtured and practiced. Leadership is no different.
How many times have you thought all good leaders are charismatic? While this
may be true for some, most leaders are not. Charisma is the result of effective
leadership and not the cause. Those leaders who develop charisma will tend to
receive more respect from their followers, which in turn increases their ability
to lead effectively. However, charisma is not a prerequisite for effective
This is perhaps the leading myth about leadership and is also probably the
most inaccurate. Effective leadership does not begin and end with the officers.
Leadership opportunities exist everywhere for those willing to take advantage of
them. Anyone who offers ideas by which the Fraternity can evolve has contributed
a measure of leadership. Those willing to explore ideas, set goals, and achieve
those goals are the most effective of leaders.
This is perhaps the most damaging myth of all. Effective leadership is not so much the exercise of power, but instead the empowerment of others. The great leaders achieve their goals by motivating others to act. They lead by pulling instead of pushing; by inspiring instead of ordering; and by enabling others to use their own abilities instead of denying or constraining individuals.
CATEGORIES OF LEADERS
Leaders can be placed into six different categories, regardless of their
roles within the Fraternity, based upon their interactions with others. The most
effective leaders are the "Team Players." As a Mason you will want to work on
developing your own leadership style until you personify the "Team Player."
The "One-Person Show" thinks of all the ideas, plans the implementation of
those ideas, and presents those plans to the Lodge for its "rubber stamp"
approval. This type of leader does not listen to alternatives offered by others
and has great difficulty in getting others involved. Other members of the Lodge
do not get a chance to volunteer their services because this type of leader
hinders their assistance.
A "Crowd Pleaser" is afraid to make a decision, express an opinion, or speak
out, for fear of rejection. Instead this type of leader lets others do all of
the talking and make all of the decisions. The "Crowd Pleaser" tries to satisfy
everyone and completely neglects what is best for the Fraternity as a whole.
This type of leader often drifts from project to project, accomplishing very
Sometimes when a leader tries to suggest changes for improvement and meets
with little success, he may become turned off. A "Turned Off" leader often
believes that he cannot make a difference and therefore stops interacting with
the other members. This type of leader does not make decisions and often causes
other members to become turned off as well.
This type of leader has historically been involved in every aspect of the
Fraternity and has taken every responsibility upon his shoulders. Now however,
he is tired of doing everything and consequently becomes "Burned Out." This type
of leader tends to procrastinate on every decision and may soon resent the
Fraternity for extinguishing his spirit.
Occasionally a leader may recognize that he is becoming too much the
"one-person show," and therefore allows everyone else to make the decisions.
This switch is temporary, however, and soon the leader resumes his domination.
This type of leader does not truly trust others to accomplish his goals.
A "Team Player" is not afraid to express an opinion or offer a suggestion,
and he is also willing to listen and support the ideas of others. This type of
leader works creatively to involve each member in the decision making process.
"Team Players" allow everyone to contribute equally which increases the
ingenuity of the Fraternity.
QUALITIES OF A GREAT LEADER
Who comes to mind when you think of great leaders? What qualities make these
individuals stand apart from the others? The following is a list of common
qualities inherent in all great leaders. As Masons we can incorporate these
qualities into our leadership style and become more effective leaders.
A positive attitude is the foundation of being a great leader. You must first
believe that you can be a leader in order to be successful. If you tell yourself
that you are going to fail, then you will. People tend to see things with their
minds and not their eyes. No matter what the situation, if you think it is
negative, it becomes negative. To avoid failure you must first practice self
affirmation. Tell yourself that you will succeed and repeat that message in your
mind. Second, be optimistic. If something bad occurs, learn from it, then let it
go and focus on the positive. A positive attitude is the first, and most
important, step to becoming a great leader.
Great leaders dare to be different. They stretch the current parameters in
search of new ideas. Too often individuals are afraid to venture into the
unknown for fear of making mistakes. Great leaders take risks and learn from
their experiences - good or bad. If they make a mistake, they take
responsibility and decide immediately what must be done to correct that mistake.
Individuals without leadership qualities seek to place blame on other people or
on circumstances and therefore never truly learn.
Great leaders take the initiative to find and act upon opportunities. They do
not sit and wait for something to happen. Great leaders are constantly looking
for new avenues of success. They make things happen.
Once an opportunity is discovered, great leaders set both long-range and
short-term goals to maximize that opportunity. The keys to setting obtainable
goals involve: visualizing success, breaking the goal into smaller tasks,
setting deadlines for the accomplishment of those tasks, getting to work, and
reviewing the goals. Great leaders perform these keys constantly to ensure that
no opportunity is left unused.
Great leaders understand that to achieve their vision, and gain respect and
authority, they must be willing to give power to others. They delegate
responsibility to other individuals and give those individuals the knowledge and
resources to succeed. When the great leader's work is done the people around him
will say "We did it ourselves!"
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUPERIOR LEADERS
THE HAZARDS OF LEADERSHIP
KEYS TO EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
The final section examines several keys to effective leadership. These keys can be used by anyone to develop a more prosperous leadership style. By incorporating any, or all, of these keys into your personal leadership technique you will increase your chances of success.
ABSOLUTES OF LEADERSHIP
The Absolutes of Leadership are a clear agenda, a personal philosophy, and
enduring relationships. Good leaders create environments in which others want to
give their maximum efforts. Regardless of the style of leadership you employ to
develop goals or resolve a situation you will have to create a positive
environment for others.
Followers need a clear idea of the goals being set for the organization. They
also need to understand why those goals are important. As a leader, your job is
to outline the vision to the members of your organization. Once the agenda is
communicated the entire membership can begin to develop a carefully thought out
plan that implements the vision.
A leader needs to have a pragmatic and understandable operating philosophy.
People do not like to work with those who are uninformed or who change
philosophies on a daily basis. Creating your own personal philosophy requires
three steps: learning, deciding, and communicating.
Life within Masonry consists of, among other things, building relationships. We constantly meet new people on our visitations, at our Lodges, on casual basis, and at district and Grand Lodge sessions. The growth of these relationships cannot be left to chance. The key to building and maintaining enduring relationships is respect for the other person. Respecting another person's lifestyle or point of view is not always easy. However, the importance of respecting others and developing relationships with them cannot be understated.
The following leadership styles represent four fundamental methods of leading
others. Each style is useful with specific types of people or during certain
situations. By understanding each styles' differences, one can begin to use
these styles appropriately. Problems develop when we, as leaders, have not
accurately diagnosed what people need by way of direction. Instead, we make
decisions on leadership style based on our own situation and not based upon the
other person's needs. A good leader will be able to identify which style of
leadership to use based upon each situation.
At this first stage people need to be told exactly what to do. The leader
must provide specific instructions and closely supervise the accomplishment of
tasks. Constant positive and negative feedback are essential to correctly
The second stage is a step up on the maturity ladder. A person at this stage
needs to be sold on an idea or a plan. Once that occurs the individual will be
able to accomplish those tasks without close supervision.
People at this stage are more confident in their abilities. They can decide
what tasks need to be done and what plans are required for future goals. They
need to have their ideas developed and expanded upon by another leader in order
to feel secure.
People at this stage need only to be given a sense of what the leader expects them to accomplish. From there they can develop and achieve their own goals and tasks. Little feedback is required to keep these individuals on track.
TEN TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP
1. Lead by the Golden Rule.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Do not make a rule you will not keep, or a threat you cannot or will not
4. Lead by example.
Do as you would have others do.
An ignorant group is a suspicious group. Provide everyone with feedback and
create a system of two-way communication.
Remember your commitment as a leader. Do not forget that people will look to
you as an example of how to act, behave, and operate.
Sometimes a few heads are better than one. Involve other people in the
organization's work and problem solving becomes easier.
Remember the last time you made a mistake? Were you given constructive
criticism or openly chastised for that mistake? Remember that compassion,
understanding and respect allow people to grow and develop.
Your members are counting on you to be honest with them. Aren't you expecting the same from them?
10. Prepare someone to take your place.
You will not be around forever. Start building tomorrow's organization today. With more people developing leadership abilities, the group progresses faster.
Help People reach their full potential; catch them doing something right!
ORGANIZATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND EFFECTIVENESS
- Total group morale will be higher in groups in which there is more access
to participation among those involved; the more open the participation, the
higher the morale.
If you measure success in terms of praise and criticism, your anxiety will be endless. The problem with praise and criticism is that if the group applauds you for one thing that you do, you feel good. If they don't applaud the next time, where does that leave you emotionally? If they never applaud, or are critical of your efforts, you feel hurt. In every situation, you are anxious and dependent.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company.... a church.... a home.... (a fraternity or team). The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
-- Charles Swindoll
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Last modified: March 22, 2014