Thursday, August 26, 2010

Are you being served?

Some people like to go to sleep while watching television, while others like to listen to the radio, and another group likes it absolutely quiet. I like to fall asleep while listening to podcasts. I currently subscribe to four different ones (a movie related one, a couple of geek news shows, and the Art of Manliness.) While listening to the latest episode of the Art of Manliness I was reminded of something I believe whole heartedly in but haven't yet discussed on the blog - servant leadership.

Before we take the big dive into this topic I'd like you to ask yourself a question. "Who am I serving?"

This question becomes very important when you take on a leadership role in any organization, be it in DeMolay, in your school, or in your community. When you set out to lead people, you are really setting out to serve them by offering your unique talents and vision to steer their organization in the right direction. When elected or appointed to a leadership role your job immediately becomes to do what is best for the organization and for its members, regardless of other motives. In some cases you have to do what is right even when the members don't want it (such as raising dues or changing a tradition.) In other cases you have to go against your own feelings and do something the members want (such as having an event you don't particularly like.) In either case, it's up to you to serve your members by providing stability and direction.

What does being a servant leader really mean? To relate it back to our theme for the year, it means "Taking Control!," but not in the way you probably expect. I'm not referring to control of the group or organization, but rather control of yourself, your will, and your motives. Any person that is in charge has to lead by example. Until you can take control of yourself and set the example you can hardly command an organization. You, as a leader, have to separate your values and wants as a person from the opinions and needs of the group. This is what we expect our Congressmen to do (although they rarely succeed.) If a person is elected to office and believes that the public library should be closed but his constituency (a fancy word for the people who elected him) don't want it to shut down then he should probably vote to keep it open (or else he'll face the issue during his next election.) While that was a simple example, it's what serving is all about - making things better for those who you lead, rather than making things better for yourself.

Let's relate this to the fraternity and to DeMolay. When you get elected Master Councilor you've been entrusted with the highest position of leadership in the Chapter. It means you've been elected as the highest servant in the group as well. Managing your time has just become more important because the Chapter is now relying on you to make time for it and to lead it in the right direction. No one wants to sit and stuff envelopes on a Sunday afternoon, but as the Master Councilor you might have to do this. It's part of serving your Chapter to the fullest extent possible.

Some of you may be familiar with the idea of an "Organization Chart." It's a graphic that businesses use to show who is charge and where everyone fits in the group. Generally, the "boss" is on top, with everyone else reporting to him / her in some way (whether it be to another person then to him / her or to him / her directly.) When all filled out, it kind of looks like a pyramid. However, in DeMolay our organization charts look a little different because of this servant leader idea. Let's take a look:
Well look at that. It kind of looks like an upside down pyramid, with the Master Councilor on the bottom level - and it's absolutely right. Your supervisor, boss, or whatever you want to call it, are your members, officers, PMC's, and others. You need to listen to and serve them to be effective. That's the real challenge of being in charge.

Who are you serving?

Frat!~"Dad" Seth Anthony

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