Sunday, August 24, 2008


I have briefly touched on leadership in a previous blog entry, and now I want to expand upon the concept.

The importance of demonstrating leadership, as Master of a Masonic Lodge, cannot possibly be overstated. If you have been in the fraternity longer than five or so years, you probably know or have heard of a master of a lodge who may have been hapless, rudderless, and completely ineffective. I have heard it said, “It’s only for one year, it can’t be that bad?” But it can be. I truly believe the adage that it takes three or four years of strong leadership to rebuild a Lodge after a man who lacks leadership skills has been in the East. Do not let this rudderless man be you!!!

Here are my thoughts on Masonic Leadership.

I have been fortunate to live close to not only my close friend, mentor, signer of my petition, but also the man I followed to the East. We often carpool to Masonic events and I have found the time spent with him truly invaluable. Sometimes we complain about our wives and kids, sometimes we talk about anything other than Masonry, but most often we discuss the Craft. I acted as a sounding board for him on his way to the East, and I learned my chair from listening to, and watching, him. Now that I’m in the East, I know I can always rely on Jon to hear me out, suggest an alternate course of action, tell me I’m plain crazy, let me vent, or tell me I’m dead on. The latter doesn’t happen as often as I’d like! I’ve decided that this is a very important leadership and training component in my arsenal and it should be in yours, too.

In your climb up the chairs, be sure to watch what the other officers do and act at all Masonic functions. They will often have more “time in service” than you and will (hopefully) act accordingly. Select the good and positive attributes you see displayed and also identify the things and actions you don’t agree with. In situations that could have been handled better, try to identify what led up to the mistake, what was the critical mistake, and what should have been done differently. It is the wisest of all who can learn from the mistakes of others!

I have made this plug before, but you really have to get the book, The Leadership Challenge, by Kouzes and Posner. In their research, they identified five critical components to leadership which they put into the acronym: MICE-E:

Model the Way
Inspire a Shared Vision
Challenge the Process
Enable Others to Act
Encourage the Heart

I was introduced to this book in a leadership training course offered by my agency and I can honestly say it has changed for the better my perspective on life and my interactions with my wife, family, Lodge brothers, and work colleagues. Caveat: I know don’t always live by what I learned from this book, but I’m trying!

One last thing to keep in mind during your year in the East: this is a volunteer organization and you should act accordingly! Even though the Methodical Digest says that the Master rules and governs his Lodge, the reality is that if a majority of the brethren and/or your officers are telling you something is a bad idea, you really should rethink it through and heed their counsel. You may be right in making a unilateral command decision, but if the brothers and officers don't feel like you at least heard their concerns, they will vote with their feet.

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