Lacking Leadership

For the very first time since I have been a Lion my club lacks a president. How in the hell can an active vibrant club like the Frankfort Lions Club not have a president? How will we run a meeting? Who will coordinate the various club functions? Certainly not the Vice President. Let me back up a bit and explain some things.

Team and leadership

The Lions Clubs International (LCI) club constitution spells out an entire administration of President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and so on. The idea is that these officers will provide the leadership necessary to run the club. The three vice presidents, theoretically, are in training to become the next president by bumping up each year. So our first vice president of the last term should have become the new president, and the remaining vp’s bump up a notch, and a new third vp is voted in. Our problem is that we as a club do not hold the officer’s feet to the fire and allow the first vp to opt out of his graduation. He has had three years to think about it by the time he takes the gavel. He has also had three years of training in place so the job is not foreign to him/her. Parallel to these officers we have a separate team in charge of our largest fund raiser of the year. The First VP is the head of said team. This job is very important to the club but it is also a lot more work than being the president. We never have a problem filling the job of Wurst Fest Chairman. Why? The answer is a mystery to me. Perhaps running the Wurst Fest is a more fun job than being the mundane president.

My take on the matter is that people are reluctant to take on the responsibility that comes with the title “president”. The same people will volunteer for any number of activities throughout the year, but they definitely shy away from the title of “president”. I am not different from these people. I shied away from taking the job for ten years, and I have had extensive experience running clubs throughout my lifetime. At age thirty, I became involved with the Boy Scouts of America as a Cub Master. I wanted my son to have the Scouting experience. I stayed with the program for twenty-five years and moved through the ranks to various leadership positions before I finally quit. I accepted the presidency of a dying Garden Club and brought it back to life; it is still in existence today. As an avid bicyclist I joined a Bicycle Club called Folks on Spokes, and eventually became president and led the group for four years before I had to drop out to care for my wife. I learned that leadership requires a soul brave enough to put himself out in front of the group with a thick skin and psyche that loves rejection. Rejection, a word I hated, but learned to love. Rejection forces a leader to move down the list of candidates until he finds someone who will accept a job. Making phone calls is one of my least favorite things to do, but I force myself to talk to people with as much enthusiasm as I can muster in the hopes that I will convey a sense of positiveness and excitement. It works, but it doesn’t come naturally. For me it is a learned trait. Even now, as I ponder how to handle the lack of a leader in my favorite pastime-club I am reluctant to speak to people who are my friends.

Why is it that the people who lead our country seem to be the weakest candidates? Weak people are drawn to the positions in government. Maybe they do it for the money and because the work can be very easy or almost non-existent when there is huge cadre of bureaucratic underlings who take care of all the details. A leader is very often a figure-head who has the balls to run for office on his non-existent abilities. He wins because the guy he runs against doesn’t work as diligently Once the hard work of campaigning is done, the actual job is a breeze.

Leadership requires a desire to succeed and providing resources to like minded people in the hopes they will motivate themselves toward a goal. Over the years in my leadership positions I learned that finding the people to support you with the same zeal as you have is the secret. I don’t see this desire in the current members of our Lions Club.

A Leader addresses his ideas with a positivity and enthusiasm that makes people want to work with him. One of the images I use to sell is fast moving train, people want to jump on and move with it.

A leader gives credit to the team, and not to himself.

A leader is creative, and encourages others to be also.

Maybe it is time for me to throw my hat into the ring again!

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