We have all experienced how leadership can make or break any association. Here are a few leadership styles that may not seem to negatively impact a club, but are sure signs of future problems.
President for Life
You have seen those “president for life”(PfL) leaders. Although they say they are unable to get anyone to step up and become president, the truth is that those leaders purposely do not spend the time training the next group of leaders. PfLs feel they are invaluable to the organization and that no one can care for the members the way they have done for these past many years. In fact, this type of leadership throttles the growth of the club, puts a kibosh on anyone wanting to become a leader and bring a new perspective to the group, and diminishes the effectiveness of the organization. PfL leadership uses the club to reinforce their own sense of value. They act as though managing the club is like working a magician’s black box – only they know the secret to managing the association. The club devolves into “so and so’s” club, no longer truly belonging to the members.
These leaders are basically warming the bench and the club will “fail to thrive” until someone else steps in to help the club. Hopefully club members will see the need for a true leader, and during the next election, leaders will emerge and be elected to office. I have been in clubs with placeholder leaders, and I appreciate the fact that at least the person(s) stepped up to fill a vacancy, rather than letting the club not have any leadership in place that year. If your club has such a placeholder, it is the responsibility of the board and membership to support that person, and develop a nominating committee to ensure that a qualified person is nominated for future years.
This is actually a just a group of friends who maintain club leadership by trading spots within the club on a regular basis. The President becomes the Treasurer, the VP becomes the Secretary, the Treasurer becomes the VP, Secretary becomes the President, and then the following year or so they switch positions again. Similar to the President for Life, the Musical Chair leadership blocks entry into the board by keeping club leadership between friends.
Do you recognize any of these styles in any organizations in which you volunteer, or is your organization dealing with other critical issues? LEAD for Pollinators can work with your organization to help ensure a sustainable future to support your agricultural community. Call us for consultation regarding: Strategic Planning, Board Member Training, Nominating Committee Development, Constitution and By-Laws Review, and other educational and board development support for your association.