True Secrets of Freemasonry

Those who become Freemasons only for the sake of finding out the secret of the order, run a very great risk of growing old under the trowel without ever realizing their purpose. Yet there is a secret, but it is so inviolable that it has never been confided or whispered to anyone. Those who stop at the outward crust of things imagine that the secret consists in words, in signs, or that the main point of it is to be found only in reaching the highest degree. This is a mistaken view: the man who guesses the secret of Freemasonry, and to know it you must guess it, reaches that point only through long attendance in the lodges, through deep thinking, comparison, and deduction.

He would not trust that secret to his best friend in Freemasonry, because he is aware that if his friend has not found it out, he could not make any use of it after it had been whispered in his ear. No, he keeps his peace, and the secret remains a secret.

Giovanni Giacomo Casanova, Memoirs, Volume 2a, Paris, p. 33

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lodge Leadership

It is a truism that leaders are born, not made. This truism, however, is not true. As a veteran of the military, and a veteran of lodge leadership, I can tell you non-leaders can evolve, they can be molded, and can be taught to be leaders. Like all truisms, though, it is also, on a certain level, true. A man has to be willing to learn to become a leader.

Our lodges need leaders, not men who have simply “put in their time”. If your lodge is not electing the best, most capable leaders, you are just marking time… and time has a way of eroding and corroding even the best and brightest if its not maintained and polished.

Today’s blog is a reference to something so simple, we all know it in our heads… but we need to know it in our hearts and guts. The following was sent to me by a friend, and was written by Gen. Colin Powell. Please take a moment to go to his website. Due to copyright restrictions, I am only offering the bullet points from his essay. I invite you to click the link and read the expansion on these points and share it with your address list and your lodge.

Perhaps this would be a good subject for Masonic education?

A Leadership Primer from General Colin Powell (Ret.), Secretary of State

Lesson 1: Being responsible sometimes means pissing people

Lesson 2: The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

Lesson 3 Don't be buffaloed by experts and elites. Experts often possess more data than judgment. Elites can become so inbred that they produce hemophiliacs who bleed to death as soon as they are nicked by the real world.

Lesson 4: Don't be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their own backyard.

Lesson 5: Never neglect details. When everyone's mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant.

Lesson 6: You don't know what you can get away with until you try.

Lesson 7: Keep looking below surface appearances. Don't shrink from doing so (just) because you might not like what you find.

Lesson 8: Organization doesn't really accomplish anything. Plans don't accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don't much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.

Lesson 9: Organization charts and fancy titles count for next to

Lesson 10: Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.

Lesson 11: Fit no stereotypes. Don't chase the latest management fads. The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team's mission.

Lesson 12: Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Lesson 13: Powell's Rules for Picking People: Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.

Lesson 14: (Borrowed by Powell from Michael Korda): Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.

Lesson 15: Part I: Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired.

Lesson 15: Part II: Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut.

Lesson 16: The commander in the field is always right and the rear echelon is wrong, unless proved otherwise.

Lesson 17: Have fun in your command. Don't always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you've earned it: Spend time with your families. Corollary: Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.

Lesson 18: Command is lonely.

Leadership is the art of accomplishing more than the science of management says is possible"

1 comment:

Peter Taylor said...

You must have been reading my mind Bro! I have just been looking the Path-Goal theory concerning leadership!

Using the Path-Goal theory developed by Robert House is based on the expectancy theory of motivation I see the Master’s role as being viewed as coaching or guiding members to choose the best paths for reaching [i]their goals.[/i]

"Best" is judged by the accompanying achievement of organisational goals.

The Master will have to engage in different types of leadership behaviour depending on the nature and demands of the particular situation. It's his job to assist members in attaining their goals and to provide direction and support needed to ensure that their goals are compatible with the organisation.

A Master's behaviour is acceptable to members when viewed as a source of satisfaction and motivational when need satisfaction is contingent on performance, and the Master facilitates, coaches and is seen to [i]reward[/i] effective performance.

Path-goal theory identifies achievement-oriented, directive, participative and supportive leadership styles.

• In achievement-oriented leadership, the Master will need to set challenging goals for members, expects them to perform at their highest level, and shows confidence in their ability to meet this expectation. This style is may be appropriate when the Brother tends to see a lack of challenges! Perhaps there is a lack of candidates; no Ritual to perform. Maybe short paper on a particular or learning a significant part of the Ritual to be presented on a business only meeting might be necessary?

• In directive leadership, the Master will need to let members know what is expected of them and helps them understand how to perform their tasks. This style is perhaps appropriate when the members are new and don’t know what is expected of them, or what paths may be open to them. Assisting the Lodge when visiting and attendance at meetings are obvious areas here.

• Participative leadership involves Masters consulting with followers and asking for their suggestions before making a decision. This style is appropriate when the member is using improper procedures or is making poor decisions. Leading Lodge committees comes to mind here.

• In supportive leadership, the leader is friendly and approachable. He shows concern for members' [i]psychological[/i] well being. This style is appropriate when the members lack confidence. Perhaps members have difficulty learning Ritual, so there are many other valuable tasks required within the Lodge; maybe these are more appropriate to making the member feel like he is contributing and wanted.

Path-Goal theory assumes that leaders are flexible and that they can change their style, as situations require. The theory proposes two contingency variables (environment and follower characteristics) that moderate the leader behaviour-outcome relationship. There is no doubt that the Lodge Master must be flexible!

• Environment is outside the control of followers-task structure, authority system, and Lodge group. Environmental factors determine the type of leader behaviour required if the satisfaction of the member and the Lodge goals are to be maximized.

• Follower characteristics are the locus of control, experience, and perceived ability. Personal characteristics of subordinates determine how the environment and leader are interpreted. Effective Masters clarify the path to help their members achieve their goals and make the journey easier by reducing obstacles; by offering help and guidance.

Research demonstrates that in the workplace, employee performance and satisfaction are positively influenced when the leader compensates for the shortcomings in either the employee or the work setting. This is applicable to the Master as well – he must compensate for the shortcomings of the Lodge and its members also!

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