April 23, 2018

Leaders and Leading
Every year at the Grand Lodges Sessions, the “leaders” of California Odd Fellows meet. Our leaders include current and past Grand Lodge officers, directors of the various boards, and representatives from lodges. To be a representative, you must be a Past Grand.

The leaders make decisions about the direction of the Odd Fellows in California. They make decisions about changes in Roberts Code. They make decisions about ideas to improve the Order.
Not surprisingly, many of the leaders have filled those roles for years. That is not a bad thing. Experienced leaders are valuable. Every organization needs leaders.

When I visited lodges, their leaders were easy to spot. Sometimes, they were the Noble Grand. Not always. Sometimes, they were the Secretary or Treasurer. The leaders participated in nearly every discussion. Sometimes, they were the ones who corrected other members. Every lodge needs leaders. One good leader is great. Several leaders in a lodge is even better.

Leaders provide direction. But leaders can do much more. Leaders can make others feel wanted and valuable. Leaders listen. Leaders should encourage discussion. Leaders should encourage improvements in their lodge. Every lodge can improve in one way or another. Leaders should encourage ideas to improve their lodge. Leaders should encourage actions to improve their lodge. Leaders should try to inspire and motivate members to make their lodge meaningful.

Some lodges have one or two members who are the leaders. In small lodges, those members are vital to the existence of the lodge. Without them, the lodge will likely wither. In those lodges especially, the leaders must be proactive in preparing other members to lead.

Leaders should encourage others to become leaders. Leaders should share their experiences and wisdom to help other members become leaders. Help them learn how to plan an event. Help them learn how to run an event. Help them learn how to run meetings. Let them run events and meetings. Leaders should support and encourage members rising into leadership

positions. They should make sure that mistakes do not become a negative experience. They should make sure that mistakes are just a constructive part of the lessons of leadership. Remember that we learn from our mistakes. Those lessons will help us become wiser and stronger leaders. Leaders should be conscious of the need to develop new leaders who will lead the lodge in the future.

There is an old Zen proverb that applies to leaders and leadership:

To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk
with the master, see through the master, become the master.

If we want to nurture our future leaders, we must serve as an example and a model. Actions speak louder than words. We must let them walk with us and work with us. We must lead them down the path of Odd Fellowship. We must share our views and insights on leading. We must encourage and support them. We must let them become leaders. The future of Odd Fellowship will be shaped by our leaders and our future leaders.

In Friendship, Love & Truth,