A C o m p r e h e n s i v e M a n u a l
dance, yet have no one to help put up the
not doing exactly what you do is one of
posters that advertise the dance.
the surest ways to drive them away.
Helpers are those folks who are willing to
Many people do not understand the func
take on specific tasks if they are asked.
tion of a leader. They think that the
They may come to the office and help
leader is the out front person who makes
mail out the newsletters or spend an hour
the speeches, or meets with the adminis
staffing a table or hanging up flyers.
tration, or talks with the press. These are
They may even take on a larger task such
indeed leadership functions, but leaders
as setting up a lending library.
are also the ones who think about the
group or organization as a whole. Lead
ers are the ones who think about develop
Core members are those individuals who
ing other people s leadership.
take responsibility for the overall func
tioning of the group or organization.
Have you ever been part of a group where
These are the folks who are the organiza
there were tensions and conflict over the
tional leaders and they are the ones
issue of leadership? Sometimes there is a
leadership vacuum and everyone is
apprehensive about taking leadership,
while at other times one person is very
Leaders are the ones who
controlling and there is a reaction against
think about developing other
leadership. Sometimes leaders bemoan
people s leadership.
the fact that no one else is willing to do
anything; meanwhile the other group
members feel there is no space for their
whose job it is to build the group and help
involvement. If you have experienced
others grow in their involvement.
any of these situations you are not alone.
Many groups struggle with issues of non
A common mistake that leaders or core
existent, poor, over burdened, or ineffec
members make is expecting or needing
everyone to be a core member just like
them. This is an unnecessary goal; in fact
However, leadership is essential for every
it is often a destructive one. People typi
group. Very simply leadership is the will
cally take on leadership one step at a
ingness and ability to think about the
time. It is from your passive supporters
group as a whole and to offer some direc
that you draw your attendees. People are
tion and influence in helping the group
not likely to help out if they have never
accomplish its goals. Expressed another
attended one of your meetings and/or
way, leadership is a composite of learn
events. And it is a rare core member or
able skills through which the efforts of
group leader that didn t first start by help
individuals are coordinated to accomplish
ing someone else out. Recognizing and
group goals. A good leader is someone
appreciating each person for their current
who does this well; this may or may not
level of involvement is the best way to
be the designated group leader (chair,
help them up their involvement. Berating
coordinator, president, etc.). However, it
people and making them feel guilty for
is useful for leaders to have a clear man
B u i l d i n g Y o u r G r o u p
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