There’s a group or club for just about everything. There are groups formed to drive a particular political agenda, to perform civic activities, to play sports, to advocate a cause, to further research and understanding of a particular interest or to even to make money through investment clubs. Clubs don’t just form and operate on their own – often they need leaders to both start and to drive the club agendas forward. There are tens of millions of groups in the US alone. That’s a lot of leaders needed. But, leaders come from all walks of life and nearly everyone has the potential within them to be an effective leader. All it requires is some interest, effort and a little direction.
Why Do it?
Being one of the leaders of a club, group or organization can be one of the most rewarding activities you’ll ever do. It’s a great chance for you to improve your leadership skills while simultaneously working towards a goal that you likely feel very passionate about. There are an endless source of great resources that describe how to be a great leader in general – this article is not going to duplicate those works. In this article, we’ll discuss what practical tips there are to help you specifically be an effective club/group leader and a few ideas to get you started on your way.
Not everybody can strive to be a great leader – however being a good leader is important for the success of your club. Poor leadership can often result in the death of your club. Some results of poorly run clubs include:
o disconnection – members don’t feel they know what’s going on, what activities they can participate in or know how to even help. Some feel powerless to help affect change.
o exclusion – members don’t feel a part of the group/club either in decision-making or activities. Many groups by necessity need to be run by a vocal minority, however if people aren’t being heard, the majority end up leaving
o failure – poorly run meetings, activities and events mean you aren’t accomplishing your goals. People don’t want to be in an inefficient environment – many are there with limited free time – they don’t want to see it wasted.
o lack of purpose – every group has a purpose – it’s just not necessarily well articulated. Sometimes a goal is known but it is not well communicated to the members. Without a common goal, you end up wasting time with diversions.
The leader has the opportunity to not only prevent these club-killers from occurring but really lead and inspire the group to accomplish their goals.
Why can it be hard?
For some, being a group leader comes naturally and requires seemingly little effort. For many, it can be a chore and can be awkward and uncomfortable. Being a good group leader takes some investment in time. Most leaders have only their spare time to devote sandwiched between family, work and many other obligations. Since you can’t increase the amount of spare time you have without some cost (e.g. less sleep, less time with family, etc.), you have to use your time as efficiently as possible.
Clearly as you become better at something, you do it more efficiently and better each time. Most group leaders have never had the opportunity to serve as a leader in their past lives – so they are in new territory. Someone nominated to manage fundraising or help market the club or help drive membership may have never had the experience of doing it before. Also, just because someone has been nominated to be treasurer in a club, doesn’t mean that he/she are good at math and at managing money and budgets. They do have to have the skills and interest to be good at it though.
Still, the harsh reality is also one of the great things about clubs. It’s a chance for people to flex their brain into other areas they haven’t had experience in and to improve their skills sets. If you have the right attitude and are willing to learn, performing these activities can be even more rewarding than expected.
How to be a Great Group Leader
There’s no recipe that guarantees success and there’s no single recipe that will help you be successful. Below are just a few of the many things you should consider if you want to be an effective leader.
#1 Nail the Goal
Nearly all great leaders create a goal that is well understood and unambiguous. By having a goal, it provides clarity on where you want to go and what types of things you want to do – it helps reduce wasted time and effort. Crafting a good goal is not necessarily easy but once you have a good goal or set of goals established, it will help you carry your group forward more efficiently.
#2 Hear and Listen
People need to be heard. People often voluntarily join – heck, people even pay to join (membership dues, etc.) so you better understand why they are joining and what they hope to get out of the experience. People’s needs change and so it’s a constant job to always listen and understand what the groups motivations are. Some do this more formally by having information sessions and town hall type meetings. Others do this more informally by simply talking to people often and asking them questions. Others run periodic surveys and polls to collect the data. It’s tempting to operate a จีคลับออนไลน์ thinking that all members are like you. This type of in-bred thinking rarely creates a lasting environment.
#3 Communicate and communicate
Members can quickly feel disconnected, particularly if your group is run by a vocal minority. The more disconnected people feel, the less likely they will participate. Many clubs and organizations have regular meetings. Others use newsletters, email groups, website etc. to keep in touch with members and to let them know what is going on and what is planned.
#4 Give credit to where credit is due
People don’t necessarily pick the highest paying job they have offered to them. What most people prioritize the highest is to feel useful and valued. In a club, most of the activities taken on by members are voluntary in nature. While they aren’t getting paid money, they can get “paid” by the experience they have as well as the praise for a job well done by the leadership. While you might think it’s silly to create a plaque or a trophy or to have them stand up and receive an ovation at the next meeting, it goes a long way to encouraging further good works and helps to build the all-important emotional glue that binds groups together.
#5 Decide on Decision-making
Figure out the decision-making process early. Some groups are very formal and create a constitution, bylaws, amendments, etc. If it’s a small group it may be just simply that the president decides everything – just be clear about it so that when the inevitable disagreement comes along you have a clear way of driving it to resolution rather than wasting cycles bickering about how it should get decided. If you wait for a conflict to occur, then inevitably, political forces arise which can cause damage. Some different ways that decision making can be made are the following:
o autocratic – the leader makes all final decisions
o leadership team – the leadership makes democratic decisions with the president breaking all ties
o democracy – everyone who is present votes to make decisions
There are many variations of the above, like for instance, some groups perform a majority vote of all members present for a meeting and if it meets certain minimum thresholds.
#6 Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Clubs are often a collection of people tied together by a common interest. The variety of people who have these interests can vary greatly. You might find in your midst people who have real talent in areas that you can leverage. For instance you might have a lawyer in your group who can help with a contract, a PR person who can help with marketing your group, a software developer who can help get your club online or someone who has skill with fundraising that can help with your next event. A good leader should figure out what assets they have available to them and how they can be leveraged. Leverageable expertise can easily come from outside of the group, such as through advisors or just through your personal connections. Nearly everyone you know is or has been a part of a club and many have served in some leadership capacity. If you just ask around you can often find a person who has performed a similar role and be able to learn from them.
#7 Lead by Example
The leader often sets the tone for the group. By making decisions, interacting with people, even showing up to meetings on-time, the leader is setting the tone for how things are expected to run. Unlike the dynamics of a company, where a leader often has hiring and firing authority, in clubs and groups, it’s different. The leader may not have that level of authority – this means that leading by example is even more important.
#8 Think Two Steps Ahead
A group leader needs to think about the big picture and drive the group forward. A group leader often needs to delegate tasks to others in order to get the job done, get the job done well and to free up the time for the group leader to think about how to propel the club forward. A group leader needs to understand the dynamics of the situation and understand at a high level what is needed – is the club properly financed or will they run out of money? Has new membership rates been increasing or decreasing and why? Is the group accomplishing their goals? What are the goals for the next 12 months? Are members happy and fulfilled? What is the membership retention? The leader also needs to understand the softer dynamics of the group – for instance, are the old guard of members inflexible to change? Are the new members trying to create change too strongly? Are there troublemakers in the group that are unproductive? Understanding these issues enables the leader to fix these problems.