Every chapter has them. During new membership (pledgeship), guys usually get the message: you’re going to be called upon to do some things even if you would rather be playing Call of Duty in your room. However, after new membership some guys have a tendency to let the wheels fall off. Could be laziness, could be academics, or could be a girlfriend. For the chapter’s leadership, it may be extremely difficult and frustrating when trying to motivate noncontributing members to become involved. I have had this experience during my undergraduate years. Many others have too.
Since graduating, I am constantly in pursuit of knowledge and principles from which I can effectively lead others. Here are some principles to lead by that deal with motivating others:
1) Everyone Makes a Difference. There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs (The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn).
2) Success is Built on Relationships. You add value to people when you value them. Aim to use relationships to build a foundation for success. Be interested, be a better listener, be empathetic, be honest, and be helpful (The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn).
3) Develop Other Leaders. Find, reward, educate, and demonstrate (The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn).
4) Be a thermostat, not a thermometer. One sets the temperature, the other one adjusts to the temperature of its environment (Make the Big Time Where You Are, Frosty Westering).
5) Do not Criticize, Condemn, or Complain. Criticism causes people to become defensive because it hurts their sense of importance. Instead, ask those you’re trying to motivate. People are not creatures of logic. We are creatures of emotion (How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie).
These are examples from three books I have read recently (still reading Carnegie’s book). A fraternity environment is a great opportunity for leaders to “test the waters.” These principles aren’t just for business men. These books were written for all positions of leadership and those who desire to lead. As an officer or chair for your fraternity you are being given real, meaningful responsibilities that affect the current and future status of your chapter. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have seen it in my own chapter. So, take your position seriously. But, know you have time to learn, even if your think you have failed (which you haven’t, trust me). Stay positive and create value for others.