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Chicken or egg?

15 January 24

Does a terrific WM make a terrific lodge,
or does a terrific lodge make a terrific WM?

We’ve all seen it, haven’t we? A keen young mason works his way through the Offices and eventually reaches the Chair. And his enthusiasm is quenched. The dead, or dying, hand of inertia trumps unbridled enthusiasm.

The PMs of yesteryear whisper (not so) quietly in the background.

‘It failed in my year.’

‘Grand Lodge wouldn’t like it.’

‘We’ve never done that before.’

‘Young men with young ideas!’ (As if youth and wisdom cannot coexist.)

So, the new WM charges ahead and wonders why so few of his brethren follow him; really support him. If he has enough enthusiasm and a strong belief in his own ability he may be able to organise his support before he has to plan the installation of his successor.

How could he have done better?

Not a magic wand. Forward planning.

During his year as Senior Warden the keen ‘WM-presumptive’ needs to decide what he wants to achieve as WM and set the foundation of his plans so that he has some likelihood of meeting his objectives.

The WM, having been installed, who only then starts to think about his year and his objectives is not going to have a team of supporters ready on the starting blocks and eager to hear the starter’s pistol! But if he has sorted out the leaders from the followers and ‘sold’ his ideas and objectives he will be able to share the load and do the research that will make his year a success.

Brethren like balance in their masonic experience. If the WM pursues a radical plan – perhaps a whole year of Masonic Education, it will generate discontent – as will a year of total focus on degree work (although many would consider twelve nights of degree work as near to Nirvana), ignoring the fact that the WM is also tasked with ‘instructing the breth­ren in Freemasonry’.

Delegation. The WM of a lodge does not have to make every single decision. He can, and should, delegate. In fact, if you give junior brethren authority to actually DO SOMETHING they will truly begin to be part of the lodge’s fabric. Get your brethren used to making decisions and they will be able to support you as WM without having to seek your approval on matters of detail.

During your year in office use these brethren to drive your agenda. Remember to allow them to make mistakes so long as they learn from those mistakes.

Stretch your brethren. Work out what you need them to do and then set the bar a little bit higher. Stretch them but don’t break them.

Involve your DGIW and your RGC. Do all that you can to get them helping you to achieve YOUR objectives rather than marching to the beat of their drum!

Finally, when you succeed, give the credit to your brethren, and if you fail take the blame yourself.

It’s called, ‘Leadership’.

By RW Bro Rochard Dawes - December 2017 Freemason


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