6/21/09 - When Personalities Get Invovled... Has This Happened in Your Club?

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kg7hq Sun, 06/21/2009 - 03:43

Looking back over the decades... Shaking my head in disbelief. What happened to our local clubs?

I have been witness to this over and over again. Why do peoples personalities drive us apart? What leads towards the fragmenting of what was once a strong club and/or organization? These questions and more go un answered as it seems that during the transactions between friends, no one can catch things up front to prevent major damage to be shared by all.

I'm going to reflect on a single event. I'm leaving names, location, etc. out as this isn't really about the reason but hoping how to prevent it from occurring again in the future.

It all started with a new individual moving into the area and joining the local club and emergency organization. This individual has personal strength, good communications skills and seems to be charismatic. In addition, with personal history in successes and a strong technical base, and not shy to share them. This person seems to be a natural leader and a great candidate for future leadership positions in are community.

Now with the stage set, does this sound familiar? You need not answer this one out load as I'm pretty sure you can name the person. We seem to gravitate towards these types of individuals looking at them as a person to move us towards the future. And in my reflections, this is where we set ourselves and them up for potential failure.....

The above individual can be defined as a Technocrat. And with this and the very nature of our communications hobby, we will align ourselves towards the philosophy of Technocracy. On Wikipedia this is defined as: "A form of government in which scientists and technical experts are in control; "technocracy is described as that society in which those who govern justify themselves by appeal to technical experts who justify themselves by appeal to scientific forms of knowledge"."

Having Technocrat leadership appears, on the surface, to be the answer to all our needs. An individual(s) that finally understands the technical nature of our community combined with focus to drive it towards success..... Or is it?

I ask the question due to being, by definition, a technocrat myself. The above definition hits me in the face like a pie during a comedy routine. Does my own personality have the ability to destroy clubs and organizations without seeing it happening? The answer is "YES"!!! It is that very technical "focus" I mention above that will do it. "How dare you or anyone else challenge me technically as it is obvious that you don't have the background to even come close to where my knowledge is....."

I have had those internal feelings in the past and am sure they will rise and show their heads again in the future. It is what makes me a technocrat by nature. But with that said, I have gained wisdom over the years and with that have developed in communications, leadership and management.

Now let us look back at the "individual" you pictured at the beginning of this article. Did he/she have the skills to know when to step back and listen to people around them? Did he/she root their focus on the values of community or did they only address the technical?

The driving nature of individuals like myself, if not tempered with community awareness, will force a wedge into any organization/club without realization that he/she possesses that power to destroy. I had learned this life lesson almost 20 years ago as I was called upon to help address concerns in both a club and organization ran by a technocrat. Please note that to this day I still reflect on how a community of over 100 individuals ended up fragmented apart due to allowing for voice of one over shadow the voice of many. To be honest, it still bothers me in that individuals once call friends stood divided taking both groups down to a 10-15 person membership. The very fabric of the local amateur radio community was torn apart as the results turned personal.

As we collectively moved forward to correct the course of our organizations, it was apparent that we made some bad mistakes. We had given away our authority as a group to one individual. We did this not only in passively following but we also did this in writing. We implemented changes to the constitution of our club and then in turn shaped every aspect of our hobby around those changes. And when it became obvious that this was wrong, it hit at the very core of the individual we entrusted thus forcing this to be a battle personalities instead of collection of community. Lesson learned, we can grant authority but never responsibility.

Looking at the person(s) you an recalled earlier.... Have you or your group experienced and/or done the same? Are you setting up this person to have the untempered authority over your club and/or organization? It is ourselves that are at fault for taking the easy way out and letting one person run the show. If the person is not truly one of community, then you'll end up with a Technocracy without care for the very things we value in a hobby.

Lessons learned now allows me to step aside. I have learned that the things that make up my strengths are also my weaknesses. I know that in order to preserve the spirit of the hobby, I must not push my personal agenda onto others. I have learned to keep my personality in check and to allow others to grow and experience without interfering. I also learned that I can still coach and mentor when the occasion presents itself using the strengths of my technical nature to benefit others.

It isn't easy to implement course corrections when the current is taking you and your group in a self destructing direction. Technology isn't always the answer to the problem. The use of community is. Make the effort to provide strong leadership that promotes the spirit of our hobby and then incorporate the latest whizbang toys to support it. You'll find it is better long term than do it in reverse.

Try to keep people involved in the day to day operations of your group. By allowing for your organization to be a one trick pony, you are signing the death certificate to it. There are no free rides when it comes to a community club. There is a lot of hard work to be done in which everyone should have the experience. Embrace the technocrats in your group but keep focus of what the original reason that group is there. They are great resources and yes can be excellent leaders too as long as we don't shift to a Technocracy based organization. Keep the strong personalities in check while developing the quieter ones.

Having a club and/or organization isn't simple. But it can be very rewarding when managed correctly. Be part of the long term success and our hobby will grow for generations.