Intuition and Reasons – 04/16/09

A Leader That Influences

Vol. I, No. 02 * 16 April 2009

2009 Vice President for Operations

It has been a good number of years that I lost touch of the Jaycee movement. The last time I was actively involved was when I was President of the USC Junior Jaycees chapter when I was in my 4th year in Industrial Engineering.

Amidst its many challenges we faced as a team, we emerged successful, winning almost all if not all major awards both in the Area Conference and National Convention. After my term, I got caught up with a lot of school projects being a graduating student but I remained idealistic to the cause of the organization.

After 10 long years, I suddenly found myself being part of JCI again. It was great seeing old friends, refreshing to see new ones and exciting to learn new things. A lot has changed, definitely, but I believe that the change was for the organization to adapt with the times.

A week or so ago, I had a revealing conversation with one of the members who had been with the movement for quite sometime. I particularly mentioned my surprise to the changes, my frustrations with the system and how I’m sort of disillusioned with the kind of issues that pervaded the organization. Part of the answer given to me was that, it’s part of politics. One has to play the game if one wants to survive. The leadership organization has evolved into a political organization? That bothered me and I contemplated on it for a week.

What is politics? Is it really bad as we perceived it to be? The mention of the word itself, in the absence of any adjective, already connotes a negative meaning. Politics in itself is not bad and I would agree it’s part of any organization. It’s the people who play it and how they play it that defines the kind of politics in an organization.

Where does the leader come in? As a leader I accept there is politics. As a leader I see the limitations, I see the imperfections and the strength of the organization. Do I go with the flow because; hey everybody’s saying this is how things must be done? Or do I silently step in and slowly, yet consistently and persistently steer the organization back to its tracks?

Who says it will be easy? Who says making a difference happens overnight? Influencing is not devoid of risks and fear. But a leader would rather “yank the diseased tooth”* rather than see the entire system slowly degenerate. “A leader knows how to hate the right things well.”* Just like politics, hate in itself is not a “bad” word. Rather, it defines us as a person through the things that we hate. A leader knows that things like corruption, lying, discrimination, evil practices or anything that hurt others and cause dissonance in relationships are the right things that must be hated. Hate the right things well. When we hate these things, we just don’t hate them yesterday or today. We hate them well – consistently and persistently. This moves us to do something to eradicate these things. Person by person. Issue by issue. Soon the organization takes on a new culture, back on its tracks, back to its true cause.

We need leaders who have the moral fiber to influence. To influence the members of the organization to learn how to hate the right things well and bond to “yank the diseased tooth.” As leaders of JCI, are we ready to influence positive change or are we still up for the popularity polls?

* Reference: 9 Things a Leader Must Do by Dr. Henry Cloud

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