Leading an organization comes with unique challenges. I’m in the middle of a term as president of a local banking organization. It was an awesome honor to be nominated for the position, especially since I’m the youngest person on the board.
These are all feelings I’ve experienced while leading the group. It’s been such a learning experience. Following are some lessons I’ve learned in the last six months.
It’s all about the people. The St. Louis chapter of the organization is successful because of the people who serve on the board and the members who attend our events. We have great people. Without these board members and their involvement, the organization would not be successful. They deserve more credit than they receive.
Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. Shortly after my term began, our administrative assistant left her position to put more emphasis on her daily duties with her full-time job. That meant all of the administrative tasks were left to me. Instead of asking others on the board for help, I did everything myself. What a mistake!
After several months of suffering through the administrative tasks, we finally were able to find a replacement. She is wonderful and takes care of so much for us. It has reduced my burden tremendously. Finding a replacement should have been a priority. Instead, I thought I could do it all myself.
Set appointments. The board meets monthly. We hold several events per month. The schedule is very hectic. Thankfully, it only took me a month or two to learn to set appointments for the monthly duties that need to be performed. If it is on my calendar, I’ll get it done.
It’s never as easy as it looks. As I described in What I Learned from Changing a Headlight, tasks that look easy usually are not. Our previous presidents were perfect. Their leadership was effortless. Of course, I now know that was not true. But, it is also a testament to those previous presidents’ leadership skills.
Email is a blessing and a curse. As president, I’m copied on most emails from our committee chairpersons. I probably receive 15 emails per day related to the organization. With my daily job responsibilities and the email that comes with that, these extra 15 add a lot of pressure.
Eventually, I will write an entire post (or maybe a series of posts) regarding ways to tame the email beast. For now, though, this is what I’ve done. I added monthly folders in Outlook. I scan the email to see if it warrants immediate attention. If it does not, I file it in the folder for the next month’s board meeting. I just want it out of my inbox. Then, I will read through all of them at the end of the day and address them as appropriate.
It’s for a good cause. The goal of this organization is to provide education and networking opportunities for bankers within the St. Louis area. We’re not saving lives or raising money for charity. However, the bankers involved provide their clients with funds to operate their businesses or buy homes. They make a difference in the communities they serve. The stress and challenges of leading an organization that has that impact is worth it!
Every organization and leadership role have different challenges and responsibilities. Ask for help and use a schedule. Those are two keys to successful leadership.
If you have learned these or other lessons from leading a group or organization, please share this post using the sharing buttons below and let others know your experiences.