This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.
I hate to be the guy that tells you what you want is wrong, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Unless your chapter is REALLY big, fraternity committees are not a necessity. I’ve always been of the school of thought that you elect officers to do a job. Let them do their job as they see fit. The only position that truly needs a committee is your Recruitment / Rush chair. Recruiting is an entirely different animal and has been covered extensively on this site and many others. I’ve got five reasons why you don’t need committees:
1) Too many meetings, too little time
Committees have to meet. Committees hand out assignments that require maybe other meetings. You already have chapter, executive, and hopefully recruitment meetings. Why add one more? This alone turns off many members to the idea of committees right away.
2) Too many cooks in the kitchen
Does that phrase sound familiar? Even without committees, the last thing any officer needs is a bunch of unelected brothers that are not in higher positions in the chapter telling him what to do. It may not always be the case, but just let your guy be THE GUY.
3) Committees add more work for your officer
Committees are meant to lessen the burden on an officer. Instead, an officer will find himself feeling the need to coordinate unmotivated, absent, inept brothers on his committee instead of doing real, actual work. Most of the time, the aforementioned committee members know that it’s not their reputation on the line and act like it. Why bother?
4) Let your officers build their own coalitions as needed
“Committees” in a sense exist when your officers seek out the necessary people to accomplish certain tasks. There is no need to formalize the process. You have to trust your officers to work with those that are needed when they are needed. A lot of times, the help they need comes from other officers, not from the general membership as the help that is needed falls under another officer’s job description.
5) No committees make it harder to pass the buck or hide behind others
When there aren’t committees, it’s easy to both assign blame and give credit. It’s important to remember as many on this site have mentioned, you need to, in many ways, run your chapter like a business, a franchise of your national fraternity. Committees are often where bad excuses are directed and are used a crutch to earn the credit without actually doing much of anything. It sounds a bit hard, but you need to let your officers perform or face the consequences. Like some of the points above, let them take the initiative to use their fellow officers as needed or to coordinate their efforts with other brothers to accomplish their mission.
I truly believe that if you simply hold your officers accountable, they’ll meet your expectations or you’ll find someone that will. At the same time, trust your officers, and they may surprise you at what they can do when you let their creative talents loose.
This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and frequent contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!
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