fraternity president accountable

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.

Question:

What do you advise for a chapter whose Fraternity President values “brotherhood” over any other function of the Fraternity? He has made it clear that having a good time, making things fun, and relaxing the rules are more important than having standards, expelling brothers from the fraternity, and holding executive officers accountable.

Most are afraid to hold the President accountable, since he takes to social networking to air his grievances and believes it’s his way only. Our nationals and alumni are pretty involved, but our President hasn’t taken their advice and continues to let everyone just do what they feel like day to day.


Answer:

A Fraternity President has a delicate balance to maintain. They must ensure the business end of the chapter runs smoothly enough to pay the bills, recruit new members, and keep everyone out of trouble. They must simultaneously keep active morale high, inject values and purpose into activities, and represent the best public face of the chapter.

Fraternity Presidents tend to come from either an operations or social side of the chapter. It is not very often that a Chapter President has had a semi-equal experience on both sides. I was an operations side person and it was very difficult for me to embrace the social side of our chapter. I was a horrid recruiter and was not always the best at being a “bro” to other chapter members. At the same time, I knew the business of our chapter and embraced that role knowing full well I had more capable social officers to balance it out.

A Fraternity President is supposed to lead, not strong arm or intimidate. There are times for a Fraternity President to flex the muscles that their position affords them in the right scenario, but this should not make active members fearful to hold the President responsible as not just their leader, but as their brother.

My last post (How to Handle the Idiot in Your Fraternity) addressed how to deal with a brother that is causing some major image issues for the chapter. This situation is much the same. You have a judicial process is need be. You have advisors and active alumni, so you need to use them as resources. My question is this. If he is an incompetent leader that no one trust, how is he still you President? How was he elected in the first place? You need to look at the following actions to address your stated concerns and examples, as well as allow your chapter to move on.

–          Use your by-laws and / or judicial process to handle brothers not meeting your standards. Your President should not be able to control this and does not have veto power (I hope)

–          Find other leaders in the chapter. The President is not the only one that can lead by example and hold your membership accountable

–          Find ways to incentivize actual success for officers. Maybe they see you elected this guy and don’t see the point in a job well done. Maybe there needs to be validation for their efforts and achievements. Figure it out and run with it.

–          Finally, and most importantly, deal with your Fraternity President. Sometimes you have to suck it up and just call out a brother. Sometimes you have to stand up in a meeting and deal with an issue. If he wants to use social media to vent, let him look foolish. Do whatever it takes to finally take a stand and address the issue. Nothing gets fixed without first identifying the problem. No change ever takes place without someone stepping up and making the first move towards that change. You might be surprised by the support you have. For lack of a better phrase, man up and make it happen.

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.

This answer was written by Joe Russo, an alumni brother from Phi Delta Theta and new contributor for the thefraternityadvisor.com. If you are interested in writing for thefraternityadvisor.com – let us know (CLICK HERE)!






Join my Newsletter to Recieve:

The Checklist – 10 Things your Fraternity Should Do Every Semester

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *