How do I Punish New Members While Not Ruining Friendships?

punishing new members

This question was submitted by a reader. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.


I recently elected to the position of Marshal, meaning that I am also the head of our judicial board, and I take great pride in this. However, I also take great pride in the brotherhood and friendships that I have developed with all of the brothers. How can I show my brothers that I am serious and will punish the new members if they do not act as they are expected to, while not ruining any friendships?


I appreciate the question. That being said, I apologize if my reply is blunt, but you are going down a very dangerous path if you don’t change your mindset quickly.

First off, what is the point of your new member program? I imagine it is to teach your new members the history and traditions of the fraternity, while preparing them to become good brothers. Your job as the Marshal is to lead them in their quest to achieve those goals.

A true leader of men does not attempt to motivate by punishing. If you reach that point, you have already failed. In the fraternity world, punishing normally means hazing, and hazing will kill your fraternity.

Don’t ever forget that the carrot is a better motivator than the stick.

If you want to succeed in your role, you need to set clear expectations for the new members, and then encourage them to achieve those objectives. There should always be consequences for either achieving or not achieving the objectives. The option to punish should never be there though. If you are clear in your objectives and the consequences, you should never have to resort to punishing even if you wanted to…

Please send me an email to further discuss this issue. I would like to give you a copy of my report – The Right Way to Run a New Member Program – which is a chapter in The Fraternity Leader Series ebook. This is how I would run a New Member program, and I think you will find great value in it.

If you have thoughts on this topic that can help this guy out, please add your comment below.

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