Here’s a problem that we don’t hear about much that I would appreciate some advice on.
How do you step back and take a less active role in the fraternity? I have no issue admitting that I am involved in pretty much every aspect of the operation of my chapter (and I’m not the president). This is partially by choice and partially out of necessity. I am one of the Founding Fathers of my chapter and one of the most motivated guys we have.
Our president recently spoke to our executive board about everyone doing their own jobs and staying out of everyone else’s. Personally, I find that hard to do because we have a very young and inexperienced exec (three guys just finished their freshman year). I have ended up helping everyone out because I love my chapter and I want to see it be great and all the guys know they can come to me for help.
A lot of the issues that guys are coming to me with are things that I’ve worked on in the past (member education, social event planning, talking to rushees, cleaning the house). It seems like every time I help someone out or take an active role in a project that isn’t under the umbrella of recruitment (my current position), I get an angry phone call from the president asking why I got into someone else’s business and didn’t let them figure it out themselves or that our time has passed.
Let me clear one thing up though…I am gunning for the presidency in our next election in December but I feel like my assistance has been nothing but good-intentioned and I have never intentionally undermined the current president.
Any advice you can give me on the matter would be a huge help.
It sounds like you are a rock star brother that any fraternity would be lucky to have. Your experience and desire to help probably are one of the strengths to your chapter.
That being said – it appears that you are possibly suffering from two problems.
First, the current president probably feels like you are a threat to him. Leaders who lack confidence get defensive when others attempt to take a leadership role. He probably knows that you are gunning for his position, so you are an obvious threat to him.
I suggest you have a sit-down conversation with him and make sure he understands that you are firmly in his corner. Make sure he is clear that you are there to support him in any way you can. Once he realizes that you are an advocate and not a threat; then chances are he will back off a little. Realize though that your support has to be sincere. If it isn’t, then he has every right to worry about your motives.
Second, you have to be sure you do not come off as a know-it-all. No one likes a no-it-all. If brothers put that label on you, all the support you have will quickly be eroded.
To overcome these two problems, I suggest you do one thing, and do it to the best of your ability:
Do the best damn job you can in your recruitment position. This is your job.
Your job isn’t to be in every committee in the chapter. You have a vital role in the success of the chapter, the best way to prove yourself to your brothers and improve your chapter is to do your job the very best you can.
So how do you do that?
First, you should sign up for my newsletter (link below) and get the recruitment chapter from my book The Fraternity Leader for FREE. This will provide you a good template on how to successfully recruit for your fraternity. Of course, if you want to be a good president you should buy the book, but for recruitment purposes this is all you need for now.
Then, you should check out this series on Fraternity Recruitment:
31 Days to Better Fraternity Recruitment — This is a ton of great info that will make you the subject matter expert.
Next, recruit like a madman. Build your names list. Get those guys to come to the house and to your social events. Hang out with those guys. Go to lunch and dinner with them. Make friends. Introduce them to the other brothers in your chapter. Make it your life’s goal to find as many new guys as possible and get them to the house.
And when your chapter is super successful during recruitment, they will be able to credit your efforts for making it happen. No one will be able to dispute your value to the chapter, because you will have been able to produce a tangible result that has a significant impact.
On a side note, many of these guys you bring in will see you as the leader who introduced them to your chapter. These guys will always be your guys, and they are likely to support you when you run for president.
As for helping the other guys – let them know you are always there to help a brother. This is the type of guy you are. But let them do their thing. You have an incredibly important role, and truth-be-told you probably don’t have time to be worrying about how others are doing their jobs. Let them fail and learn, but always be willing to lend a hand if asked.
Your goal though is to do the very best job you can as recruitment chair. This is the position the brothers have entrusted you with, and this is your responsibility. Don’t lose focus on this critical responsibility.