The common misconception in a chapter is that the brother needs to be on the executive board to have an impact on the fraternity. While in most cases the most influential brother is on the executive board, and most likely the president, it isn’t always that way. Leaders don’t need a position to lead, they just need people who want to follow them. This is true in all organization to include fraternities.
My fraternity had a classic example of this situation. Our most influential brother never served on the executive board. He held some minor committee positions, but nothing major. However, whenever he made a suggestion, chances are the brotherhood would follow it. People listened and were eager to follow him. There are several reasons why.
First, he was fun to be around. He never seemed down, and was a good time waiting to happen. His personality was infectious, and people liked being around him.
Second, he loved the fraternity and was eager to support it. This brother never missed a fraternity meeting. He also never missed a party, pledge night or sporting event, regardless of if he was playing in it. He was a brother through and through, and was respected for it.
Third, he had a great understanding of what fraternity was all about. He truly believed in the message of brotherhood, and lived it as an example to the rest of the fraternity.
Fourth, he would give the shirt off his back to a brother if asked. If a brother was drunk in the middle of the night, he knew who to call. If a brother was having difficulty in his studies, he knew who to ask for help. If a brother just broke up with his girlfriend and needed someone to hang out with, there was no doubt who he would be looking for.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, this brother didn’t abuse his influence with others. There were opportunities where he could have swayed an important fraternity vote or election just by endorsing his idea. However, he held himself to a higher standard and refused to be anything more than a single brother.
The reason this brother was the most influential brother was a combination of being naturally charismatic and understanding what fraternity is all about. He was the brother we all wished we could be, and our fraternity was better because he was a part of it.