OFFICERS ON DECK Understanding leadership positions A treasurer works into the wee hours crunching numbers. A secretary’s desk light is the last left burning at the office as he dubiously checks the minutes from this evening’s club meeting. A president furiously works the phone lines to confirm the catering and room reservation for tomorrow’s big raffle. Every Lion who’s served as a club officer knows the drill: faced with new-found roles and responsibilities, club officers can find themselves stressed from the grind of the extra hours needed to run the club smoothly. But, thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. The roles of Lions club leadership positions such as president, secretary and treasurer are clearly defined in several helpful handbooks available from International Headquarters, but what’s on paper doesn’t always apply in real life. A clear delineation of duties based on past experience can provide club officers with a solid understanding of their responsibilities while helping them avoid the pitfall of taking on every task—and eventually becoming overwhelmed. Following are a few quick tips to keep club officers on the path to success while avoiding the danger of burning out on Lions leadership. Know Your Role: It’s tough to admit but it’s true—there are club treasurers out there who think a spread sheet is a nice cloth to cover the dining room table. Lions can be persuasive in pitching a leadership role to someone they like in the club, but that person might not always have the skills necessary to successfully perform the job. While it feels good to be wanted, it’s important to be realistic about how your talents line up with the position in question. If you’re not good with numbers or are uncomfortable handling the finances of the club, say so. Don’t give in to the pressure of other club members eager to fill a position just for the sake of filling it. Avoid Excess: Being an officer means accepting a greater level of responsibility, not all of it. If other officers or committee chairs are consistently trying to push other duties onto you, be honest with them. There’s no shame or embarrassment in saying you’re busy, which is a better alternative to failing or hurrying to complete the work. If the problem persists, suggest a meeting with the club president to resolve the problem. Use Your Tools: Have a club member who’s quick with numbers or nifty with a computer? Don’t be afraid to tap those talents. A Lion with skills like accounting or computing can add an element of professionalism while helping with the workload. Encourage a Lion with talents specific to your position to buddy up with you. Doing so might ease your stress, and you could just be grooming the next great treasurer or secretary. Lead To Succeed: Facing a cavalcade of new tasks and responsibilities can be intimidating, but don’t clam up when it’s time to make decisions. The true test of an officer is making the tough calls after assessing the situation to the best of their abilities. Being indecisive or avoiding a decision on something important shows a lack of initiative and can hurt the club. Avoid having unresolved issues that may accumulate to create a real pain.
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