Friday, September 14, 2007

Politics of Leadership

There are different forms of leadership. There's leadership in the general sense of running things and being the pinnacle of an organization. There's behind the scenes leadership where one contributes to a goal without the transparency of seeing who is doing the work. Leadership is initiative, interaction, teamwork, guidance, organization, and prioritizing. It can be managing people, things, and general tasks. It's also inspiring/influencing peers to meet a goal. Leadership can also be creativity and encouragement.

There are tiers of leadership and one is just as important as the next. Someone may not be in charge but show characteristics of leadership. The important part to remember about leadership is that there is no single definition. And because of this, many people view leadership differently.

I started thinking about my event last night. Spinsters of San Francisco put on their first fall charity party of the 2007-2008 year. I am the hostess co-chair and thus organize a small group of hostesses for every event. I, along with my co-chair, report to a member of the Board. My co-chair and I decided that we would alternate who is running the committee at each event. The balance lets one of us work and the other have fun.

For the most part, I rarely stress. The benefits of stress simply aren't worth the hassle. However as the second shift began, I started to fluster. I had already gotten a cancellation and decided that I would simply step in for the shift. One of my hostesses was diligently early as was asked of her and I quickly gave her directions and a position. I tried calling the missing hostess a few times. Next I knew, my phone was ringing and the person was asking who this was. It was easy to tell that she was somewhere in the venue and with slight disdain, I snapped, "aren't you supposed to be hostessing?" I don't mean to sound forward or rude, but I feel we ask very little of our hostessing members. It's a required hour of their time that they choose and an extra 5 minutes we ask for that seriously helps me out.

Finally pulling myself together and relieving my old hostesses and replacing them with new ones, I tried to calm down. My board director asked how things were going and I commented, well, as long as I don't have to call people to show up for their shifts. Perhaps that was snooty of me, but it wasn't what I needed to make the night flow. She asked who, to which I replied I don't want to name names. She pulled the, I'm your board director, you have to tell me, so I did. Turns out she was friends with the girl. I quickly retreated to my post, a bit miffed that I said anything at all.

This is the other difficulty with leadership - politics. I don't care if you're my best friend, if you're supposed to be somewhere, I have no sympathy when you don't follow through on your obligations. As a leader, you have to think quick on your feet and often fill the empty holes of a project. I'm not about to burn a bridge over a power trip, but as college educated females, we should understand our commitments. Hostessing is the first impression that everyone gets of the Spinsters, we want it to be a good one so that they return for future parties.

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