Freemasonry is an organization that has been in existence longer than most countries, much less other fraternal, service and club-based organizations. In fact, it’s even older than some religions. Our officer structure is based on carefully-timed advancement and instruction. It’s a format that has been in existence in one form or another for centuries and transcends political environment, cultures and language. Walk into most Lodges and you can quickly figure out the hierarchy of officers and their roles (with minor variations, of course).
The very roles of each officer are designed to gently introduce them the manner in which the Lodge works, as well as prepare them for the next chair, and eventually that of the Master of the Lodge. The patient and observant Marshal watches the Stewards and their floorwork, imagining himself escorting candidates. The Stewards observe how the two Deacons interact and how their movements are precisely timed. And the Wardens, as senior officers, are encouraged to take on administrative and leadership roles of lesser importance to the Lodge (than the Master).
But a lot of the time – and we’ve probably all fallen prey to this situation – we place Brothers into officer’s chairs or advance them much quicker than is intended. Participation – especially at the officer level – seems to be a problem for our Masonic Bodies. And while there’s the Officer’s Handbook – an awesome resource for officers of every level – how often does it get used? Does your Lodge have a formal training program for chair officers? Do your Wardens have their years as Masters planned out prior to annual elections?
Well, my Brother, here’s my Top 10 Keys to Being a Successful Worshipful Master (or leader of any other Masonic Body; heck, just being the leader of any organization for that matter!):
1. Communication is key. It’s what’s going to make or break your year. A smart, active Secretary can make or break you here, so be sure to communicate how important it is that members (both active and inactive) get contacted on a regular, predictable basis. I’d also recommend email reminders a few days before each meeting (tell everyone why they should be there!). You might want to come up with a calling list of the Top 50 Brothers (who commonly come/came to Lodge) and have your officers call four or five before each meeting (believe me, this works).