Don’t Expect to be Everyone’s Friend

One of the most important things as a leader is the legacy you leave behind. You should want to be able to look back on your time as a leader and say with great confidence that the organization you were a part of improved greatly under your watch. Doing so however sometimes comes at a cost. The most immediate one to come to mind is the disapproval you might get from your subordinates for making decisions they do not agree with.

The most recent example that comes to mind for me once again deals with a situation from my fraternity. Due to a lot of allegations and charges we had over the year leading up to our suspension we had not been partying. As you can expect, this was not good news to a house full of 100 18-22 year old guys. We wanted to party and have a good time. Our leadership did a a great job for nearly a year and a half of making sure we did not party at all. However, due to pressure from the rest of the house they finally caved and allowed us to have our Fall formal in October of 2014. At the time of the formal we were on probation with the university, but were still allowed to have functions as long as they were registered. We knew from the year before though that registering the function meant the fire department would do an inspection to make sure all our decoration were up to code. This happened the semester before and kept us from doing a lot of the things we had planned on. So once again as a chapter we pressured our executive board to not register it so that we could set up the formal that we wanted. After a weeks worth of preparation we had it setup just the way we wanted and were ready to begin our formal. Not more than an hour into the formal however our smoke detectors went off and the fire department showed up. In the end the only thing we got charged with was an unregistered function which landed us on two years of social probation and three years probation given our prior offenses.

This was our second to last investigation before the house finally closed and played a huge part in the hearing that caused the university and our nationals to close the chapter. In the time since the chapter has closed I have had the privilege of speaking to a lot of alumni, some of which told me of a similar incident that occurred in the early 2000’s. At that time the chapter was in a similar situation and the leadership was being pressured to let them have the Fall formal. Their leadership unlike ours though did not give into popular opinion and as a result our chapter lived on. The alumni explained to me how at the time they were frustrated with the executive board and some even said they hated the president. Looking back on it though they all agree he made the right decision and have the utmost respect for him because of it. Unfortunately though our leadership last semester was not as strong and gave into what the majority wanted, which had catastrophic implications. As a result their legacy will always be that of the executive board that got us kicked off campus.

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