MOTIVATING OFFICERS IN A MASONIC LODGE by John B. Williams, FPS

Discussion in 'Prince Hall History and Research' started by Raymond Walters, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Raymond Walters

    Raymond Walters Premium Member

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    Masonic Education Series


    MOTIVATING OFFICERS IN A MASONIC LODGE


    Do you believe that money is a motivator in the work force? Even in high-paying jobs, it is not money that motivates us to do our best.

    Most knowledgeable Masons will agree that the Worshipful Master's job is tough. He's busy all the time, too few brothers contribute their time or participate in programs, and it seems that nobody is ever there when the Worshipful Master needs them most. We are quick to blame the members for this state of affairs, but part of the problem is that our leaders, past and present, have been unable to effectively motivate the Craft. There are ways to induce men to perform, effective ways that work more often than not. By the time we finish here, you will know what they are, and you will know how to use them to spur the Officers in your Lodge into action.

    giants of industry have known for years that men are motivated to work because of certain internal rewards

    Before we talk about motivation, we need to understand a basic truth about human nature: "work" is a four-letter word to most of us, even to the person who is highly motivated to work. We may like to stay "busy" and be productive, but given the option, we would rather stay busy doing something other than "work." Physical, manual labor may help us relieve tensions, but otherwise it is not the kind of activity we find most satisfying to our spirits. Skinning our knuckles and straining our bones is not satisfying, and it can be downright dissatisfying when we are merely doing someone else's labor.

    It is not the physical effort itself that attracts us to a job or that gives us our reward. If labor was a motivator, if labor was self-rewarding, mankind would never have needed to invent pay scales and wages. So let's try to understand what it is that causes a man to want to bring out the best that is within him. What is it that provides the real satisfaction in a job? What makes us feel good about what we do?

    If you're one of the unfortunate people who has never had a job that brought you genuine satisfaction, if you're a non-motivated worker yourself, the discussion that follows may make little sense. Even motivated workers often fail to realize what it is that drives them. Even though their job is satisfying, they may not be able to tell you why it is. They may like what they do intensely, but can't isolate the aspect of the job that makes them feel good.

    The big corporations know; believe me, they know how to motivate their executives and they go to extremes to keep them motivated. GM, IBM, Exxon and the other giants of industry have known for years that men are motivated to work because of certain internal rewards, not because work itself is fantastic. Money, an external reward, is not what brings out the best in us either; money is less important to motivation than was once thought. Money induces a worker to show up each day, but it does not induce him to give 100% to the job. Money keeps him around, but it does not provide the deep-seated satisfaction that the internal rewards do.

    Managerial scientists, like Frederick Herzberg, have discovered the key to motivation. And they haven't keep it a secret. What these managerial scientists have discovered has been worth millions of dollars to big business, and this million dollar knowledge is available to us all, because men like Herzberg published their findings for all of us to share. It turns out that the same kinds of things that motivate men to excel at their jobs are the things that make them excel at anything else. We can apply Herzberg's principles in the Lodge; the only hard part is believing that these principles really work. But once you recognize their validity, the rest is easy.

    Let's take a look at Herzberg's motivators now and let's try to see how we can apply them to situations in the Masonic Lodge. The motivators are:

    ACHIEVEMENT
    RECOGNITION
    CHALLENGE
    INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY
    GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

    As I discuss these principles, blame me if they seem not to make sense, because I am merely explaining my understanding of how they can be applied in the Masonic Lodge. To get the unvarnished truth about these motivators, you should refer to Herzberg's writings directly.

    ACHIEVEMENT is the first of Herzberg's motivators, and it means nothing more than getting something done—bringing a project to a satisfactory conclusion. We often feel better at the end of a project than we did at the beginning, because when the project is done, we have achieved something, and achievement is satisfying to mortal humans. We can get this sense of achievement and we can get this self-satisfaction after completing any job, big or small, but we feel best when we believe the work we did was worthwhile. Getting a menial, trivial task done may bring satisfaction also, but it seems that our satisfaction is smaller the less important the job is.

    The last paragraph alone is worth the million if you know how to make use of what it tells you. It says that achievement motivates a person to perform. But how can you induce this sense of achievement in someone and use it as a motivator? The answer to this question is simple: let him do something. Let him work. The more meaningful and significant he considers the job to be, the greater his motivation to do it well. After you've gone through to the end of this paper, take a short rest, then read this paragraph again, slowly. Give it some serious thought. Think about the word "let" in the third and fourth sentences.

    We'll mention achievement again later, because all the remaining motivators ride on this one; achievement must precede the other motivators, and the reason will become obvious as we discuss them. For example, achievement is knowledge from within ourselves that we have done something worthwhile; recognition, the second motivator on this list, is an input from outside ourselves that acknowledges our accomplishment.

    RECOGNITION comes when somebody else sees the merit of our accomplishments and tells us about it. This is, perhaps the easiest motivator to apply. When an Officer does good, acknowledge it. If the accomplishment was a small one, acknowledge it in a small way, but never ignore an Officer's work or efforts however small they may be. We all need feedback to know when we are on course, to know whether we are doing things right; positive feedback tells us to keep doing what we are already doing. To deny positive feedback when it is deserved is equivalent to giving negative feedback, which stifles action and says "don't do it again." Recognition is an important motivator, and it is an easy one to use. Giving recognition can be simple and informal, or it can be elaborate and ceremonial. Either way, recognition makes us feel good about what we are doing and it encourages us to continue to do it.

    CHALLENGE is a motivator because it intensifies one's sense of achievement; it adds to the enjoyment and fulfillment associated with the act. But be careful when you apply this principle; to make a job challenging, you must know the Brother's capabilities and you must try to make his job exceed his capabilites ever so slightly. Too great a challenge can backfire and immobilize a man, and too small a challenge weakens the drive to excel. Just the right challenge gives powerful motivation; if getting a job done gives us a warm glow inside, getting the job done under challenging conditions will make our day.

    INCREASED RESPONSIBILITY is away to add challenge to the job and sustain that challenge over long periods of time. Having done a tough job once, we can do it faster and better the second time. To sustain the challenge, we must provide an ever-increasing spiral of responsibility.

    GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT comes as a result of the learning process we undergo in a challenging situation; it comes from encountering and solving new problems and from accumulating new experiences.

    If Herzberg is right about his list of motivators, and if our Lodge Officers are not as motivated as we think they should be, then these motivators are not in force when they come to the Lodge. But is this a circular dilemma? Our officers achieve too little because they are unmotivated, and until they achieve they won't be motivated. How do we get out of this spiral? The answer is easy to arrive at in theory, and is not too tough to arrive at in practice, because our spirits are nurtured by the internal rewards that come from achievement, recognition, challange, and the like. Most of us welcome the opportunity to earn these rewards. In our attempts to inspire the initial action that breaks us out of the dilemma of inactivity, we must simply try to satisfy all of the motivators in our dealings with our line officers.

    The Worshipful Master must be particular about how he uses his line officers; he must be careful to offer them the right inducements. We can't expect to keep our officers motivated if I we assign them tasks that they view as trivial and menial, and it makes so little sense to do this when we find the meaningful and significant work done by the same few people all the time.

    If we want motivated, productive officers, we must offer them the kind of job that induces a sense of ACHIEVEMENT from doing something meaningful; we must give them jobs that CHALLENGE their abilities, that allow them to GROW AND DEVELOP, that represent an increase over their former RESPONSIBILITIES. And we must never fail to RECOGNIZE their achievements when they are working in the right direction.

    It is important also that we are careful to assign responsibilities instead of tasks. To see the difference, think about this example. You tell your worker to mow the lawn, and you have assigned a task. Once it's done, the worker has no further interest in the lawn, so next week, you must tell him to mow it again. Tell him instead to keep the lawn looking nice, and you have given him a responsibility. Now you only need to give him feedback—tell him from time to time whether the lawn looks nice. It will be up to him to decide that the lawn needs mowing.

    You have become a different kind of manager, and you have created a motivated worker. Your worker feels a sense of ACHIEVEMENT that comes, not from mowing the lawn, but from the fact that he knows the lawn looks nice and that someone outside himself RECOGNIZES this. You added a CHALLENGE by allowing him to decide that the lawn needs to be mowed and you have made it his RESPONSIBILITY to see that it is done. The purpose of this example is to show you that mowing the lawn is a task, a menial and thankless task that provides no satisfaction; but keeping the lawn in good shape is a responsibility of some importance; it brings great satisfaction when we know we have done it well and when others reinforce our achievement with positive feedback. The requirements of job did not change, but the management did. The menial job got done while the needs of the worker were fulfilled.

    We can do the same kind of thing in the Lodge, and we can start doing it with our line officers. We should begin by assigning them areas of RESPONSIBILITY. Once done, step aside and let them work. Certain responsibilities are assigned to our officers ritualistically. There is nothing to prevent the Master from assigning them comparable duties in day-to-day operations.

    For example, the Junior Deacon takes charge of the candidates during ceremonies; he can be made responsible for seeing that they are prepared for proficiency as well. This is in fact a job that goes to the Junior Deacon automatically in some jurisdictions. But be careful about how you assign the job; although his main function will be to hold study classes, that's a task and is not the job to offer; ask him to see that the candidates are duly prepared, this is a responsibility that lets him decide how often to hold classes and how to conduct them. If the Junior Deacon is reluctant, assign a capable Past Master to show him how to do it, but leave the responsibility with the Junior Deacon and try to tailor the job so that he accepts that responsibility.

    The Master should also encourage the Junior Deacon to take whatever day-to-day problems he might have to the Senior Warden, who appointed him, instead of bringing them to the Worshipful Master. In this way, the Senior Warden shares" in the Master's responsibility by helping to solve problems.

    The Stewarts are responsible for assisting the Junior Warden on all festive occasions. They can be made responsible for putting on festive activities; even if they themselves do not actually do all the work, they can organize and coordinate the details. Be careful not to reduce the Stewarts to menial workers. Give them responsibilities and allow them to make the decisions needed to carry out their responsibilities.

    The Stewarts, who are appointed by the Junior Warden, should take their problems to him so that he also shares in the problem-solving exercises of the administration. The Stewarts assist the Junior Deacon with the candidates ritualistically, and can likewise be involved in preparing them for proficiency.

    If the Worshipful Master uses his Officers in the manner that I am proposing, he will find several things beginning to happen. Not only will his line officers be motivated and satisfied workers, but the Master will be relieved of solving many tedious problems or making certain repetitive decisions that the Wardens and other officers could make as easily. And even if the Wardens must consult with the Master on certain difficult problems, the Wardens will have been exposed to the problem and will know the solution the next time the problem comes up. Your line officers, whether you realize it or not, will be getting trained and getting groomed for advancement. They will be getting involved with the day-to-day workings of the lodge as they move through the chairs and becoming experts in the various aspects of Lodge administration.

    Let's look at some more examples of how the officers can be motivated and made responsible workers. The Marshal conducts processions, and could be made responsible for public ceremonies. You will still use a committee for important public ceremonies, but the Marshal should be the central contact and should be the officer responsible for seeing that all goes well.

    The Senior Deacon accommodates visitors in the lodge and could be made responsible for making accommodations when brothers visit on other occasions. The Senior Deacon should also be in close contact with the Worshipful Master and could be responsible for passing along instructions from the Master to the Craft from day-to-day. The Master might make him responsible for publicity or for the lodge newsletter.

    By the time an officer arrives at position of Warden, he is in the big league, and should have the status and responsibility of a major corporate executive. The Junior Warden, for example, supervises the craft during refreshment, and should be the officer in charge at festive Lodge affairs (except for public affairs assigned to the Marshal) .He is also the first-line supervisor for the Stewarts and should give them proper direction. He watches over intemperance and excess, and in many lodges he is the chief prosecutor in Masonic trials. A Junior Warden given such responsibilities cannot help but be motivated.

    Notice that the responsibilities of the officers continue to increase at each higher level. Remember Herzberg's motivators—we must allow for increased responsibility, and we must allow for growth and development.

    That means that the Senior Warden is going to be a real power in the Lodge. Again, his duties will depend on how the Master wants to use him, but I compare the Senior Warden to the Chief Executive Officer of a large corporation, THE man in the lodge, whose authority is exceeded only by that of the Master, who I think of as "Chairman of the Board." The Senior Warden, for example, could be the buffer between the Master and the Craft, as it is his duty to see that none go away dissatisfied. This alone can take a sizeable burden off the Master if the Master will only allow it.

    Each Master will, of course, have to consider the capabilities and desires of the people in office before he assigns responsibilities. Not everyone will be willing to accept the responsibilities specified here. But by making it clear before appointments that line officer positions will be positions of serious responsibility, the Master may be able to induce some of his more capable members back into the lodge. Some of our best members are in limbo, not because of laziness or apathy, but because they have not been challenged by a position of responsibility that allows them to grow and develop.

    It is the Master's prerogative to decide how much responsibility to give to his officers and how much to keep for himself. The more he gives up, the easier his job gets and the more active his members will become. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but there is an effective and ineffective way.

    I am certain that some of you will take exception to Herzberg's principles. But don't allow your exceptions to blind you to the documented fact that these principles have worked miracles for big business. They can work for us too once we understand what they are all about, and once we determine the best way to put them into action.

    LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

    http://www.thephylaxis.org/williams/motivate.php
     

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