Leadership and Motivation

Editor’s Note: I originally posted this article in the Winter 2009 edition of the Midwest Notes, a publication serving the Midwest district of the national honorary band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi.

Within every organization, there tends to be driving force for member participation. Whether it’s a common goal or a set of beliefs, each group has a set of factors that inspire its members to work together and accomplish something. Though different, each organization tends to share one thing in particular: a leader charged with inspiring his or her members to do their part. As a brother of the Iota Omega chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a brother of a social fraternity (Beta Theta Pi), and a member of other student organizations, I’ve noticed a number of positive and negative leadership traits that impact motivation within a group. The following are a few traits in particular – I hope you can apply these to your own life, wherever you may go:

Tone

As a leader of a group, you’re expected to handle both successes and failures of your organization. It’s important that, as a leader, you set a tone best relates to your members. For example, in my social fraternity, our president is very approachable, easy-going, and comical. I think this approach has been successful for a group that contains a lot of guys from different backgrounds and of distinct personalities. Our president has been always able to share successes and failures with the organization, and he’s been able to hold members accountable for their actions. The fact that he’s set a tone for our organization helps him do exactly what he needs to do as a leader.

Follow Through

On the Iowa State University campus, I serve as the general manager of a student-run television station. In regards to development as a group, the members of the station (which is run as a standard student organization) are not used to a structured system. I’ve been working to increase our awareness on campus and cover more content, and I’ve run into the problem of motivation on a couple occasions. One of those occasions involved getting people rounded up to film a story. There was a great story idea, and I’d told our members the great things about covering this story. But as the weeks went on, I became busy and personally less motivated to follow through with it. Because I stopped organizing the story, the other students involved just let it go, and it was forgotten about. I learned that it’s important for a leader to follow through with motivational exercises, promises, and goals set by him or her in the beginning to create success.

Foster Brotherhood and Sisterhood

Brothers of Kappa Kappa Psi and sisters of Tau Beta Sigma put forth many hours of work each semester with no monetary payment. In fact, most are expected to pay dues for their membership. However, I’ve noticed that as a brother, I’m more motivated to work on a project if I’m doing it as a brother and not as an individual. Service projects and other events are both more meaningful and easier to accomplish when I feel like I’m living out the purposes of my organization with my fellow brothers and sisters. The leaders of my chapter have done a tremendous job of fostering a sense of closeness within our group, and I think it’s safe to say that we all feel like a family when we meet. As a leader, it’s important to keep your members comfortable with one another and to increase their bond with every project or goal that is carried out.