Dare To Lead

One of the basic functions of leader- ship is to unite people, i.e., bring people together to achieve common objectives. There is truth in the statement, where there is unity there is strength. This article offers a working definition for effective moral leadership and discusses the function of leadership as it relates to follower-ship, motivation and power.

At the core of the leadership development process is the age-old argument of whether leaders are born or made. We cannot afford to become stagnated by this debate. It is important for us to realize that whether one believes that leaders are born or made makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. Leadership is a developmental process that requires training and a lot of hard work regardless of your basic natural skills. We can ill afford to move into the twenty-first century utilizing the “trial and error’ method of leadership development. There’s far too much at stake for the Masonic Fraternity.

In a very short time we will be entering the year 2000, the twenty-first century. Society is changing rapidly and moving swiftly towards a “new age.” As we enter that new age, we must develop new leadership – Brethren who are capable of giving guidance, inspiration, and new vision for the new time,


Leadership, like love, is difficult to define. Both mean many different things to many different people. Let me offer a working definition of leadership that will guide the reader in this exploration of the dynamics of leadership development. By “working definition’ I mean that this is not a conclusive definition. It’s a definition in its developmental stages. It is also important to note that leadership is defined not only by what it is, but also by what it does. As a matter of fact, one can say that leadership is both action and being.

Having said that, let’s then say that: leadership empowers, motivates, and organizes people to achieve a common objective, and provides moral guidance. It is a service to the people and a vision for the future. It is also very important to note, that as we discuss what leadership is, we must also take into consideration what leadership is not.


  • Leadership is not a position. Almost anyone can be elected, selected, anointed, appointed, self-appointed, promoted or succeeded.
  • Leadership is not building a personality cult. Giving too much power to one individual is detrimental to the leader, to the followers and to the cause. Worship God only, not people. Build collective leadership, not personality cults.
  • Leadership is not being indispensable. Truly effective leadership means being dispensable. The mark of a true leader is demonstrated by the fact that the show must and can go on without him or her.
  • Leadership is not about blaming others. Leadership is, first and foremost, about being responsible for the decisions you make or fail to make.

Certainly, this is not an exhaustive list on what effective leadership is not.

However, it is just as important to know what effective leadership is not as it is to know what effective leader- ship is.

Now let us turn our attention to what the qualities of effective leadership are. One can argue that a gang leader provides effective leadership in achieving the gang’s objectives. However, when we discuss effective leadership here, we are talking about leadership with moral authority. Additionally, leadership possesses integrity and credibility. Let us continue our journey by examining the qualities of effective leadership and good follower-ship.


One of the prerequisites for providing effective Masonic leadership is a thorough understanding the importance of quality ‘FOLLOWER SHIP.” Being a good follower means that you have developed the capacity to be directed and guided according to tradition, ritual, customs and ancient usages. It also means that you are motivated and highly disciplined in carrying out your responsibilities, whatever they may be, to completion.

Good followers are reliable and dependable Brethren – Brethren on whom the Fraternity’s leadership can depend in the clutch. We are not talking about passive followers who follow blindly or about “yes men.’ Rather, these Brethren are generally assertive, critical thinkers, who will allow their talents to be utilized, but who will refuse to be used and abused by leadership. One learns the art and science of effective leadership by being a consistent and committed follower.

Ever wonder why it takes so long to advance through the officers’ chairs in order to arrive in the East? The ancient founders of Freemasonry, in their infinite wisdom, made it an integral part — of our Beloved Craft. Consider the following:


  • Be a critical thinker, not a ‘yes- person
  • Be consistent and dependable
  • Be humble and patient
  • Be able to receive and offer constructive criticism
  • Be a tireless worker
  • Be a disciplined student of study and work (theory and practice)
  • Be persistent and consistent at developing leadership skills
  • Be a thinker! Be a thinker!! Be a thinker!!!


Motivation can be defined as something that causes a person to act: a stimulus to action or relating to motion. Effective leadership provides stimulation, inspiration, and information. These qualities are essential for motivating people to take action.


  • Lead with a high level of energy and boundless enthusiasm.
  • Give people a sense of purpose and direction.
  • Plan for success. Nothing succeeds in motivating people more than being successful. Nobody wants to be associated with failure.
  • Dish out plenty of praise and encouragement.
  • Create opportunities for people to get attention.
  • Demonstrate confidence and faith in peoples’ abilities.
  • Encourage achievable tasks.
  • Give people a sense of history and hope.
  • Develop a collective vision for the future.

Leadership  is vision, motivation, organization and action. Leadership gives people a sense of power, hope, and makes things happen. Leadership creates the future, provides guidance, direction, inspiration and empowers people to realize their leadership potential. We dare you to accept the awesome challenges and responsibilities of leadership.

  • We desire you to lead!
  • We dare you to struggle!!
  • We dare you to win!!!
  • Freemasonry’s future rests with you Brother.

Phillip C. Elam PHP

About leader

District Deputy Grand Master Saratoga-Warren District 1998-2000; Grand Lodge Leadership Services Committee; Leadership Development Course Coordinator; Vice Chairman Grand Master's Educational Task Force; Vice Chairman Grand Lodge Child ID Committee; District Deputy Grand High Priest 14th Capitular District; Grand Master of the 1st Veil 2010; Grand Master 2nd Veil 2011; Grand Master 3rd Veil 2012 Grand Royal Arch Captain 2013 Grand Principal Sojourner 2014 Grand Captain of the Host 2015 Warren County Historical Society Board of Trustees; Queensbury Masonic Historical Society Charter Member; State Chairman Lodges & Buildings Committee Deputy Grand Master's Advisory Committee
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