In order to succeed as a leader in ADF, there are many traits of which an individual must already be possessed. There is also a vast difference in the traits required for local leaders and international leaders. On a local level, a leader has a better chance for success when they are able to function within a group setting, and basic leadership training will often suffice. Individuals who wish to serve at an organizational level must be able to perform well with little support and be highly self-motivated. ADF does attempt to provide support in some instances, but this is inconsistent and difficult to maintain. We are an organization of volunteers, and we have a tendency to use this as an excuse to cover up the fact that we often do not give our leaders the tools they need to do their jobs.
In order for leaders in ADF to provide a better place for our folk to commune in fellowship and align our values with the work of the Three Kindreds, it is imperative that we instill a better sense of value in the human resources we have as an organization—and the human element may be the only real resource we have. We currently have a wide variety of leaders who are in various stages of burnout, and until we recognize this, we will not be able to provide the healing necessary for these once high-performing individuals to excel once more. It is time to move from “Fast as a Speeding Oak,” which we have used to allow ourselves to stagnate, to “Why not Excellence?”
Isaac’s vision is still relevant and sound. We are drifting as an organization, and sound leadership is required to keep us on task. Our leadership teams do not operate with collaboration or in consensus, which leads to quite a few folks who feel unheard and left out of some of the most basic but important aspects of ADF functionality. We have leaders who have been stating out loud that they are burnt out, and instead of providing relief to them, we have a track record of providing criticism that has even been coupled with a pronouncement of disappointment. In order to be leaders in ADF, we need to begin leading by example, not following the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have done unto you,” but the platinum rule, “Do unto others that they would have done unto them” or alternatively stated, “Treat others as they want to be treated” (Allessandra, Platinum).
The number one, single most effective way of ensuring success as a leader, as a person that others will willingly follow, is to treat others with respect and dignity and in the manner they want to be treated instead of projecting onto them how we assume they want to be treated based on our own ego-reaction to their situation. Leaders have followers. If no one is following you, or if people are following you out of fear, are you really leading?