Sunday, 8 August 2010

Step Into My Shoes

Everyone wants to be a leader.
Not everyone wants the responsibilities and hard choices that come with it.

I've been leading my dance group for over a year, and in that year, we have seen massive expansion. From 10-12 active members to almost 30 now, it's been sweet success in terms of developing young dancers into respectable individuals. It just really sucks when the complaint department truck dumps its contents in one go.

Every time there is a "board meeting" (for lack of a better term), I am heavily criticized on being "hard", "harsh", and "acting like a king". It has reached a point where I just simply do not give a flying rat's bum anymore about these opinions, knowing that I can defend my actions pretty well.

First and foremost, there is the issue of discipline. The crew has reached a point where the sheer amount of members and show requests are pretty overwhelming, and as much as I'd like to be friendly ALL the time, an obvious lack of discipline within an organization (yes, we ARE an organization in all but name) is counter-productive and highly inefficient. The gentle "come on guys let's get this done" approach does NOT work, but as experience has shown me, the "bad cop" routine DOES. Hate me for my approach and gripe as much as you want, it is undeniable that things get done. Dancers, without discipline, are simply another bunch of hobbyists, and individuals, without discipline, will never be anything in life.

Secondly, there is the issue of leadership per se. Ever since I can remember, I hate inaction. The mere thought of seeing a group of individuals standing around wondering what to do next sends shivers down my spine; it's a waste of everyone's time and effort, plus standing around burns next to no calories :P Anyway, I take it upon myself to get things moving, to get things up and running when no one else is doing it, and for the past year or so, it has worked wonders for the crew. If taking the initiative to be an example of pro-activeness makes me a tyrant to the eyes of some, then so be it. I believe that I must put first the welfare and organization of the crew and its individual members before my own feelings. Why? Because that's what a leader would do.

Finally, there is the issue of hard choices. It is true, when no one has the frame of mind to make a difficult choice, it is the one who leads (or seems to be leading) who has to make the call. When the call is right - which could be most of the time - the call-maker's contribution is oft forgotten. When it is wrong, however, or hurts others, then the call-maker is crucified. I have learned to roll with the punches, since I actually understand the parameters on which I based my decisions on. From 22 years of actually living life, it's a little more honed than the average Joe's gut instinct.

So there. A post not so much a rant, but as a defense to the MANY critics springing up well within the group I have called a 'family' for over three years. I have learned not to take offense when criticized and ragged on, because I know that no part is greater than the whole. I love this crew more than any group I have ever been in, with the small exception of the Free2Be band (I miss you guys), and I am very honored to be in it. Many of the members call me "papi" or "daddy", and I try to live up to that title. It may offend some that I act like a boss sometimes, but in cold, hard truth, sometimes I really need to be.

Even families have organization.

Checking attendance. Crew conditioning. Delegation of message groups. Punishment and reward system. These are all things I am criticized on, and quite frankly, the criticisms are highly immature. All of those new things in our system, love them or hate them, tune the crew like the proverbial well-oiled machine. None of those benefit any individual, but the group as a whole.

"To lead, one must have been led."
Jesus certainly knew what He was talking about.

And here is a fun trivia:
None of the critics have ever inquired about how easy (which it isn't) or difficult the job is, and none of them have ever come up to me asking for responsibilities. It's so ridiculous, I'll just smile :) And they wonder why I delegate tasks? ROFL.

Fun and games, even in a family, must always be tempered with restrain, wisdom, and discipline. That's good enough for me. I hope that's good enough for your next "daddy", my very beloved crew.

"You only get what you put in", I always say.
Put in everything. YOUR crew deserves it.


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