As we continue to celebrate our centennial and all of the outstanding accomplishments from our past 100 years, it is apparent that we have had exceptional individuals at every level of this great organization who did not hesitate to share their knowledge and vision with others in their group.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may not remember. Involve me and I learn.” As leaders, we should always remember how important it is to keep our members focused on our mission and involved at whatever level they feel comfortable. This is especially important when new members join our units.
We spend a great deal of time and effort to bring new members in, but what do we do after that? Many times, we forget to include these members and never bother to find out what their interests are. Or we inundate them with so much information and overwhelm them. We find that seasoned members do not relate to new members. If we think back to when we first became members, we might remember being in one of these situations.
Mentoring a new member or someone just getting “active” is a key role for our current leaders. We need to take time to explain our values, mission, and traditions. When asking a new member to take on a responsibility, a leader needs to be willing to work shoulder to shoulder with that person, guiding, listening, complimenting, and trying new ideas that will bring success to a project or program. Think back to when you were a new member, and be the mentor you wish you had back then.
We consistently face new and ever-growing challenges in our organization. We are faced with the question, “How do we lead in these challenging times?” One of the best answers is to create a meaningful mentoring program for our new members that will encourage them to be leaders when they are ready. For over a hundred years, our leaders have met every challenge that came along. If we mentor our new members, we will continue to meet every challenge for the next 100 years.
Diana Sirovina is a 32-year member of the Auxiliary. She belongs to Bixby-Hansen Unit 171 in Union Grove, Wis.