Association Leadership - July/August 2012 - (Page 7)
CHAIRMAN’S COLUMN LEADERSHIP SUPPORT
John Sharbaugh, CAE Executive Director/CEO Texas Society of Certiﬁed Public Accountants
s one gets older, it certainly feels like the hands of time are turning faster. Seasons come and go at a rapid clip. While my year as chairman of TSAE seems like it just started, in reality it will soon be coming to an end. I am honored to have served and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, most of all because of the people with whom I have had the opportunity to serve. To the members of the TSAE Board of Directors, I say a big “thank you.” TSAE is lucky to have the dedicated individuals who provide leadership on our Board. They come from different backgrounds, serve in different types and sizes of associations, and they bring to their role a passion for association management and making TSAE a better organization for all members. It has been a pleasure to serve with them this past year. Another group that deserves high praise is the staff of TSAE, under the leadership of Beth Brooks, our CEO. The TSAE staff makes serving as a volunteer easy and an enjoyable experience. They too make TSAE a great organization by managing the details of our operations while helping the Board focus on the strategic direction of TSAE. One of the rewards of being chairman is getting a closer look at what the TSAE staff really does on a day-to-day basis, and I have been impressed with their dedication and professionalism. Association management is ﬁrst and foremost a “people business.” Whether it is TSAE or any of the wide variety of associations that make up TSAE, each is predicated on serving a set of people/ members. Most of our activities as association professionals relate to dealing and interacting with people – members and staff. You can’t really be an association executive and work in isolation. It just isn’t possible. So if you don’t like people, you really may want to reconsider your career choice at this point.
And any time you are dealing with people, you will end up being surprised, because human beings are unpredictable creatures. As a result, you will experience the highs and lows of human interaction ranging from honesty and selﬂess action, to pettiness and deceit. As association professionals, it is our job to lead by always looking for the “better angels” in other people. We may not always ﬁnd them right away, but we must constantly seek and reinforce the positive in others. I call this “taking the high road” in our leadership and interactions with others. Taking the high road is not always easy and, therefore, it can be the road less traveled. On this journey we will sometimes fall short (I know I have) and we will encounter obstacles along the way. Like a physical journey you will need some help and reinforcements to sustain you. It is important to have a network of other people who can help you stay on the right path. For me, part of that network is my family. My wife, Carolyn, is a major source of support for me. But my network is also made up of other association professionals that I know and trust. Folks I can turn to for advice and guidance. And that’s where TSAE can help you. You can ﬁnd within TSAE a network of others who are dealing with similar problems and situations, who can help give you ideas and advice in dealing with whatever challenges you may encounter in your job, whether it relates to dealing with people, leadership or any other issues. A common theme I have heard from the volunteer leaders in my own organization is that they personally got a lot more out of their volunteer leadership service than they gave. As my year as TSAE chairman comes to a close, I now understand what they meant. It has been a great experience for me and I have gained much more than I have given. Thanks again for the opportunity.
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