I was invited to join Club 85 a few years ago. Club 85 is a team that meets to plan our high school’s best class reunions. During the non-planning years, we get together to socialize. Since I have been a member, I have learned that even informal groups follow some of the different leadership theories. The two leadership theories that I choose for Club 85 are path-goal and servant theories.
Path-goal theory is how a leader motivates the followers to achieve a goal (Northouse, 2013). The task for Club 85 was to plan the very best class reunion. Before Club 85, I had tunnel vision about reaching the goal and did not allow myself to be distracted from reaching the goal. At my first meeting, we spent about five minutes planning the reunion. The rest of the time we discussed parents, families, life events, and other classmates. I learned from Club 85 that as long as the goal is reached by the deadline, it does not matter the path the group takes even if there is a detour or two.
Servant leadership is defined as a leader that wants to serve others. Two characteristics of servant leadership are the ability to listen and community building (Northouse, 2013). Some of the members of Club 85 take turns in leading the group. One common feature of all of the group members is the ability to listen to all of the suggestions from the other group members without immediately dismissing the idea. The suggestion was discussed before either accepting or denying the idea was to discuss the logistics of the suggestion. The final decision whether accept or deny the suggestion was based on the logistics not who made the suggestion. Another aspect of servant leadership is the ability to build a safe place for everyone which is community building. I sensed a unity among the members of Club 85 from the very first meeting and is there for one another when life events occur.
I have adapted the leadership (and follower) skills into the team projects for school that I learned from my involvement in Club 85. I have found that it is OK to make another path to reach the goal; all suggestions are useful; and a sense of unity can build both team and personal relationships. Club 85 has taught me to enjoy the ride – you never know where the road will lead you.
Northouse, P. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.