MARSHALLAN LEADERSHIP By Sir Kt Tony Baffour
My task this morning, courtesy the orders of the Regional Grand Knight and the Regional Noble lady, is to provoke discussions on leadership at a forum of Marshallans. The setting that we find ourselves helps in the determination of the scope and direction for our discussions. In other words, we gathered here as Marshallans will try to relate what leadership is all about to the Marshallan leadership demands of the current times.
My brothers and sisters
My presentation and our discussions will try to address the following:
- What leadership- was, has and should be in the Noble order (what I will call the evolution of Marshallan leadership)
- Who a leader is?
- The source of Authority of Marshallan leadership
- Delegation of powers of Marshallan leadership to prescribed functional offices like secretariat, auditors, finance team, propagandists and guards and sentries etc
- Some Leadership qualities and traits
- Leadership skills and styles in the Noble Order
- Challenges of leadership
What is leadership?
Various definitions depending on who, whom and where, are given to explain leadership. In all of these definitions however, some common elements come up and help in forming the Tony Baffour kind of definition.
For Tony Baffour, leadership is a process of social influence in which a person or groups of persons can enlist the support of others in the accomplishment of a common task, the task of promoting unity charity, fraternity and service, the task of defending the church and its hierarchy etc. being an example. It is not a system where we have a person whom people follow because they are directed to, but rather a social system where an individual or a group either elected or nominated are expected to Marshall through various skills a group of followers to attain a set of goals or objectives.
Leadership is all embracing; it requires the leadership motivating others to accept the dream or goal of the institution, getting their acceptance to be playmakers in the attainment of the dream and sharing in the end results of what had been collectively achieved. So, to me the leader may be the Grand Knight or Noble lady, and leadership encompasses the Advisory Board, secretariat, financial team, guards and sentries indeed all of us gathered here are leaders or a representation of leadership for as long as we can motivate others to march together towards our goal.
You were once referred to as belonging to the ranks, now we have assumed leadership courtesy your investiture and installation in December; being a leader changes everything.
Before you became a leader, success was all about you. It was about your performance. It was about you raising your hand and getting called on and delivering the right answer, it was all about you and you only.
When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It is about making people who work for you, chair persons of committees and ancillary bodies, smarter, bigger, more efficient, bolder and committed to a course. Nothing you do anymore as an individual matters except how you nurture and support your team and help its members increase their self-confidence. Yes, you will get your reward from heaven but only in as much as your team wins.
Put in another way, your success as a leader will come not from what you do, but from the reflected glory of your team. “He who thinks he leads and has no one following him is only taking a walk!”
Now let’s consider that, the dream to have a fraternal society to pull together Catholic lay faithful was made a reality by 13 dreamers who turned their dream into a reality. We now often refer to them as the founders or the leaders of the Noble Order of the Knights and Ladies of Marshall.
Eighty nine years ago, the dream of our leaders or founding fathers was and remains what we still have in our books and teach as the aims and objectives of the Noble Order. The history of the Noble Order tells us of the situation at the time in the Catholic Church of Gold Coast, especially in Sekondi: the hub and coalition point of the educated Gold Coasters.
In the Gold Coast, various groupings at the time were springing up for reasons of social and religious purposes. The Freemasons, the ODD Fellows and other grouping, some of which had religious inclinations, were springing up as well. These grouping often had the educated and influential in the society as members. Their influence, social net work and programmes were used as a bait to lure people to join their circles.
Around this time too, other religious denominations were gaining roots in the country and various methods were adopted to win teachers, most of who had been trained in the Catholic Teachers’ Colleges and formed the group referred as educated. The drift by Catholics into the other social groupings and churches was quite phenomenal. So as a way to counter the drift of educated Catholics and laymen, the 13 founding fathers decided to adopt strategies to halt the movement. They also designed a way to make the Catholic Church still relevant through catholic education. So the aim for the formation of the Knights of Marshall was and is to give answers to the problems which faced the church and its hierarchy at the time. The problem still persists and remains a challenge to the current hierarchy of the church and the leadership of the Noble Order.
So there is a challenge for the present leadership of the Noble order The SK, the GL, the RGK, the RNL, the Gk and NL and all ancillary bodies of the noble order to pursue.
For our discussions today we will forget all but Grand knight and the Noble Lady
Who is the RGK, who is the RNL, who is the Grand Knight and who is the Noble Lady?
STATUS OF THE GRAND KNIGHT /NOBLE LADY
- The Grand knight and the Noble Lady are the representatives and Ambassadors of the Supreme Knight & Grand Lady ………………………..
- They are the chosen leaders of the council or Court (chosen through balloting and election) you are expected to give it leadership
- As the CEO of the council or Court: the GK/NL is charged with the responsibility of observing the laws, bye laws, rule & regulation and ensures their implementation. In the performance of their duties the Gk\NL work with its functional departments and administrative personnel such as the advisory board, secretariat, treasury, guards and sentries and other supporting groups invested during the installation ceremony in December.
SOURCE OF POWER
To perform their roles the Grand Knight and the Noble Lady derive their powers from
- constitution of the Noble order
- Code of ethics of the Noble Order
- Ritual books
- Bye- laws of council/Court
- Rules & regulations of the council and court
The Gk/NL are thus to fully understand these sources of their authority to enable them work efficiently and effectively without fear or favour.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE GRAND KNIGHT/ NOBLE LADY
- With these powers conferred on the grand knight and noble lady they are made primarily responsible for the successful conduct of the council / court and in ensuring that the aims and objectives as well as the inherent meaning of the motto of the order are realized and lived.
The central aim and tenets of the Noble order among others is to unite and inspire catholic men and women for their highest development and elevation in all that appertain to spiritual, social and educational attainments and also for the advancement of Christian way of life. Our order seeks, by perfectly legitimate means, to foster true fraternal spirit among its members and thus to love and assist one another in all aspects of life guided by the defined principles of our order; unity, charity, fraternity and service. We aim at
- The inculcation into the members, loyalty and fidelity to the State and the Church.
- We aim to honor , defend, promote and live the Catholic faith
- We task ourselves to promote and enhance fraternal Catholic spirit, both by personal and group action in all phases of life.
- We seek to promote Catholic education.
- We work to maintain a fraternal order of Catholic lay leadership
- We endevour to prepare the members of the order for apostolate of the church
- We strive to help individual members to develop spiritually
- We seek to render assistance to members and their families in periods of emergency and need. Finally,
- We aspire to undertake any business of financial and economic nature towards the achievement of these ends
Grand Knights, Noble ladies, these are our expectations, (the expectation of Supreme Council and The Grand Court). We expect from you and the leadership the true and full implementation of strategies to provide solutions to the issues raised.
It is said that these lofty dreams and the dream to form a fraternal Catholic society were initiated by one of the founding fathers who sojourned to the Gold Coast from Nigeria. So from the beginning there was a dream and a dreamer. Through the right leadership style, skills and qualities, the dreamer, Sir Kt Vet. Joseph Kwesi-Abba (christened Joseph, Joseph the dreamer, I suppose) was able to get the other 12 founders to accept and buy into his dream. Through effective communication, humble nature, knowledge, wisdom and lobbying the leadership of the church, the 13 founding fathers were able to get the blessing and approval of the hierarchy of the church in the Gold Coast for the formation of the Noble Order in 1926.
It is said that the founding fathers took a lot of time and pain to study and enquire into the nature, structure and organization of similar Catholic societies elsewhere especially the knights of Columbus. Equipped with the full understanding of the operations of the allied knighthood societies they were able to intelligently and convincingly communicate their thoughts and intentions into acceptability. Communication is more than just being able to speak and write. It involves the ability of showing full understanding of all the aspects of what is being pursued. So as a Grand Knight or Noble Lady, as a secretary or treasurer, as a guard or sentry etc. it is recommended that you read, read and read and fully understand all aspects of your role, the noble order, the church and council or court and the socio-political matters in the environment in which we operate. The knowledge that you acquire through these studies builds your confidence and knowledge to offer the appropriate leadership. You can’t be intimidated and bullied; you will be solid in leadership. You should endeavour to add value to any role that is assigned you. As a secretary, you should be able to make your minutes and reports that comprehensive to be comprehended by all; be on top of correspondence and communications with all stakeholders. The administration of the society is virtually in your hands.
As a guard or sentry your duties are to take care of the preparation of the Chamber for all meetings; you are to allow no one to enter the Chamber who is not properly decorated or who does not give the correct alarm and password, you are to ensure that all members are properly decorated and comport themselves in public outings etc.;
These are your duties and the way you execute and comport yourself, the way you communicate and issue command and instructions will always make the difference.
Add value to what you came to meet and leave a mark that you will always be remembered for. This is my expectation of all the other departments of our society. Add value and leave a mark should be your watch word.
Leadership in the noble order requires humility and the show of respect to all while being firm and fair at the same time. In the noble order the cliché has been Marshallans move by ranks not by heights and that wherever Marshallans meet discipline and respect reigns supreme. You could be whatever in the community but as soon as you join the order, you are expected to submit to this cliché. Leadership should offer respect to all to enable it gain respect from all.
Discrimination and groupings based on whatever philosophies and ideologies; ethnicity and polarizations should not be encouraged and entertained because they have the tendency of breaking the society whose foundation is unity. Though most of the foundation members were Fantis from Elmina (eight out of the thirteen), there were others from Ahanta , New Obuasi in Denkyira and Togo they stayed united and focused as Marshallans, matching towards a common goal rather than the pursuance of ethnic and tribal interests.
Once we decide to voluntarily bond ourselves as brothers and sisters with a common objective, leadership must work to remove all shapes and colours, and to work towards the attainment of goal the society has chosen. Leadership should cut tribal and political barriers. Together and united, we can fraternize, do charity and render service to God, our country and our society. (The case of a sister described as delinquent and had attended only two meetings for a whole year was able to win the DNL slot for reasons that could not be explained by even those who voted for her. The answer, parochial interest not that of the society.
It is not enough to have a vision but the determination and the drive to see the vision through. Lots of people see things that should be done, cracks that should be fixed, great steps that should be taken. What makes the leader is the determination to act to achieve the vision. It is the strength and desire to move the vision forward despite all obstacles, despite all that people say, that “it cannot be done”, “it’s too costly”, “we tried it before and it did not work” and a dozen other excuses, the true leader perseveres, convinces and moves forward with its team to its goal for as long as majority of the membership believes in it and gives its blessing.
So, as leaders we’ve got to be determined to achieve results and not be arm chair leaders.
Back to the history of the formation of the noble order, the trait of integrity, transparency, accountability and honesty exhibited by the leadership convinced the membership of the potential and future of the society. The virtue of integrity, transparency and honesty has been the gem which has seen the society grows to the current 119 and 115 councils and courts respectively. We have now entered the new territory of Burkina Faso and hopefully La Cote D’voire by the end of the first quarter of 2016.
Leadership should make the membership believe that the vision chosen and what is being pursued is the right thing to do and it’s for the mutual interest of the society and membership. Setting of wrong and fruitless goals will be resisted and lead to confusion and failure in the council or court
Joseph Kwesi Abba a typical Fanti was described as a people’s person, that is, he understood the differences that make people unique and was able to use those individual skills and capabilities to achieve the set goal. The leadership checked the individual strengths and weaknesses and shared roles and responsibilities based on capacities and capabilities not so much on who joined the group earliest or who is oldest. Taking the case of the 13 founding fathers, though Kwesi Aaba was the Joseph (the dreamer) of the group and the eldest of the 13, born on the 18th of January 1885, he was the deputy grand knight to the much younger Joseph Brookman-Amissah who was born on the 5th of July 1889, four years younger. In the assignment of roles in the noble order, capabilities and capacity should be of great relevance. I appreciate the (me baaye akye) concept because it comes with it experience, but that should not be it all. As leadership you should have the skill to relate and understand the capabilities of your team and use them in the best way to achieve the aims of the society. (Composition of committees being an example).
Check the composition of committees in some council and courts, there are instances where the names of deceased brothers and sisters are published because we fail to take pain in knowing our people and subsequently fail to assign roles based on abilities. How can we expect positive results when ghosts become the executors of our plans?
Leadership should be positive; it should encourage and reward the team players and all brothers and sisters and make them want to do what is expected of them and is right. The leader should not be negative and waste time and effort telling everyone what they are doing wrong; provide a solution, that’s what makes you a leader. Roles in councils and courts come only but once and certainly will come with initial mistakes; we should tolerate leadership making initial mistakes, don’t be harsh with your criticism but encourage them to make amends and improve in their performances
Leadership must be able to motivate everyone to contribute. Each of us has a different button and the leader must know how, where and when to push the right buttons to encourage everyone to do their best to achieve the goal. Do we bother ourselves to say hello or how are you to a brother or sister when we meet them at council or court meetings. That element of recognition can be that magic wand in making all to throw in their support or throw in the towel to leadership.
Deducing from all I have said so far, I will list out some basic qualities of a good leader or leadership for the noble order. They include but not limited to these:
- Leadership must be visionary and with the ability to carry the goals of the council or court and those of the noble order to its final goal. These goals and programmes should be accepted by all as their own. (Common goal). You only have a year to make it or kill it.
- Honesty and integrity should guide leadership to make ethical behavior a key value and certainly your team will follow suit.
- Ability to appreciate the capacity and capabilities of brothers and sisters and delegate appropriate roles based on performance, capabilities and capacity.
- Good communication skills: Knowing what you want to accomplish may seem clear in your mind, but if you try to explain it to someone else and you are met with a blank expression, you must know there is a problem and expectations can’t be positive and fruitful. (Announcement at meetings should be effective)
- Leadership should be Knowledgeable and be on top of issues, the rituals, history, constitution and code of ethics, social teachings of the church and the noble order, the financial and other obligations to the supreme, grand court and the region: deficiency in any of these will open the gates for intimidation, criticisms and failure. (Bullying from officers who claim to know).
- Have confidence and believe in yourself: Don’t panic, do not be afraid, and don’t be anxious, they will not add anything but take the best from your administration. (fear worry, anxiety and doubt are considered the greatest enemy of leadership and they are the darkroom for the development of negatives)
- Cultivate a sense of humility and respect to all, and enlist their support in your programmes during your reign; a leader is as good as his followers.
- Lobby where and when necessary to get your programmes appreciated, accepted and pursued
- Proper preparation towards meetings, this is possible by the active involvement and participation of the Advisory Board and all other stake holders, the secretariat, finance team, guards and sentries at meetings. Improper planning and conduct of meetings can kill the interest of brothers and sisters in attending meetings
- Leadership and meetings should be purposeful and time consciousness should be of great essence and relevance. Start meetings on time and close early, and allow sufficient time to socialize and network after meetings.
- Be commitment to the course of the noble order: hope you have not forgotten the first and the second pledge and promise that you made to your respective councils and I suppose courts during your installations. Hope you remember your answer to the question “do you accept the role and responsibility that go with the position etc and do you accept to place the interest of the Noble order above your own”. If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, then you’ve got to lead by example.
- Be sacrificial with your time and resources, it may only be for a while. Better create a good name while you reign than to be remembered for poor performance and meanness.
- Cultivate a positive attitude: Respect your team as human beings and express appreciation where and when necessary.
- Be creativity and think outside the box. Provide good and interesting programs to uplift the body and the soul. ( cooking for ladies as an example)
- Provide transparent financial and accounting systems to take away all shades of doubts and mistrusts which can shaken the foundation of any administration
- Live above reproach and be disciplined
- Submit requested reports and financial obligations to the supreme council, grand court and the region on schedule, they are major factors in determining performance and placement on the league table
- Keep proper records of events in your court or council to enable you handover properly at the end of your term of office.
- Be guided by the seven points of the Noble Order.
All these were captured in the roles and duties that were read to you when you were installed in December; you may get more of it when we meet in Kumasi in February.
My Brothers and sisters, Leaders dream dreams, they strive in their way of achieving those dreams. They are realistic but unrelenting. They are insistent but polite. They constantly and consistently drive forward towards their goal, they lead and use others to achieve the dream, they ensure that the outcome of the dream is for the mutual gain of all. You can be a leader. You will be-when elected or nominated, you have been elected; you would need to create your followers because a supposed leader without followers is only presumed to be taking a walk.
Accept the very best from me during your reign and administration.
Regional Grand Knight, Regional Noble Lady your orders have been carried out.
Sir Kt. Tony N.N. Baffour,
PSK, SC, PRGK, PGA.
9th January, 2015
SEVEN POINTS OF THE NOBLE ORDER
- Be bold, fearless and brave
- Be regular communicant and show fraternal love and love of God
- Seniority and discipline should reign supreme at all times
- Neither be a Judas or a traitor. Don’t habour ill will or disaffection against one another.
- Cross in Globe: exhibit fraternal love and settle disputes amicably and promptly
- Neither debauch, seduce nor have carnal knowledge of a spouse, son nor daughter
- Eschew anger, malice and all acts that breed discord and dissension. Dwell in amity & love.
PROPER ORGANIZATION OF COUNCIL/ COURT MEETINGS
Why Council/Court Meetings?
- Meetings are designed to ensure proper communion of saints
- Discuss the spiritual and temporal or material welfare of members, the church and the country THROUGH FORMATION PROGRAMMES & NETWORKING
- Requires proper planning and preparations
- Requires an effective and business oriented Advisory Board
- GK/NL to be on top of the rituals
- GK/NL should understand Meeting Procedures
- Ensure dignity, decorum and efficiency in all that is done (rituals & processes)
- Be time conscious and use time effectively and efficiently. Start on time
- Encourage contributions from all but discourage derailed comments
- Design beneficial formation and social programmes
- All books and registers to be available
- All ritualistic articles to be ready especially for initiations, installations and council of sorrows
- Know financial obligations and deadlines
- Minutes are to be brief, concise and well presented
- Good Committee reporting
- Refreshment after labour once a while
Know your obligations
- To the Supreme Council / Court
- To the Regional Council /Court
- To your own council /Court
And adhere to timelines