“Ann, nobody wants your job”

drawing of king of golf

© Can Stock Photo Inc./kuco

Arnold Palmer passed away in October. I was interested to read in one obituary that he hated his nickname, “King of Golf.” He was quoted as saying, “There is no king of golf. Never has been, never will be. Golf is the most democratic game on earth. It punishes and exalts us all with splendid equal opportunity.”

Palmer’s quote is a sobering comment for those of us who serve as president of our club, association, neighborhood group or board of directors. Human nature being what it is, there is always the temptation to act as if a leadership position has made us special.

Feeling special

This was bluntly brought home to me when I was discussing our chorale with one of the members this month. She told me that I’m a fine president, and encouraged me to serve for a good long while. As I was beaming quietly, she followed this up by saying, “Ann, nobody wants your job.”

Sadly true, I’m afraid. Our current busy lives means that fewer of us have the spare time and energy necessary for volunteer service. In a small chorale like ours – under 60 members – the ranks can get a little thin.

So I’m glad to have a reminder that life itself will punish and exalt us, and it doesn’t do to take it all too personally. We can serve, and enjoy the honor of the position, and feel satisfaction in the good work accomplished, while still holding ourselves lightly. There should never be a king, in a voluntary organization, and that’s a good thing. Arnold Palmer RIP.

Have you had leadership issues in your club or organization? Share them in the comments!

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Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.