There are some times when I really wish I wasn’t so well-known at County Headquarters.
As I’ve discussed before, members of our leadership have been quite keen to have me lead the local youth group. One person nearly volunteered me (a technique I rapidly shot down). Another had a long talk with me over the phone, trying to work out what I wanted. Another listened to what I had to say, and left me alone in my current role.
One of my friends, NurseryMan, applied for the job. Before he did this, we had a chat and I supported his decision to take on the role. I honestly thought he would make a good leader for our young people.
The youth team turned him down. The reason we were given was insufficient experience. This is fair enough, as they wanted someone to take over straight away. Unfortunately, nobody else applied, and, privately, I thought it would be an idea to give him a chance. Who knows, he might have been a natural.
I suspect you may can guess how that is going, but more on that later.
Our managers decided that we would lead by committee, much like the unit I had just left. I don’t really like the rank based structure most units use, so I was in favour of this. That is, until the county officer in charge of all of these youth groups wanted me to lead it.
After a lot of umming and ahhing, I agreed, on the provision that it was a temporary measure.
And then we got to the meeting where the committee positions would be divided up. And NurseryMan put his name forward for Chair. I knew I should speak up, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t face speaking up and deliberately taking a job from my friend that I knew he wanted.
So he got the Chair position, and I became secretary. And I single-handedly irritated both our direct manager, and her manager. In fact, they tell me they were fuming after that meeting.
And now, for the next few months, we’re working with it, and I finally see why they didn’t want him to lead.
Don’t get me wrong. He’s a very nice person, and would probably be an excellent teacher. However, I am losing faith in him as a leader.
The young people do not seem to respect him. Despite everything I try, and every time we remind them, they are looking to me as the leader (which is starting to wind me up). He doesn’t seem do anything to disabuse them of this notion. I keep trying, but I’m getting close to giving up (and we’ve only been at this a month…)
I keep trying to take a step back, and get him to make decisions, but it feels like dragging blood out of a stone. I give him a week to decide how to approach a policy, and he only seems to think about it three minutes before I want to photocopy the letters.
As a committee, we agreed to aim to arrive at meeting nights about twenty minutes before the meeting. I usually get there an hour early to get some work done. Our equipment officer gets there shortly after. He arrives about ten minutes before, if we’re lucky. This makes our lives difficult when we need decisions made before we get started.
It’s particularly frustrating, because at the moment we’re still at the stage of reacting to everything that is happening, not anticipating. This makes things stressful, as everything needs doing now! Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he has any plans on how to get policies and plans together to get us on top of things, and he has yet to arrange any leader’s meetings to do these things.
Our management are still not convinced that he is suitable. They are planning to review the situation at the end of the year, and they have asked me to apply for the job.
This is leaves me with a difficult decision. I agree that NurseryMan is not the best person for this job. I’m not convinced that I am either, but I’m going to take their word for it. At least, I suppose, I have some experience about how things work in the Organisation. I suspect that, unless someone else applied, I would get the role.
But how do I apply for a role that I know he wants. If I’m appointed, how do I look him in the eye and say ‘Yes. I applied for your role.” For that matter, how can I look in the rest of the committee’s eyes and say that?
But how can I leave things as they are? What if we end up with no leader? That will hardly be better.
Why does what I see as the best answer feel like I’m stabbing him in the back. And why does being honourable and faithful leave us all knee-deep in the brown and sticky stuff…
I need some advice, and feel like I have nobody to turn to…
Some times, this stuff sucks.