“Alice in Club Land” or “How to Keep a Club Leadership from Working”

We’ve all experienced “Backseat Drivers”  blathering on & crying “wolf,” and the hold outs who get their joy out of some sort of “Schadenfreunde” perverse jolly of letting their supposed friends flounder on obstacles they either didn’t mention or concealed.

In both cases the cases of “Backseat Drivers” and “Schadenfreunden” the real problem is willfully distorted communications.

The Backseat Driver so overloads the real driver with comments, mock-warnings and injunctions that any real contribution they do make is self-poisoned by their past “noises.”

The “Dark Friend” does the opposite, not calling out warnings of real hazards so they can take joy in the resulting crash.

Over-communicating with great lashings of Red Herrings, and Under-communicating to blind-side – both are unhealthy.

As an adjunct of communication issues, often other issues com into play:

  • Bullying – General Bullying, Grandstanding  and constant demands to special reassurance of some sort of unwarranted special status.
  • Skewing Reality – Revisionism (sometimes called dysfunctional reframing.)
  • Living in the Past – Unwillingness to correct errors of the past.
  • Setting Opinion ahead of Laws & Facts – Unrealistic ignoring of legal, tax and interpersonal damages personal bad decision making has caused.
  • Moral Relativism – Lack of ethics and continued repeating of “Mantra” to self avoid  recognizing poor actions that actual have no justification.

There are many more, but usually some combination will be at play in a Club at any one time.

Other factors which may get in the way of allow club leadership to be effective in leading are:

  • The classic Generational Issues (lack of shared knowledge, focus and valuation of historic practices)
  • Social Cultural Issues (a younger group of all University Graduates tends to have a different take than a older trade-focused group might)
  • Economic Issues (a decent starter rig is a fraction of what one was 40 years ago in constant money)
  • Comfort with Technology Issues (the younger members may even talk a different technology language)
  • Living in “Groundhog Days” Daze (never moving forward with skills, ending up in conflict with those actively learning more & more)
  • and many more pressures.

Most of these can not only be overcome, but become working points for a joint sharing of knowledge & experience, if the participants are willing & able.

If emotionally they are fixated – say that unless it is a SDR Transceiver it doesn’t count, or the reverse that unless it glows with tubes it isn’t worthy – it becomes unlikely to reach a forward growth pattern.

Often putting one function of Amateur Radio ahead of all others is the downfall.  Remember it is only a hobby.

Involving money often brings out a less savory side of club dynamics, specially if someone tries to “lead by checkbook” using their personal wealth to steer a club unwillingly, or if some members are being somehow compensated in secret for closely related activities.

Dealing with sticky-fingers is often another issue.  Even when deals are done, what might be self-justified as “clever & sharp trading” by a club member may be seen as having taken an undue advantage by others.

All of these things unchecked will reduce the ability for a clubs leadership to actually lead, but nothing cripples it more than dealing with “Alice in Club Land” – the overly emotive sort who tell you “I don’t care what the facts are, what the documents say, or what we agreed, I feel we should do things this way….” and throw a tantrum that would do Louis Carroll’s characters proud.

In future posts over the next six months some of these situations will be touched upon, with suggestions on ways that have worked to get by them.



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