The best leaders treat everyone with respect and kindness, especially those who are powerless before them. If we are leaders, we show up first, make sure everything is as it’s supposed to be, and do whatever is necessary. If the chairs aren’t set up, start setting them up, because leadership is doing what’s necessary for everyone to succeed, and no leader is too good for small tasks. That’s especially true for Masons. We meet on the level, as Brethren, from the youngest Entered Apprentice to the Worshipful Master who presides in the East; we are all Master Masons. Details matter, picking up trash matters, sweeping up matters. The Master of a lodge should be the first one to do the meanest work. Like Dr. Perry, he should go out of his way to pick up a pop bottle, because the thing we ignore is the standard we set. As we set out to adjust the rough ashlars in our lives with our working tools, we have to set the highest standard for ourselves. Our influence, our leadership, depends on the standards to which we hold ourselves. We won’t attain perfection, for that is beyond our reach, but if we stretch for it, we will grasp that much more. And maybe, just maybe, we will inspire others to reach a little farther, to go out of their way to give attention to a detail they might not have noticed otherwise, as President Perry inspired someone he didn’t know was watching to spend more time picking up trash. It’s what a leader does.
R.W.B. Michael H. Shirley serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois, A.F. & A.M, as Leadership Development Chairman and Assistant Area Deputy Grand Master of the Eastern Area. A Certified Lodge Instructor, he is a Past Master and Life Member of Tuscola Lodge No. 332 and a plural member of Island City Lodge No. 330, F & AM, in Minocqua, Wisconsin. He currently serves the Valley of Danville, AASR, as Most Wise Master of the George E. Burow Chapter of Rose Croix; he is also a member of the Illinois Lodge of Research, the York Rite, Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees, Eastern Star, Illini High Twelve, and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. The author of several articles on British history, he teaches at Eastern Illinois University.You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org