Leadership in A.A.: Ever a Vital Need
(Excerpts from Bill W.’s article in the April 1959 Grapevine. See Concept IX, page 36 of “Twelve Concepts for World Service” for the full article.)
Somewhere in our literature there is a statement to this effect: “Out leaders do not drive by mandate: they lead by example.” In effect, we are saying to them, “Act for us, but don’t boss us.”…
Therefore, a leader in A.A. service is a man (or woman) who can personally put principles, plans, and policies into such dedicated and effective action that the rest of us want to back him up and help him with his job. When a leader power-drives us badly, we rebel; but when he too meekly becomes an order-taker and he exercises no judgement of his own – well, he really isn’t a leader at all …
Good leadership originates plans, policies, and ideas for the improvement of our Fellowship and its service. But in new and important matters, it will nevertheless consult widely before taking decisions and actions. Good leadership will also remember that a fine plan or idea can come from anybody, anywhere. Consequently, good leadership will often discard its own cherished plans for others that are better, and it will give credit to the source …
Good leadership never passes the buck. Once assured that it has, or can obtain, sufficient general backing, it freely takes decisions and puts them into action forthwith, provided, of course, that such action be within the framework of its defined authority and responsibility …
Another qualification for leadership is give-and-take, the ability to compromise cheerfully whenever a proper compromise can cause a situation to progress in what appears to be the right direction. Compromise comes hard to us all-or-nothing drunks. Nevertheless, we must never lose sight of the fact that progress is nearly always characterized by a series of improving compromises. We cannot, however, compromise always. Now and then, it is truly necessary to stick flat-footed to one’s conviction about an issue until it is settled. These are situations for keen timing and careful discrimination as to which course to take …
Leadership is often called upon to face heavy and sometimes long-continued criticism. This is an acid test. There are always the constructive critics, our friends indeed. We ought never fail to give them a careful hearing. We should be willing to let them modify our opinions or change them completely. Often, too, we shall have to disagree and then stand fast without losing their friendship.
Copyright © by AA Grapevine, Inc.; excerpted with permission.
DELEGATE – firstname.lastname@example.org
From Chapter VI of the AA Service Manual:
The Delegate’s position exacts a great deal of time and work. . The Delegate is the liaison to our General Service Office (GSO) and to other Areas in the United States and Canada. In addition, the Delegate shall produce an article for each Newsletter as well as after each Area Election provide names and contact information for all newly elected Area Officers to the GSO.
The delegate has a demanding job, not only because a large amount of time and work are involved, but because it is the delegate’s responsibility to serve the US/Canada Conference as a whole. As voting members of the Conference, delegates bring to its deliberations the experiences and viewpoints of their own areas. Yet they are not representatives of their areas in the usual political sense; after hearing all points of view and becoming fully informed during Conference discussion, they vote in the best interests of A.A. as a whole.
Though the high point is the Conference meeting, the delegate’s job goes on year-round and involves all aspects of the Conference structure. The delegate should:
Attend the annual Conference meeting fully prepared. Immediately upon election, every delegate is put on the G.S.O. mailing list to receive Conference materials.
Communicate the actions of the Conference to area committee members and encourage them to pass on this information, and the delegate’s enthusiasm, to groups and to intergroups/central offices. If an area is too large for the delegate to cover in person, he or she will ask area officers and committee members to share the load.
Be prepared to attend all area and regional service meetings and assemblies applicable to his/her respective area. From these meetings, delegates come to better understand their own areas and can make suggestions for the Conference agenda. Here, too, they come in contact with A.A. members who might not be reached otherwise.
Help area committees obtain financial support for the area and G.S.O.
Provide leadership in solving local problems involving the A.A. Traditions.
Remind G.S.R.s to inform groups and individuals about the A.A. Grapevine and Conference-approved literature.
Cooperate with G.S.O. in obtaining information—for example, making sure that upto-date information reaches G.S.O. in time to meet the deadline for each issue of the A.A. directory and helping carry out the triennial membership surveys.
Visit groups and districts in the area whenever possible.
Work closely with committee members and officers, sharing experience throughout the year. After G.S.R.s and committee members have reported on the Conference, learn from these A.A.s how groups and members have reacted.
Assume added responsibility if the area chair and alternate chair are unable to serve. Or, if an area committee is not functioning effectively, the delegate may take an active role in remedying the situation.
Keep the alternate delegate fully informed and active, so that the alternate can replace the delegate in an emergency.
Late in the second year of the term, work with newly elected delegates to pass along a basic knowledge of Conference proceedings and problems.
From the Central California Area Assembly Guidelines:
The Delegate is the liaison to our General Service Office (GSO) and to other Areas in the United States and Canada. In addition, the Delegate shall produce an article for each Newsletter as well as after each Area Election provide names and contact information for all newly elected Area Officers to the GSO.