If you visit any Masonic lodge you will find pictures of all the Past Masters prominently displayed in the anteroom. In my lodge, you will see pictures that date to the lodge’s beginning in 1803.
I’ve looked at them numerous times but it wasn’t until recently that I saw these pictures in a different light. In discussing a leader’s legacy in leadership class I suddenly wondered; “what legacy did each of those leaders leave?” Was there some extraordinary event or program that a particular Master initiated that still remains or caused something to happen that dramatically altered the lodge in some way?
In my lodge, it is easy to find those whose who can be connected to historic events in the history of the lodge. The first Master, the Master when the building was erected, the Masters who served the centennial and bi-centennial years and the Master who led when the lodge ownership was transferred to the grand lodge that ensured our financial well-being by eliminating the costs of building ownership.
But as I scanned the pictures and came to those Masters who served at the time of my becoming a Mason and on to the present time, my thoughts were not of historical events or programs but of my recollection of my relationship with them. When I look at their pictures my thoughts immediately go to the times we worked on lodge projects together, performed degree work together or just laughed together. I really can’t recall whether they were regarded as good leaders, I can only recall that I regarded them as good brothers and I truly enjoyed being around them.
So today I look at leadership legacy with an expanded perspective. These Masters I knew well left a lasting relationship legacy with me. For each of them, I can recall a conversation, a funny story or how they practiced Masonry. This is the legacy the matters the most to me.
So a big part of your leadership legacy will depend upon the relationships you build and nurture.
The statement by Dr. John Maxwell “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you really care” is so true. My thoughts about the Past Masters of my lodge were not about their knowledge but about my good relationships with them and their caring attitude toward me and the other brothers.
So when some brother in the future looks at your picture on the wall what thoughts will go through his mind about you? Will his first thoughts tie you to some event like “Mike was Master when the ceiling fell down in the lodge room,” or will it be “Mike was a really great guy and a great Mason.”
What will be your legacy? Think about it.