The Office of the Seneschal - Kingdom of Lochac

From the Seneschal

December 2009

We all want to succeed. We want our groups and our Kingdom to succeed also. Given that we may each propose different ways of going about it, what's the best path to success?

In my experience, there is one approach has the best chance of a good result no matter what you are doing:

Be positive.

Naturally, that means adopting a positive attitude towards yourself and your own projects: get them out there for discussion, don't just sit and ponder! But you must also apply the same approach to the ideas and priorities of those around you, on whose cooperation you depend if you (or they) are going to achieve something worthwhile.

Being positive doesn't mean a gung-ho "damn-the-torpedoes" approach to things. It relates to your entire attitude to the rest of your group, to your fellow officers up and down the line, and also to people outside the Society whom we wish to draw in.

It sometimes means cutting people a bit of slack when they fail to live up to your standards, or to your perception of a situation, and then looking for a good way through in spite of whatever problem their failing has caused.

It means being patient and calm when you want to be loud and pushy (save your venting for your best friend, as it almost never helps in a public setting). It means swallowing a retort - whether written or spoken - by exercising a bit more maturity than the person who provoked you.

Above all, it means applying the first rule of working with human beings:

"Never assume malice when something can be attributed to miscommunication or mistake".

I know that you, like me, will have seen, or been on the receiving end of, far too many blowups because someone has failed to apply that rule. Try not to be the person who forgets it. When it IS forgotten, recognise how easy that is, and try to calmly and patiently bring things back to a happier state.

Most of all, strive to see the good in what others are doing and saying, and then reflect that back to them. In this imperfect world, it is all too easy to undermine the efforts or morale of others, because we're all prone to mistakes if we're actually DOING anything. Therefore, try to do the opposite, and focus on the good efforts and good outcomes. This will build motivation, rather than erode it, and that's vital because it's our most precious resource.

It's awfully hard work at times, but the dividends can be long-lasting, and very rewarding indeed.

Bartholomew Baskin
Lochac Seneschal



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