Concept Nine: Good service leaders, together with sound and appropriate methods of choosing them are at all levels indispensable for our future functioning and safety.
The Twelve Concepts for World Service Illustrated p. 18
Good leadership cannot function well in a poorly designed structure…Weak leadership can hardly function at all, even in the best of structures.” Due to C.A.’s principle of rotation, furnishing our service structure with able and willing workers has to be a continuous effort. The base of the service structure—and the source of our leadership is the General Service Representative. The G.S.R. is the service leader for their group, the indispensable link between the group and C.A. as-a-whole. Together the G.S.R.s are C.A.’s group conscience—and together, in their areas, they elect the area committee members and ultimately the delegates and the area’s candidates for trustee.
CA NewsGram, Third Quarter 2011, Vol. 28 No. 3 “Trusted Servants, Our Leaders”
In Tradition Two we rely on God to be present in our group conscious decisions. As we carry out these decisions at all levels of the fellowship we rely on our trusted servants who have been given this responsibility. These trusted servants who have been elected by the group conscience as stated in the tradition are expected to be leaders. Leadership to the fellowship is imperative in order to carry out the Fifth Tradition, which states that we “to carry the message to the addict who still suffers”. What then do we strive for as a leader in the fellowship? Let us look at two different aspects.
1) The Bleeding Deacon. This is a person who because they have a number of years in sobriety believe they have all the answers. They are, for the most part, very self centered. They do not listen to others nor do they feel anyone else may have a credible idea. They manipulate situations for their own benefit and intimidate others around them until they get their own way—truly not a Trusted Servant Leader.
2) The Elder Statesman. This person would be the true leader. They are people who respect others opinions and with gentle input with their time experience and expertise advise the fellowship without expecting any reward. This person acts with no benefit of personal prestige. The true Elder Statesman acts with a God Conscious mind respecting the group conscious.
What then are some of the qualities that the true Trusted Servant Leader should strive for?
Spiritually fit–a person who practices in their daily life the 12 Steps of the program. A person who is not perfect, who strives to correct mistakes and move on with a positive attitude of helping others to achieve sobriety.
Responsibility–Takes the position elected to seriously. Follows through on projects and does not let things go until the last minute. Shows up on time and does not let others wait. Gives an attitude that things can get done, and carries out the task. Does not find a myriad of excuses for not completing their projects.
Knowledgeable–Educates oneself as much as possible on how to accomplish the task. Listens and learns from others who have done the job before. They do not act in any arrogant way that they have all the answers.
Mediator–Works well with others in order to settle disputes which may affect the fellowship as a whole. Listens to both sides of the question and with wisdom and spiritual help, comes to a decision.
Negotiator–Many tasks in the fellowship require negotiating with outside organizations in order to do business. This is a special talent. Background, education, and experience are a priority here so that the fellowship can get the greatest benefit. This is a hard task and a Trusted Servant Leader needs to rely on patience, perseverance, tolerance and integrity.
Educator and Teacher–This Trusted Servant Leader should be able to pass along their knowledge and experience to the upcoming. We need leaders in the future and education for these futures leaders must come from those who have come before.
Capability–It does not benefit the fellowship in any way to have a person elected to a position who does not have the practical knowledge to accomplish the task. On many levels of service certain capabilities may be needed and it is unfair to the person and the fellowship if these requirements are not met. The fellowship needs to be truly honest with themselves in electing people who can accomplish the task.
Firm and not dictatorial–A true Trusted Servant Leader needs to present a positive capable attitude, presenting to the group with all the information at hand. But, they cannot dictate in any authoritarian way. After presenting all of the information to the fellowship a decision is made by the God driven group conscience.
Finally, a true Trusted Servant Leader needs to follow the principles of the program to the best of their ability. The true Trusted Servant Leader is one who through example guides the fellowship to benefit the action of the Fifth Tradition “to carry the message to the addict who still suffers”.
Clarifying Questions and Answers:
Q: What is the source of all C.A. leadership? A: The Group Service Representative (G.S.R.)
Q: Why are G.S.R.s so important to overall C.A. leadership? A: The G.S.R. is the service leader for their group, the indispensable link between the group and C.A. as a whole. G.S.R.s are C.A.’s group conscience.
Q: How do the G.S.R.s affect C.A. at all levels of service? A: Elected by the members of their Group, the G.S.R.s play an important role in electing the area committee members and ultimately the delegates and the area’s candidates for trustee.
Q: What ongoing need comes out C.A.’s principle of rotation? A: To furnish our service structure with able and willing workers has to be a continuous effort.
Q: Why is leadership so imperative to our fellowship? A: To carry out the Fifth Tradition—”to carry the message to the addict who still suffers.”