Own the Behavior, Not the Organization

Property Laws of a ToddlerWhy do certain members fill like they own the group they have joined?

I belong to several groups.  The three that I’m most involved in are a read and critique group (member for 3 years), a Celtic discussion group (3 years) and a professional library association (30 years).   AARP eligible members compose the first two groups.  The library group is about half senior citizens and half librarians too young to be retirement eligible.

One or more members (both male and female)  expect the rest of us to follow wherever they lead.  Some of them do a better job of paying lip service to other people’s ideas, but it’s a pretense since they assume their ideas are so much better.

Read and Critique Group — Some of the members have actually taken their marbles and left the group entirely.  The group was in transition and they rightly felt that their ideas and experience would benefit the group.  When all of their ideas were not welcomed with open arms, they left in various fits of pique.  (This may explain  why they appear to have lost a few marbles in the process-pun intended).

Celtic Discussion Group — Two leaders and several participants.  One of the leaders offers recommendations and then promptly assumes consensus.  During the course of each discussion, she’ll take us on a tangent of her choosing.  Often, we lack the time to get back to the chapter we were supposed to be discussing.

Library Group –  One person has carried the organization for several years.  She is its most successful fundraiser and has repeatedly ‘lent’ the group thousands of dollars by putting a variety of conference-related expenses on her credit card until she can be reimbursed by the organization.  She is our corporate memory and is, fortunately, a benign despot.  She is also the only one of the examples given who acknowledges her behavior.

Why do some people feel that like ‘their’ organization is ‘theirs?  These are all organizations that are run by volunteers.  Except for the Celtic Discussion group which is too small to have a board,  the groups have a board and committees.  There is as least one King or Queen Bee who feels that the group should be run in their own image whether they are on the board or heading a committee.  Except for the lady from the library group, they would be astonished if confronted with with how others view their organizational usurpation.

Do you belong to a volunteer group that is OWNED by one or more members, despite the fact that the group is open to any interested or dues-paying member? What do you think about these self-appointed Queen or King Bees?