Student Leadership Series - Motivating the Middle, Reducing Apathy in Your Student Organization
Your student organization has thirds. Top-third leaders wrap their personal identity in your group, exert the most influence on its actions, and make your group their top priority. Middle-third members care about your organization and the relationships they have there, but it’s one of several competing priorities. Bottom-third members are disengaged, potentially causing drama, or checked out. Unfortunately, most top-third leaders spend the majority of their time fighting the bottom-third – trying to make them attend events, care more deeply, and contribute more.
In 2012, T.J. published “Motivating the Middle: Fighting Apathy in College Student Organizations” which has quickly become one of the top selling books on student leadership in the nation. In his book, T.J. urges student leaders to start motivating and leading their members based on those members’ chosen level of engagement. You can’t make a bottom-third member care as much as a top-third leader! But, you can motivate and lead everyone if you adopt appropriate strategies specific to your members’ level of engagement. And, T.J. says, student leaders need to focus less energy on the disengaged bottom-third and start spending more time “Motivating the Middle.”
By attending this workshop, Students will
Understand different levels of “engagement” in their members or constituents and what motivates and engages each level (Org Behavior)
Discuss how certain events, practices or habits negatively impact motivation and engagement (Org Behavior)
Identify ways to move towards the strategy of engaging members where they are vs. where you want them to be and how to set more realistic expectations of member involvement. (Group Development)