You Can’t Out-Give What You Get

by Christian D. Malesic, MBA, CAE, CMP, IOM

Leadership is a daunting topic. We all recognize it when we see it; yet, have difficulty describing it. Why do some choose to lead chapters and the national association while others do not? What makes them leaders? How do they make decisions? These are the topics many academic scholars have pondered over the millennia. Thousands of white papers, books, and studies have been written and conducted on the subject. It should not surprise you that there are thousands of definitions of “leader” and “leadership.” Rather than provide you with mine, I will allow you to use your own.

 Of this I am sure: Bobby Tutor and Michael Kallmeyer are leaders – and fine leaders at that.

Bobby J. Tutor, of Tutor Electrical Services, Inc., in Mansfield, Texas, is the current IEC national president, leader of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

Michael Kallmeyer, of Denier Electric Co., Inc., in Grove City, Ohio, is the IEC immediate past president, which also makes him a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

 During the January Board Meeting, held at the IEC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, I was fortunate to avoid the snow storm plaguing the Northeast to spend quality time with both Tutor and Kallmeyer. Though the schedule was filled, the issues were important, and the debate was (at times) rigorous, I did manage to find a few private moments with each of these IEC leaders. What follows are their thoughts on volunteer leadership, service to the association, and representing those we serve.

Why do you volunteer as a leader and why should any of us do it? Why serve on a Board or committee as a volunteer leader at the chapter, state, or national level?

Kallmeyer: The association model is designed to pull resources from a like-constituency. The collective has the ability to accomplish more than any one individual. The collective can do more than any one person or firm.

Tutor: We all have a duty to give back to the industry that provides our living.

Many of us do that already. We attend mixers and networking events, vote at membership elections, and golf in the annual tournaments. Why leadership, though? Why should a member take that extra step?

Tutor: We all can be more and we can do more. Leadership is a level of involvement that causes some of us to reach outside of our comfort zone. It is human nature to take the path of least resistance, to just be a member and let someone else lead. That is safe, but we do not grow if we follow that path.

Kallmeyer: Membership, golf tournaments, and all of the other events are extremely important. Leadership positions fulfill a sense of duty. The collective needs resources, but it also needs leadership and management.

Why do you do it? Is there more to it?

Kallmeyer: I recognized the need. It was my turn.

Is it all give and no take, or do you get something in return for your efforts?

Kallmeyer: There are personal benefits. It helps my industry and my chapter; it is far more fulfilling for me when I am in the mix.

Tutor: I learned a long time ago of one of life’s fundamental principles: you cannot out-give what you get in return. I have learned so much and improved so much from my involvement with IEC. My chapter has gained, my company has gained, I have gained; there is nothing like it.

Kallmeyer: It ebbs and flows. I have received at least 10 times as much as I have given – and that is a conservative estimate. You could put a dollar figure to it – calculate time saved, jobs earned, tricks learned. There is more though, something you can’t put a dollar figure on and that is the business and management education you receive.

When a member is selected for leadership, either through election or appointment, how much of themselves do they put into their decision-making process vs. following the will of their constituents?

Tutor: There is not a hard and fast rule on that. You have a duty to serve your constituents who put you in office, but your greater duty is to the organization. There are times when you go against a few constituents to serve the greater needs of the organization

Kallmeyer: The bottom line is they have to use their own judgment to care for the big picture of the organization and their constituents. Usually, they are mutually inclusive – you can do both.

Tutor: When you are selected to lead, you are entrusted with a Duty of Care. You are selected for leadership because of your good judgment, so there are times you will need to make those tough decisions.

Kallmeyer: Every individual has to examine their own core values and validate their decision-making methods for themselves.

Thank you for your time and your thoughtful guidance.
Any parting thoughts?

Kallmeyer: I am part of this association because my value system personally aligns with the association’s value system. I am proud to be a part of it.

Tutor: I am honored to serve as the 2012 IEC National President. I am appreciative of the support of my peers and I am committed. 2012 will be another great year!

Christian D. Malesic, MBA, CAE, CMP, IOM was a founder of CM Squared, Inc., Full Service Electricians, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and served as its President/ CEO for 16 years. He previously volunteered as the Central Pennsylvania Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC) Chapter President, Vice President, and Apprenticeship & Training Chair. He served on the IEC National Board of Directors representing the Northeast Region. To see more by Christian, visit or to receive notice of the newest articles written by Christian, follow him on Parler @CDMalesic or on Twitter @CDMalesic.

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