Fourth Concept

Effective leadership is highly valued in Narcotics Anonymous. Leadership qualities should be carefully considered when selecting trusted servants.

Effective leadership is highly valued in NA, and the Fourth Concept speaks of the qualities we should consider when selecting leaders for ourselves. However, we should remember that the fulfillment of many service responsibilities requires nothing more than the willingness to serve. Other responsibilities, while requiring certain specific skills, depend for their fulfillment far more heavily on the trusted servant’s spiritual maturity and personal integrity. Willingness, spiritual depth, and trustworthiness are strong demonstrations of the kind of leadership valued most highly in Narcotics Anonymous.

From the Service Pamphlet – Principles and Leadership in NA Service

On Selecting Trusted Servants

The task of selecting leaders in our service bodies can be difficult at times. It might seem unkind to subject a member to intense scrutiny simply because that member has expressed a willingness to serve. In keeping with our Twelfth Tradition, our Fourth Concept calls upon us to consider leadership qualities carefully even if it feels uncomfortable to do so. We need to keep in mind that we are not judging our fellow recovering addicts’ value as NA members or as people; we are simply evaluating their potential to be effective in a given trusted servant position. Many members in our fellowship are wonderful living examples of the principles of our program and have a variety of leadership qualities. If their particular skills and experience do not match those necessary for an open position, we should strive to help them find other ways to serve. To put a member in a position for which he or she is not well-suited does a disservice both to that member and to our service efforts.

To put principles before personalities, we match talent to task and leave our feelings out of it. That might mean making ourselves available for a position, even when we fear rejection. Or it could mean electing someone we don’t like because we know he or she can do the job well. Even more challenging for most of us, putting principles before personalities may mean not electing someone who is our friend because we know he or she is unsuited for a position. We practice anonymity by focusing solely on the job at hand and the qualifications of each candidate, and choosing the person who fits best to do the job. These sometimes-challenging acts of conscience by each of us as individuals are the very building blocks of true group conscience.