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#41 TAHAWK

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 07:43 PM

You must Scout in a different "world" than the rest of us.

 

Practically speaking, and regardless of theory, all the strategic-level Scouters are paid Scouters.  We volunteers can come up with strategically-significant ideas, but we will not have input into strategic decisions.  We are neither strategic leaders nor members of the core constituency for BSA..  If we were, things would look different.  

 

Under two years ago, I encountered a paid Scouter at Corporate who was a real Scouter,  and he had great hopes to fix things, esp. in the realm of training.  He saw many areas where improvement was needed. He no longer has that job. So even he could not have strategic impact.

 

I do what I can when I can to brighten the corner where I am.  I do not delude myself that I have any great impact on the machine - just hope to impact some kids - directly and through training other Scouters.

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The patrol is the team in Scouting.  The troop is merely the league in which the patrols play the game of Scouting.  Scoutmaster, how are your teams doing?.  


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#42 TAHAWK

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 08:00 PM

Tahawk, you mentioned the outdoor elements.   But is it the same way now?   They have been slowly eroded over time.   Talking to recent WB grads, I don't sense they did anything on the scale of your experience.   I wonder how could an outdoor organization allow that to happen to its top-line leader training?

 

The change didn't happen overnight, but once the door was open, more "back in town" folks came in to an organization that was successful because of outdoor adventure.   I may be wrong, and often am, but I think that BSA's willful partnership with the White Stag folks indicated a desire to move away from the outdoors.   Proponents have had a larger and more influential voice since.

 

You raise excellent points re the sources and motivations thereof.    I take the White Stag info at face value.   I'm not sure why they'd post information that put them or the BSA in a less than favorable light.   The lack of BSA sources--I attribute that to inefficiency and willful omission.   Indeed, GB Bill came out of retirement and wrote the wonderful 9th edition of the HB.   I still recall, as a scout, getting a copy and reading it till the wee hours.   It was superb!   Once the '80s ended, however, we don't hear much of Bill from official BSA channels.   Shameful.

 

I spoke of version 2 - Wood Badge that some allege marked the  beginning in 1971 of the conspiracy to destroy "traditional Scouting."

 

The current version has virtually no Scoutcraft. It is all leadership methods training.  Supposedly, IOLS covers the same material as the original Wood Badge in 1/8th of the time.  What are we doing about that in our districts?

 

Some White Stag folks influenced adult and youth training in BSA.  In their confidence, they do not feel the quoted language puts them in a bad light.  As they(believe they) were right and Bill was wrong, the quotes show how poor, obsolete Bill had to be disregarded.

 

But BSA has left White Stag behind.  They preach the disregarded notions of "leadership skills " Yet they go on doing what they can to advance the ideas that they think are best.  What are we doing about promoting the ides we think are right?

 

There ought to be a required ratio of doing something to complaining about what others are doing.


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#43 desertrat77

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 08:03 PM

LOL Tahawk, I'm in the same world as you.

 

Let me put it this way.  

 

Yes, there are strategic level scouters, as indicated by their duty title and position on the org chart.

 

Then there are scouters, at all levels, that through their attitude and actions, influence the organization.   For good or ill. 

 

For example, an anti-outdoor district/council/unit level scouter, in good standing, in what is supposed to be an outdoor-oriented organization, is not operating solo.   They may not have a strategic spot on the org chart, but they certainly reflect the strategic vision of the organization.  


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#44 desertrat77

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 08:09 PM

I do what I can when I can to brighten the corner where I am.  I do not delude myself that I have any great impact on the machine - just hope to impact some kids - directly and through training other Scouters.

Spot on.   We do what we can, where ever we might be.


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#45 qwazse

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 07:19 AM

You've heard my hypothesis elsewhere, that one blind spot in all these timelines is the national ban in the late 1960s on anyone over 18 (barring severe disability) from participating in rank advancement. The only published language I found on this from the time was from Boy's Life saying the requirements would be too easy for adults. Perhaps it was inconceivable at the time that adults might be incompetent at timber hitches, or the mechanics of citizenship.

But, maybe it was deeper than that. Maybe there was an evolving perception that adults were needed to "lead" at a more conceptual level. Tying knots and knowing birds well just wasn't "good" enough. A pity, because some of these heated environmental debates could be communicated more readily give by a common grasp of ornithology.

Clearly the prevailing notion is that boys can't learn leadership from a conceptual level. (Actually, I think it's more that they won't sit for hours straight being lectured at, bless them.) Therefore to some scoutcraft is a necessary evil, a means to and end. Not necessarily an end itself.
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#46 TAHAWK

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 10:55 AM

There is some question - again - about the "ends"? 

 

 

An adult got Eagle when I was a Scout.  We all thought it was pretty weird.   :o


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#47 MattR

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 11:39 AM

@TAHAWK, so in the old days of more outdoor skills and patrol method, how was leadership taught?
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#48 Stosh

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 12:13 PM

None of the early documents of the BSA talked much about youth leadership being taught, the emphasis was more on individual moral character and citizenship.


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#49 Eagledad

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 01:28 PM

None of the early documents of the BSA talked much about youth leadership being taught, the emphasis was more on individual moral character and citizenship.

It has been and still taught a lot, but what is called leadership in the training has been redefined as management on this forum.

 

Ironically, "taking care of your scouts" is a character and citizenship emphasis with leadership skills as the byproduct. Simply making decisions within the definition of the POR responsibilities using the oath and law as guidelines leads to developing habits of character and citizenship. Servant leadership habits are a result of those decisions. 

 

The reason technical leadership discussions don't go very far on these forums is because they don't add much information to how we develop leadership in our programs. "Take care of your scouts" pretty much says it all.

 

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#50 desertrat77

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 03:07 PM

None of the early documents of the BSA talked much about youth leadership being taught, the emphasis was more on individual moral character and citizenship.

I think this is true, up to/including my time as a scout in the '70s.   Very few scouts I knew went to Brownsea II and like courses.   It was rare and considered a great privilege to attend (SM picked who went). 

 

When we were elected patrol leader or SPL, and fulfilling those responsibilities, we learned how to be leaders and managers on the job, with virtually no theory or academic foundation.   (In fact, the word "leader" was not used often, unless your POR was mentioned by name, and I never heard the word "manager."   But that's what we were doing--leading and managing--without knowing it.  You were just getting the job done, and striving to do it well.)  The scouters and senior scouts advised us.   We learned by trial and error.   Feedback followed, both good and bad.  

 

Frankly, I thought it worked pretty well.   Maybe that's why I get impatient when I'm attending some types of leadership training.   Some of it is good stuff, but much of it is just a mind-numbing dissection of lessons, buzzwords, and theories that are best learned on the job.


Edited by desertrat77, 28 February 2016 - 03:10 PM.

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#51 Stosh

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 04:02 PM

Even though management, i.e. "getting the job done" is easily taught, and current training seems to be geared towards that with the current curriculum.  However, if one were to go back to the original by-laws of the BSA would would find the purpose of the organization would be:

 

"The object of the Boy Scouts of America is to organize the boys of the District of Columbia and elsewhere in the United States, into units, and to teach them or cause them to be taught through duly designated leaders, discipline, patriotism, courage, habits of preservation, and self-control and ability to care for themselves in all exigencies of life." 

 

Surely one could make the case for adult-led and no boy leadership training or expectation involved.  But to recognize the huge emphasis on the Do a Good Turn Daily to the point where it becomes natural for the boy to constantly "help other people at all times", places no specific training, but a major emphasis of service leadership on the boys in the program.  The Slogan and the Oath coupled together becomes the defining separation between the boys who focus solely on themselves and what they can get out of the program and those that internalize the program and thus without specific training begin to understand what helping other people and doing Good Turns in fact has a huge impact on the character and citizenship development of the boy.

 

Maybe it's time that the Scout Spirit requirement for each rank advancement reflect more than just the boy staying out of trouble since the last advancement and serious look at how well the boy is really doing his helping of other people AT ALL TIMES and doing more than just his one Good Turn Daily to get the requirement pencil whipped complete.  Without a single lesson in leadership, the level of true service/servant leadership will jump miles ahead overnight because it's built into the program. 

 

I can force you to manage a job or a task and measure your success at it, but I can't force you to seriously take care of others or even take care of yourself.  That's something that come from deep within the person's psyche and one may never be able to draw that out of some boys even when they have MANAGED to meet all the requirements for the Eagle rank.


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#52 TAHAWK

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 04:23 PM

@TAHAWK, so in the old days of more outdoor skills and patrol method, how was leadership taught?

 

Leadership for whom?  As we were discussing Wood Badge, do you mean training for adults?

 

 

It has been and still taught a lot, but what is called leadership in the training has been redefined as management on this forum.

 

Ironically, "taking care of your scouts" is a character and citizenship emphasis with leadership skills as the byproduct. Simply making decisions within the definition of the POR responsibilities using the oath and law as guidelines leads to developing habits of character and citizenship. Servant leadership habits are a result of those decisions. 

 

The reason technical leadership discussions don't go very far on these forums is because they don't add much information to how we develop leadership in our programs. "Take care of your scouts" pretty much says it all.

 

Barry

 

"in the training" = ???

 

"redefined" by whom?

 

My first SM told me that taking care of the Scouts under your leadership was the Gold Standard of leadership.  I had not heard from anyone that meeting that standard was all there was to leadership.  Apparently Bill did not think that given the contents of the leadership handbooks that he wrote.

 

 

desertrat77, as we had six Patrol Leaders, two Crew Leaders, one Senior Patrol Leader, two Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders, and a Senior Crew Leader, the word "leader" was often heard in Troop 43  The Handbook for Patrol Leaders began with "Patrol Leadership," and the Scoutmaster's Handbook was subtitled "A Manual of Troop Leadership."  As I have said, I missed the 70's  and was not in your troop, so YMMV.

 

"I will plan my work.  I know that there is only one way to be a successful director and leader and that is to know that I am trying to accomplish and how I want it done."  "Bill Hillcourt, "The Patrol Leader's Creed"


Edited by TAHAWK, 28 February 2016 - 05:05 PM.

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#53 MattR

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 04:54 PM

Leadership for whom?  As we were discussing Wood Badge, do you mean training for adults?
 
My first Sm told me that taking care of the Scouts under your leadership was the Gold Standard of leadership.  I had not heard from anyone that meeting that standard was all there was to leadership.


Scouts. I'm finding that they are becoming more willing to take ownership of the calendar and are better at leading events as they focus more on the people. It's a paradox that they don't see and honestly most people never do. I never see that written anywhere. Instead there are vague ideas of leadership. The phrase take care of those under you is too abstract. It could easily be interpreted as "do their work for them". It's a good place to start but needs more.
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#54 Stosh

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 05:27 PM

If one's boys can't wrap their heads around the leadership concept of "Take care of your boys", one might want to simply focus on "help other people at all times" and "Do a Good Turn Daily, maybe two or three if one would like to improve from the last rank advancement.   I'm thinking one will garner the same results.  One can always tie it to the Scout Spirit requirement for rank, too.  Leadership cannot be boiled down to doing something in a certain way, or some bullet point in a class curriculum.  Everyone has to find it from within themselves how they are going to take care of their people and/or help other people at all times.  Given the various skill sets, talents, motivations, interests and self-expectations, leadership will take on many diverse forms within the unit.  Out of the thousands of boy and girls that have passed through my life, they are all like snowflakes when it comes to leadership, no two have ever been the same.  If I could figure out how to teach it, I could package it up in a seminar presentation and make a fortune.  Until then I just go with "Take care of your boys."  It works.


Edited by Stosh, 28 February 2016 - 05:27 PM.

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#55 desertrat77

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 09:53 PM



desertrat77, as we had six Patrol Leaders, two Crew Leaders, one Senior Patrol Leader, two Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders, and a Senior Crew Leader, the word "leader" was often heard in Troop 43  The Handbook for Patrol Leaders began with "Patrol Leadership," and the Scoutmaster's Handbook was subtitled "A Manual of Troop Leadership."  As I have said, I missed the 70's  and was not in your troop, so YMMV.

Tahawk, I had a chance to read an old PL handbook when I was a scout, something from the '60s or earlier.   Can't remember for sure.   But I know it was pure gold, and I devoured every word.   Compared to the BSA literature of the time (ISP/NSP), it had alot of good stuff in it.

 

Nonetheless, leadership was practiced by scouts, even if it wasn't mentioned much by name.   As Stosh said, taking care of the scouts was key.    Their safety, morale, health, welfare.   Ensuring there was a constructive, challenging yet enjoyable program, be it a meeting or a hike or a backpacking trip.  

 

We learned leadership in the field.   A bit of classroom might have been helpful.   The old time scouters had leadership experience, and they instilled it in us as we worked together in the troop.   They knew leadership first hand, as parents, working in their chosen profession, church, civic, scouting, etc.  

 

PS   It didn't always work so well.   Lots of lessons learned from failure.   But it was that "safe environment to fail."


Edited by desertrat77, 28 February 2016 - 10:04 PM.

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#56 MattR

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Posted 28 February 2016 - 11:50 PM

If one's boys can't wrap their heads around the leadership concept of "Take care of your boys", one might want to simply focus on "help other people at all times" and "Do a Good Turn Dail"


My definition of take care of a scout is very different from an incoming webelo parent. And that incoming parent's definition is surprisingly close to a new SPL or new PL. Last week my newish SPL decided to have the patrols do something and I could just hear Stosh screaming "managing the task and not the people". So I asked the SPL how this was going to help the patrols and he said it will be good for them to be more efficient. It will build teamwork, he said. We had a bit of discussion about who owned the job he had in mind (the QM) how this was impacting him, how possibly a campfire might be more along the lines of what the patrols would like to do ... And none of it stuck. I let him do what he wanted. I'm not sure if he learned anything, even though he heard a scout call him something not very flattering. He honestly thought he was taking care of them.

Maybe my point is most of these scouts have never taken care of anyone before. So telling them to take care of someone doesn't mean much. When I think of take care of someone I think of family: accept people warts and all, tough love, clan first, make up.... Rule 1 of marriage is listen, and that isn't explicitly in the oath or law. And using the family analogy is not so good because plenty of scouts have a challenging home situation.

So I'm still searching.
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#57 Krampus

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 07:05 AM

Maybe my point is most of these scouts have never taken care of anyone before. So telling them to take care of someone doesn't mean much. When I think of take care of someone I think of family: accept people warts and all, tough love, clan first, make up.... Rule 1 of marriage is listen, and that isn't explicitly in the oath or law. And using the family analogy is not so good because plenty of scouts have a challenging home situation.

 

I think you are right with this. I have another theory as to why the scouts struggle with this, and it is that most people these days seem to look out for themselves first, others second (if at all).

 

Camporee last year saw a scout from another troop, after it started to rain, run over to a pack line where 3-4 day packs were. I thought to myself, "Good Scout, he's going to get his buddy's packs out of the rain." He got his, left the other packs and even left them more exposed and one downright in the mud. I walked over and asked him why he didn't get his friend's packs (I was curious). His response? "That's not my job. I'm not their mom." Looked down and saw his PL patch. I asked if he was the PL. "Yes". I asked if they were his patrol. "Yes". Then I reminded him that as PL it *was* his job.

 

Side Note: While I was having this conversation, one of *our* newly minted Scouts (crossed over three weeks previously) walked over, picked up the remaining packs and brought them to the shelter. He notified the adult in charge he "found" the packs, brought them to safety and wanted to find the owners. ;)


Edited by Krampus, 29 February 2016 - 07:08 AM.

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#58 Stosh

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:46 AM

I think you are right with this. I have another theory as to why the scouts struggle with this, and it is that most people these days seem to look out for themselves first, others second (if at all).

 

Camporee last year saw a scout from another troop, after it started to rain, run over to a pack line where 3-4 day packs were. I thought to myself, "Good Scout, he's going to get his buddy's packs out of the rain." He got his, left the other packs and even left them more exposed and one downright in the mud. I walked over and asked him why he didn't get his friend's packs (I was curious). His response? "That's not my job. I'm not their mom." Looked down and saw his PL patch. I asked if he was the PL. "Yes". I asked if they were his patrol. "Yes". Then I reminded him that as PL it *was* his job.

 

Side Note: While I was having this conversation, one of *our* newly minted Scouts (crossed over three weeks previously) walked over, picked up the remaining packs and brought them to the shelter. He notified the adult in charge he "found" the packs, brought them to safety and wanted to find the owners. ;)

 

And thus you, too, have learned a valuable lesson about jobs and helping other people at all times.

 

@MattR is correct, I would seriously warn the SPL that mandates "from on high don't always help other people at all times."  Sure the doctor gives out medicine that one doesn't want to take but it is good for them. Is that him mandating or is he taking care of the patient.  The question I would have posed to the SPL is: "For whose benefit is the change?"  Is it his way that becomes the focus?  And if all the PL's think the more efficient way is stupid, is he really taking care of them?  Maybe he should have asked his PL's their advice before implementing changes that directly affected them.  After all, is efficiency or having the patrol members taken care of more important?

 

I think the answer to MattR and @Krampus likes in the fact that leadership training doesn't happen until later when the new Webelos II crossover boys have had a chance to mystically absorb the mentoring of the older boys.  (??)  Really?  I start out with TF #9 - The Buddy System where one boy is responsible for taking care of his buddy.i..e. someone other than just themselves!

(Leadership lesson #1)  I see this process postponed until some day they are tossed under the bus by giving them a POR patch and expecting them to perform a miracle.

 

Krampus, I wouldn't be furious, I would be having a SMC with the boy who took only his pack about Scout Spirit and helping other people at all times.  Yes, it is your job and yes, while you are on this outing you are everyone's Mom, and (in my troop, Rule #2, act like a scout, i.e. Mom) if you can't get your head wrapped around that, I will find it difficult to mark the successful completion of the Scout Spirit requirement.  It's not a threat, it is letting the boy know he's making things difficult for you to be honest with signing off when he's doing things that are obvious working against it.

 

I would also make public mention to all the PL's that they had better be stepping up their game, some strong competition is coming up through the ranks, and mention this boy and what he did for all to hear and how much you appreciate his efforts to show Scout Spirit (taking care of others) so early in his scouting career.

 

Do the negative lessons in private, but the positive lessons in public.


Edited by Stosh, 29 February 2016 - 09:48 AM.

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#59 Eagledad

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 10:08 AM

The discussion has gone so many different directions, I don't really know what its about now. But, leadership styles tend to follow the examples set by the older scout role models. A culture develops over time and it sets the expectation of the leadership for the younger scouts. So if a troop wants to change the style of the present leadership, it typically has to be changed by outside intervention (SM guidance) at the higher levels of the youth leadership. 

 

Barry


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#60 Stosh

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Posted 29 February 2016 - 11:28 AM

The discussion has gone so many different directions, I don't really know what its about now. But, leadership styles tend to follow the examples set by the older scout role models. A culture develops over time and it sets the expectation of the leadership for the younger scouts. So if a troop wants to change the style of the present leadership, it typically has to be changed by outside intervention (SM guidance) at the higher levels of the youth leadership. 

 

Barry

 

I'm thinking what is mentioned as leadership styles might be what I define as management styles.  Those processes are easily defined and produce processes of efficiency for troop and patrol operations.  This is extremely important especially in larger troops if they are ever going to achieve organizational sanity.  There are a ton of management books out there describing how to approach different projects, assignments and tasks.  Some involve people resources and those are the ones that may need the most attention so as to effectively use those people resources to accomplish what is needed for the job.  Of course these management skills are necessary for the boys to be organized and effective.

 

Under a PL with limited leadership skills, these management skills can really help.  Using meeting agendas, duty rosters, keeping track of attendance, insuring financial solvency of an activity all go a long ways to make the operation run smoothly.  But here is where my definition of leadership diverges from what I define as management.

 

A good manager can be running a tight ship in his patrol, things get done, it all looks good, everyone is impressed on how efficient he is, etc.  The adults will love him for his efforts!  He will get a whole boat load of praise, because the adults will not need to manage that person's job expectations.  He's got it covered.  But what do the boys think?  Are they happy?  Are they excited about how things are going?  Or are they voting with their feet, displaying discipline problems, needing to be told multiple times to step up and work with the group.  The #1 test I use in this situation is: Do the boys listen to the PL? or in other words, are they wanting to follow him and his leadership?   One can be a fantastic manager, but are the people really following?  That's the definition of leadership I focus in on.  I have had many PL's come to me and complain that their boys don't listen to what he tells them.  My first response to that would be to assume it's the patrol member's fault, when in reality the problem lies with the PL.  They don't listen because he doesn't lead.  I had a classic example demonstrated right in front of my eyes many years ago that was burned into my memory.  A PL was "yelling" at one of the patrol members for not getting the water for cleaning dishes as was clearly marked on the posted duty roster.  No question the boy had fallen down on the job and the PL was making an example of it.  Right in the middle of the PL's sentence, another boy jumped up, grabbed the boy being yelled at in one hand and the empty water can in the other and said, "We got this!" and off they went.  The water got collected and the boy being yelled at got a reprieve from the tirade, and the PL went back to doing what he was doing, not realizing that although the job got done, the real leadership was stripped away from him without him even noticing.

 

These are the kinds of things I draw out whenever I do a SMC with a scout advancing in rank.  To me this is scout leadership, the helping other people at all times.  Does it make any difference what the job/task is or how well he did it?  Or is the helping part really what's important to be drawn out of the boy as he takes on more leadership in his next step in his scouting career?

 

I for one can't imagine anyone being in the scout program for any length of time and not see this kind of thing going on all around them all the time.  But to stay focused only on the management and efficient running of the program to the exclusion of the leadership is concerning to me.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, a bag of cookies, a 9 year old Webelos II AOL candidate that is capable of surprising me after all these years, and I have a excellent subject for a SM Minute standing right there in front of me.  This is why I come back every week excited about what I'm going to find next!  I would have quit years ago if the only thing of value was doing the SM job week after week.  But my boys take care of me as much as I take care of them.

 

I had a patrol once made up of boys that would have frustrated the management style SM to no end.   :)  They didn't turn in their reports on time, if at all. They never had duty rosters.  The PL showed up totally "unprepared" for their meetings, and my ASM hounded me weekly about my letting the boys get away with it.  :)  But the boys were having fun, the work somehow got done, they were always showing up for everything, they might have had a few more pop-tarts and hot dogs than I would have like to have had, but they all hung together and in the end every one of them Eagled.  The "magic" that I learned from that patrol was that they were all minimal managers, just enough to get by, but they were ALL leaders!  They all cared for each other, they all watched out for each other, etc.  One might have been tempted to say they worked together as a team (management), but I personally would have identified it more as working together more as a family, they truly cared about each other (leadership). 

 

Yes, it takes management to keep things pulled together and keep the wheels rolling.  But the leadership and the myriad of styles that go with that gives the energy to make things exciting and worthwhile.  The manager posts the duty roster so that everyone knows their job.  The leader doesn't post a duty roster because he trusts his buddies to make sure everyone is taken care of and the roster is useless.

 

If one has been in scouting for any length of time, they will know what I'm talking about because they will always be able to say they saw such things, but they will also admit that they can't explain it nor can they recreate it for anyone else.  It's always unique to just those particular boys at that particular time.  :)  It is really quite fascinating to see and experience.


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