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Leadership training, by the book?


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#1 qwazse

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:41 AM

How many of you start your troop leadership training (whether you devote a weekend to it, or sneak it in on meetings and campouts) by having your boys look up a concept in the Boy Scout Handbook and one of them read what it says?

 

In our new troop, the boys do this regularly as part of their meeting. I find it to be mind-mumbingly boring, but they seem to be fine with it. One positive is they get past some of the ILST material with minimal fuss.

 

Some of the threads have mentioned references about advancement and patrol methods in the BSHB. So, I'm wondering how much folks actually nudge the boys to interact with their book?

 

I see the good sense in moving quickly from any book or slide presentation to some wide-game activity. I'm just wondering about that first step. How often you all direct boys to their handbooks when presenting a concept?


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:47 AM

I generally don't work from printed materials, presentation materials or role-playing models.  My involvement in the boys tend to be quite minimal and are focused more on boys asking direction questions of me.  Occasionally I'll get asked my personal opinion and at other times they are seeking other options for some issue they are dealing with.  None of those things really work out well if the answer given is "Go read the book."  :)


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 10:56 AM

I generally don't work from printed materials, presentation materials or role-playing models.  My involvement in the boys tend to be quite minimal and are focused more on boys asking direction questions of me.  Occasionally I'll get asked my personal opinion and at other times they are seeking other options for some issue they are dealing with.  None of those things really work out well if the answer given is "Go read the book."  :)

@Stosh, what we have is the SPL and Instructor directing patrols to present material from the book. (Note: this SPL got elected with a speech that simply recited the Oath and Law. "By the book" has served him nicely.) Sometimes, they put together a slide show: one presentation a night, maybe 10 or 15 minutes in length. Adults in the back of the room.


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#4 Krampus

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 11:07 AM

 

I see the good sense in moving quickly from any book or slide presentation to some wide-game activity. I'm just wondering about that first step. How often you all direct boys to their handbooks when presenting a concept?

 

Pre-Reads: PL Handbook. TLT document. Job descriptions.

 

Pre-Work: Each Scout does leadership objectives for his POR. Must be quantifiable. 

 

Instructors and SPL lead the training. SM guides and leads a few sections. Based on old JLT training program.


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#5 Stosh

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 11:15 AM

@Stosh, what we have is the SPL and Instructor directing patrols to present material from the book. (Note: this SPL got elected with a speech that simply recited the Oath and Law. "By the book" has served him nicely.) Sometimes, they put together a slide show: one presentation a night, maybe 10 or 15 minutes in length. Adults in the back of the room.

 

@qwazse, :) from my spot in the back of the room, I don't notice any boys actually teaching leadership other than by example. I do have to admit that I once was asked to help with the SM part when my boys were wanting the GBB leadership training program taught in the troop.  We did follow the book on that one and I was very much hands on with it.  I was asked to leave that troop and the adults took over the operation of the troop.  We were at about half-way through the lessons, so I don't know if the boys ever finished the training.

 

The boys I have now are too young for the organized classes, but do well with helping the Webelos program as TG/DC's type role.

 

Normally the boys break immediately into patrol activities rather than any troop training/education.  The parts of the troop meeting that are together are opening and closing flags, and the game time activity.


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#6 Stosh

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 11:21 AM

Pre-Reads: PL Handbook. TLT document. Job descriptions.

 

Pre-Work: Each Scout does leadership objectives for his POR. Must be quantifiable. 

 

Instructors and SPL lead the training. SM guides and leads a few sections. Based on old JLT training program.

 

Quantifiable measurements are  management tools for job performance, not any indicator of leadership. POR's are positions which are to be filled for being responsible for a task within the troop.  They require no leadership.  Authoritative management will get the job done.   BSA can toss out all the management verbiage they want under the title of leadership, but it doesn't make it leadership.  An SPL can do a fantastic job of getting the boys organized, the jobs done, the place immaculate, things running smoothly like a well oiled machined, but if in the process he has pi$$ed everyone in the troop off, it doesn't say much for his leadership.


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Stosh

 

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#7 Krampus

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 12:06 PM

Quantifiable measurements are  management tools for job performance, not any indicator of leadership. POR's are positions which are to be filled for being responsible for a task within the troop.  They require no leadership.  Authoritative management will get the job done.   BSA can toss out all the management verbiage they want under the title of leadership, but it doesn't make it leadership.  An SPL can do a fantastic job of getting the boys organized, the jobs done, the place immaculate, things running smoothly like a well oiled machined, but if in the process he has pi$$ed everyone in the troop off, it doesn't say much for his leadership.

 

Disagree. You don't build leadership without showing the Scout how to lead well. To do that you need to define his tasks, set objectives he can meet, provide a method for measuring those objectives and allow the Scout to self-evaluate and correct.

 

You have requirements in the POR that highlight what the role entails. Showing a Scout how to match quantifiable objectives to his POR allows the Scout to gauge when he's meeting his POR. These are not merely a measurement of performance, but a real-time guide as to HOW he's doing. If a Scout is missing his own self-made objective then he knows he's off course and needs to correct himself.

 

George Patton was a great leader. He pissed off half of the Army with his actions, but there's no disputing he was a great leader. We need to recognize not everyone is going to Gandi, Kennedy or Reagan.


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#8 Eagledad

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 12:38 PM

BSHB, PLHB and SPLHB are required for our trainings because they set the baseline for expectations. The materials may or may not get referenced by the instructors (all scouts), but many of the answers to questions are.

 

I also required reference materials at district and council training as well. I learned a long time ago that training is where the minimum level of expectation is set for all the participants. Many of the bad habits that units and districts develop are a result of ignorance of what is provided in the materials. The patrol method discussion in the Patrol Method forum is a good example of minimum expectations. Patrol Method is not being taught much today because there is very little BSA material on the subject. And as a result, less troops are using patrol method properly. 

 

Barry


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#9 qwazse

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 12:42 PM

Just to keep on topic. I'm not after picking apart one troop's approach vs. another's. I'd fully expect Stosh -- with his strong emphasis on servant leadership -- to be more situational, an Krampus -- with his large numbers -- to be more responsibility focused.

 

What I'm seeing in our troop is a little odd to me. But as a result, I would be inclined to skip some of the perfumeries in ILST -- if we were to have a training weekend for the PLs -- and move them directly into a wide game or service project with maybe some after-action review based on what they should have been picking up from reading the handbook at troop meetings. That is, if the PLC's involved knocking out selected reading from the PL handbook every month.

 

I've typically have been very situational. But, with this new batch of boys ... especially if they multiple into our venturing crew ... a more structured approach might suit them better.

 

@Eagledad, your point about not aiming for the lowest common denominator is well taken.


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#10 Stosh

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:03 PM

Disagree. You don't build leadership without showing the Scout how to lead well. To do that you need to define his tasks, set objectives he can meet, provide a method for measuring those objectives and allow the Scout to self-evaluate and correct.

 

You have requirements in the POR that highlight what the role entails. Showing a Scout how to match quantifiable objectives to his POR allows the Scout to gauge when he's meeting his POR. These are not merely a measurement of performance, but a real-time guide as to HOW he's doing. If a Scout is missing his own self-made objective then he knows he's off course and needs to correct himself.

 

George Patton was a great leader. He pissed off half of the Army with his actions, but there's no disputing he was a great leader. We need to recognize not everyone is going to Gandi, Kennedy or Reagan.

 

@Krampus, here's were the rub comes.  I distinguish between management and leadership, the two can run divergent in two different directions or they can run smoothly simultaneously.  What I think is being suggested in the post is that building management skills produces good qualitative measurements and of course if a boy is going to be good at that he's going to need a ton of instruction and a whole big bag of tricks to pull it off.  Sure the boy can do the velvet glove Theory Y approach to management or they can use the hard core "do it or else" approach of Theory X.  Makes no never mind, how the participants in the group IF ANY EVEN EXIST feel is of no consequence.  Get the job done your POSITION is to be RESPONSIBLE for getting the work  (or task) done.  We can measure, yes the task is done or no it isn't.

 

The problem lies in the people involved in accomplishing the task, or better yet there IS NO task! at the moment.  Where is the management requirements then? 

 

Let's look at @qwazse's comment about the size of the troop.  It is suggested that with a smaller troop situational leadership can be applied better than the "responsibility (management) emphasis.  Sure there is a lot more to organize, but if one is doing situational leadership, each part of that responsibility is held together with more leadership opportunities to keep people in the game and not focus on just one person's management ability. 

 

Huge trail cutting project.  Huge troop, one SPL.who decides he's NOT going to "run the troop" on this one.  Hasn't the time or energy, so he turns to his PL"s and said, I"m in over my head.  Who can mark out the trail for me.  PL says, my patrol can do that.  Okay I need someone to cut the trail,  PL 2 say's he can do that..  I need someone to rake brush together,  PL 3 - no problem got that covered.  QM says, Hey, I can't handle all the equipment for this project.  PL 4 says he'll help QM with the equipment.  PL 5 says they'll get his boys together to haul out brush and PL 6 says he'll bundle it up and get it on the truck, PL 7 says, it's going to be a hot day, we'll constantly do water runs and make sure everyone stays on their feet.  PL 8 doesn't have a job so he says, He's going to stick with the SPL and be his runners and gofers and do whatever job pops up that needs an extra hand.

 

SPL goes out to PL 1 to see how they are doing.  PL says he's short 2 compasses, PL 8 standing next to SPL says, Two of his boys will find QM and get them.  and this keeps up all day long.  Now the project gets done, but WHO ran the show?  Who lead this project?  PL 1 managed a small task of setting the trail, PL 2 and his boys cut brush, etc.  PL 7 ran around and made sure everyone was hydrated and healthy.  PL 8 ran his boys all over the place to make sure every little putsy job got address.  

 

Sure, they're getting the management job done.  Everyone is taking a piece of it on their own and leading it as a part of a greater whole.  Even the waterboys and the gofers were important and it boiled down to maybe just one or two boys taking care of someone's empty canteen kept the project rolling alone smoothly.

 

So what's PL 1 leading?  A boy that works the compass who is working with the boy who has the map, who's directing and helping a third boy mark the trail correctly on the right side of the trail, and another boy on the left and another boy making sure they have enough tape to mark it

 

Did the SPL need to tell Little Johnny where to put the orange markers on the right side of the trail?  Or does he rely on the leadership ability of others to work with him and make sure that the sub-leader is getting everything he needs (support) to do his small part of the project.  And when one comes right down to it, isn't Little Johnny constantly making decisions and relaying back information to the PL that maybe this 4' diameter tree might be a bit big for the machete crowd and someone needs to address the issue further before proceeding?

 

At one time or another if everyone is taking care of more than just what they're told to do, the situational leadership develops along the way.  

 

If the goal is just to get the job done in smooth management of one or two people, no one in the rest of the group ever has to figure out how to contribute leadership and will rely on just what to be told to do next.  Like I said in other posts, I don't use duty rosters, my boys have evolved beyond that and rely on their leadership skills to handle tasks that come along. 

 

So then the question becomes which comes first Management skill development or Leadership skill development.  I happen to believe that if one were to teach real leadership, management will figure itself out along the way.  If one were to start with management first and struggle with trying to motivate, discipline, and constantly running around bribing others to do their job, it could take a while to ever get to the end of the project let alone develop any real leadership skills when no one is following.

 

A little rule of thumb I use:  If the job is getting done, it makes for a good manager, but if he ends up doing the job himself because no one will help, he's probably got a leadership problem.


Edited by Stosh, 14 March 2016 - 02:20 PM.

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#11 Krampus

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:10 PM

So then the question becomes which comes first Management skill development or Leadership skill development.  I happen to believe that if one were to teach real leadership, management will figure itself out along the way.  If one were to start with management first and struggle with trying to motivate, discipline, and constantly running around bribing others to do their job, it could take a while to ever get to the end of the project let alone develop any real leadership skills when no one is following.

 

Take a kid that has no clue how to manage anything. How can he lead? How does he motivate his patrol? How does he accomplish tasks. How does he obtain his objectives? I see management as the tools we use to CREATE leadership. Time management. People management. Conflict resolution. These are all management tools that are used by leaders to accomplish a task or activity.

 

Leadership is what one demonstrates during the process of managing a task. That's my take.


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:35 PM

Take a kid that has no clue how to manage anything. How can he lead? How does he motivate his patrol? How does he accomplish tasks. How does he obtain his objectives? I see management as the tools we use to CREATE leadership. Time management. People management. Conflict resolution. These are all management tools that are used by leaders to accomplish a task or activity.

 

Leadership is what one demonstrates during the process of managing a task. That's my take.

 

:)  New PL, He's see his parents organize things, maybe an older brother or sister.  He's figured out organizational skills at school.  If he's played sports, he's figured out how the game is organized and how the coaches go about organizing practices and the logistics of getting everyone to the game.

 

If this kid is that void of management skills, how in the world did his patrol ever elect him PL and expect that things would be okay?  I'm thinking the illustration is a wee bit far fetched.  After all, at least it's been my experience, that boys that get selected for PL usually have been in the patrol a while and have seen what other PL's have done to stay there and what others have done to be removed, so don't do those things.  PL's don't start out in a vacuum.  Of course one also has to remember that good servant leadership relies on being a good follower and every time the new PL pauses, someone else says, "What can I do to help" (like maybe a #1 rated APL?????) then the jobs get done and leadership is basically shared among everyone in the patrol.  At one time or another someone is always picking up and leading.  It's called teamwork.  I've seen it on occasion and it's kinda awesome.    If my boys figured it out and would do that all the time everywhere, I'd be out of a job, but then that's my #1 goal.

 

For me Leadership is what makes the task flow effectively, it may be anyone of 8 boys in the patrol doing that at any given time, not just dumped on one scout, i.e. the PL.  The successful PL is surrounded by strong leadership patrol members.


Edited by Stosh, 14 March 2016 - 02:39 PM.

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#13 Krampus

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:04 PM

:)  New PL, He's see his parents organize things, maybe an older brother or sister. 

 

 

 

I wouldn't give you a cup of dirt for many parent's management skills. ;)


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#14 Stosh

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 03:13 PM

Well, some of them manage to get up in the morning.  That has to count for something.... :)

 

All I'm saying is that I tend to give the boys a lot more credit than a lot of my peers.  By the time these kids get to 11-12 years of age, they pretty much have to potential to figure out basic management skills, leadership just makes it easier if they choose to go that route.  I still have a lot of boys that are only interested in themselves and their Eagle, so it's not universal.  I have had boys who could not come up with anyone in the troop to help with their Eagle projects and had to turn to church and school friends to get some help.  It was kinda sad really.

 

One can't reach them all.


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Stosh

 

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