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Teamwork and Leadership


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#1 MattR

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 03:04 PM

Does anyone know of a series of challenges or levels, kind of like advancement ranks, for developing teamwork and leadership? I'm thinking of something like start off easy with lead your patrol in a cheer and keep rising to the point of leading a district wide event.

 

There are two reasons I ask. First, scouts are coming less prepared for these skills than they used to. They seem to think teamwork means everyone does the same thing together. I don't see many kids playing pickup sports games anymore so the idea that the catcher can't do the first baseman's job is a new idea. The other reason is that advancement has become too important. The result is scouts is more about advancement than what it should be and venturing is just withering.

 

Leadership skills are currently taught in an ad hoc way but outdoor skills have a very well defined program. It starts easy and gets harder. There is lots of recognition for progress. Why not apply that to leadership and teamwork? Think of how much time it takes to learn all the T-FC skills and MBs and compare that to how much time is spent training on leadership and there's a huge mismatch. NYLT takes a week and is about the highest level of leadership development and the idea of getting to FC in a week is ridiculous. I'm not talking about spending all that time in a class room, but just spending more time moving up and leading more difficult situations.

 

We do our own ad-hoc development but one thing we have started on is that the NSP is around long enough for scouts to learn teamwork. The reason I started this is that I noticed it's much easier to get this across to 11 year old scouts than 14 year old scouts. 11 year olds are more willing to try and fail than 14 year olds. Peer pressure for a 14 year old is much worse than for an 11 year old and so fear of failing at doing one's part pushes 14 year olds away from teamwork more than 11 year olds. Why have a duty roster when we can just all do it together? The idea that time might be important is hard to get across. Anyway, I can imagine it's even harder for a crew to deal with these problems.

 

I put this in the venturing forum because it seems like a more critical problem for venturing. A troop that doesn't have good scout leadership and teamwork can always just let the adults take over. It's not good but that's what seems to happen. The crews I've seen have less opportunity for this so they just seem to fold.

 

 

 

 


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#2 Stosh

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 03:30 PM

I have always taught that teamwork was always most successful when the membership is comprised of leaders.  The patrol method is designed for that, but the principles to making it happen haven't been around since GBB's patrol method was in vogue.  The PL is the glue that holds together the other leaders.  The APL is the PL's right hand man and works to insure the PL's success.  He can take over when the PL is not available because he is just as good a leader as the PL.  The QM handles the equipment, the Scribe handles the paperwork and registrations.  The Treasurer works with him to coordinate the finances of activities and with the QM with the purchase of equipment and the Grubmaster for feeding.  The Bugler is the "communications officer" that lets the other patrol "leaders" know what's happening.  A PL whistle can work in the short distances, but the bugle can reach out a lot further.  The ActivityMaster coordinates the calendar and designs the tasks necessary for long term planning prior to the activities.  The Chaplain's Aide deals with the religious welfare of the patrol as needed.

 

Each one of these positions need qualified and functional people.  NO! they do not all do the same thing!  Each is focused on their part of the team and do what's necessary for the welfare of the others depending on when their functionality is needed.  Obviously at meal times the GrubMaster runs the patrol after the Chaplains Aide has done his bit at the beginning of the meal.  Of course none of this happens until the Bugler sounds Mess Call.... which is initiated by the clock or the PL. 

 

I always premise my leadership training with the concept of "taking care of your boys".  This means the QM takes care of the equipment needs of the others, the GrubMaster takes care of their feeding, etc.  The PL makes sure everything runs smoothly and steps in to HELP as needed to insure the success of the various team leaders who are operational at any given time.

 

Too often the PL "leader" only managerially delegates tasks and expects the others to follow orders.  This doesn't take into account any problems that might arise that the PL has to step in and help that leader be successful.

 

Leaders are those that the "followers" look to for functionality in the task they have accepted, but the followers have a responsibility to insure the success of the leader as well.  The QM brings over the Dutch Oven, stoves, and chuck box to have it available fo the GrubMaster.  If he walks away having done his management job, he's a good manager, but a lousy leader.  The GrubMaster may need help in dealing with the food prep and if the QM, having finished his task, then says, "What can I do to help." he now becomes a useful team member that the GrubMaster can count on for being successful with his task.  Of course if the GrubMaster has asked for all kinds of redundant equipment from the QM, he's not working to make sure the QM is successful either. 

 

Once this process is in place, it's kinda neat to watch, expecially when those standing around with plate and cup in hand realize that if they are going to get fed quicker, they jump in and help.  One can't be a leader unless others look to them for guidance, support and effort.


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#3 MattR

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 04:12 PM

I agree with everything you say, Stosh, but it's assuming that it already exists. Once a new scout comes in they'll see it working and start doing that. But what does a venture crew do where none of them understand teamwork? I used to tell my scouts almost exactly what you've said, they say sure, and soon they were back to their old ways. It's much better now but it's a constant issue. I'd rather see a sequence of activities that will develop their abilities. And yes, it could be that having a whole patrol work on it together would help.

 

But getting back to venturing crews, what do they do? That's what a lot of troops are dealing with. Most troops don't have this set up.


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#4 Col. Flagg

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 04:35 PM

I agree with everything you say, Stosh, but it's assuming that it already exists. Once a new scout comes in they'll see it working and start doing that. But what does a venture crew do where none of them understand teamwork? I used to tell my scouts almost exactly what you've said, they say sure, and soon they were back to their old ways. It's much better now but it's a constant issue. I'd rather see a sequence of activities that will develop their abilities. And yes, it could be that having a whole patrol work on it together would help.
 
But getting back to venturing crews, what do they do? That's what a lot of troops are dealing with. Most troops don't have this set up.


Have you tried a series of games and exercises built around Tuckman's small group dynamics? Our troop runs team building and we use that to actually teach leadership. It starts with the four phases (forming, storming, morning, performing) and then builds upon each phase by allowing each person to develop their leadership style and skills through games and activities.
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#5 Stosh

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:45 PM

I found that the boys quickly identify who the real leaders are (natural leaders) and follow.  I build off of that.  One of the problems with leadership is that not everyone is capable of being a leader.  Yes, they may be good managers and if they bully, persuade, threaten, and coerce effectively, they will be successful.  However, they will soon realize that they have to up their game because they lose more and more "followers".

 

I always tell my boys, if no one is around when you need help with something, chances are, you aren't a leader.  Boys will follow leaders they know will help them advance and be successful.  There has to be some kind of "heart of a teacher".  If the boys are "in it for themselves," they will not be effective leaders, they need to place their followers first.  A good leader never asks another to do something they wouldn't do themselves and have done themselves and is willing to do again to teach the newbie.  A good leader will always be teaching others to replace himself.  "C'mon I'll show you how it's done."  That is the kind of bonding necessary to actually have people not just willing to follow, but wanting to follow.

 

And as far as teamwork/team building goes, the best leaders make the best followers.  How much prestige will a boy garner among his peers if the only question he always asks is, "What can I do to help."  If the boy does that often enough he will build a good rapport with the group, they will rely on him, turn to him for assistance, and there will be a gaping hole in the operation of the group if he should ever leave.  THAT is what leadership is all about, holding the team together by making oneself indispensable. 

 

We had a TG in a neighboring troop that always stuck out as strange at the camporees.  Here was this older boy with all these new scouts hovering around him constantly.  They looked to him for everything they needed.  If this kid walked off a cliff, the boys would all follow.  The others would often refer to him as the Mother Hen.  It kinda fit.  What made it work?  He was constantly attending to everything and anything to help these boys get through the first year of scouting.. Was there teamwork?  Not really, but what was happening was these boys all got a first hand lesson in what leadership is all about.

 

It would have been interesting to see how this kid operated when he was not at a camporee with the boys.  I'm thinking it wouldn't be a whole lot different.  One does not acquire such loyalty overnight.


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#6 Hawkwin

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 08:07 AM

Does anyone know of a series of challenges or levels, kind of like advancement ranks, for developing teamwork and leadership? I'm thinking of something like start off easy with lead your patrol in a cheer and keep rising to the point of leading a district wide event.

 

 

Decades ago when I was in college, I worked with an organization in conjunction with my business fraternity that seemed to specialized in this stuff and it would probably fit very well with scouting. I've not looked at it since then so I can't speak to how it may be different now:

 

https://www.greenlea...ant-leadership/

 

Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

 

You might consider giving them a call or sending them an email to see if they have a program that would help develop what you are looking for. Also, lot's of "crawl walk run" stuff on the web that you could perhaps adapt.


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 02:22 AM

I agree with everything you say, Stosh, but it's assuming that it already exists. Once a new scout comes in they'll see it working and start doing that. But what does a venture crew do where none of them understand teamwork? I used to tell my scouts almost exactly what you've said, they say sure, and soon they were back to their old ways. It's much better now but it's a constant issue. I'd rather see a sequence of activities that will develop their abilities. And yes, it could be that having a whole patrol work on it together would help.
 
But getting back to venturing crews, what do they do? That's what a lot of troops are dealing with. Most troops don't have this set up.

What do we do? Try. Fail. Try again.
Do they like it? No.
Do they need it? Yes.

It sounds like you're wondering *what* they should try. But that's as varied as the interests of the scouts. Good COPE instructors have a deep war chest of one hour, one weekend, and week long activities. But the same principle can be applied to gourmet cooking, field sports, acquatics, scout craft, and service projects.

Venturing's broad categories are currently: Adventure, Leadership (yes sometimes there is no other way to learn than to do), Personal growth, and Service. I kind of like the specialty awards: Ranger (outdoor expertice), Trust (religious understanding), and Quest (sports and athletics). The idea is to cast a vision that appeals to more than one scout, and break it down into goals that get them there.

Really and truly, any merit badge topic can be used as a theme around which team- and leadership-building activities can be based.

The challenge: any such activity requires more time than guys who join scouts understand how to give. That's where we come in as coaches ... Reminding youth that they will get out more than they put in, but they will only know how much once they start to put in the effort ... And figuring out the appropriate safe boundaries for any given set of youth.
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#8 MattR

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Posted 26 August 2017 - 09:07 AM

What do we do? Try. Fail. Try again.
Do they like it? No.
Do they need it? Yes.

It sounds like you're wondering *what* they should try. But that's as varied as the interests of the scouts.

No, I'm wondering how to make this simpler for the adults. I'm done being SM, I don't need this anymore. I used to do exactly what you're talking about. Try and figure out each kid. Be persistent. Keep trying. It takes a lot of time. So every time I hear that it depends on the scouts or that it's more art than science, I see more kids quit scouting because typical adults can't or won't put the time into developing leadership in this way. That's why it's so much easier for the adults to just take over.

 

That's the crux of the problem that the BSA is having. If the BSA wants to increase membership then they could double their numbers by just keeping the scouts they have. That means having something for the older scouts. But I've seen venturing crews and most of them are just webelos 4 because the scouts are so unprepared. It's not that they don't have leadership skills, they don't even have basic skills like taking notes. I had a friend that works with the OA sit in on one of my PLC meetings and he was impressed that there were scouts taking notes. Kids do not need to take notes in school because everything is online now so I had to teach them that skill. I tried just telling them but they'd just get caught up in the moment and forget to write anything down. This is what the typical scouter is up against.

 

There's a whole program for developing outdoor skills. It's called Scout to First Class. Why not come up with the equivalent of developing leadership skills? Hawkwin's crawl-walk-run is a perfect description of what's needed. That's what I'm looking for.


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