These are methods in working with you Patrol where they are, or at what level they are functioning.
Explaining is used when your Scouts are learning a new skill or doing a task for the first time. It is a very hands on method to ensure that everyone clearly understands what is expected. Very little is left to interpretation.
Here is an example; Jim, you and Brad will need to go to the dining hall at exactly 4:00 PM to pick up your food for dinner. Do you understand?
Demonstrating is used once the group understands the task or skill, but still needs help in doing it correctly or are unsure. Many times a lack of confidence is present and Demonstrating can help move the group forward.
Here is an example; “Let’s hold up on the hike for a minute. I’d recommend that we all take a moment to drink some water. No one wants to get dehydrated (TAKE A DRINK YOURSELF). I notices a while back that some of you were pulling leaves off the branches as you pushed the branch out of the way. We’re a Leave No Trace kind of Troop. That means no one should be able to tell we’ been here.”
This leader took the time to teach, no criticize, and SHOW that he too needed water. He is modeling the behaviors consistent with our Scouting values and looking out for his fellow Scouts.
Guiding is used when you have confidence that the group can do the task or skill, but still needs a watchful eye.
“Jack, the patrol set up camp as group on our last trip. I noticed that you did a nice job. I think you can pitch your tent by yourself this time. Pick out a good site and pitch your tent, if you need help, I will be right over here with the new guys.”
This example allows the Scout to demonstrate he knows the skills. The leader show he can trust the Scout to do it and it in turn builds confidence. The leader maintains a watchful eye and is ready to help if needed.
Finally, there is Enabling. This leadership style allows the leader to demonstrate confidence in the Patrol. It is used when the Patrol is functioning as a High performance team. The leader supervises the skill and pitches in when needed, but he allows the group to show that they can do it.
It is important to remember that when using the EDGE you may need to use multiple styles within your unit. One Scout may be fully capable of Enabling while another may need more Explaining. Others still may need demonstration and Guiding. It is the leaders job to figure that out. Knowing your people and their skill level and learning styles are critical to good leadership.
If you use the EDGE… you will have the LEADING EDGE.