We had a great camp out this weekend. Many of the new Scouts spent their first camp out with the Troop and as Boy Scouts up on Scouters Mountain. It was rainy and chilly, but nothing too unusual for an Oregon April.
The intent of the weekend was to develop our camp craft skills. Teaching the new Scouts skills such as cooking with backpacking stoves, knots, Knife, Ax, and Bow saw safety, first aid, and some introduction to map and compass. Needless to say it was a full weekend.
Along with skills instruction, the Scouts tested their skills as they set camp, lived as patrols, and ultimately broke camp on Sunday.
So what does this have to do with expectations? Everything. You see, we expect a lot from Scouts that know and have demonstrated skills, we expect them to help the young guys, we expect them to be skilled in Scouting’s basics and are able to perform those tasks without pain and agony. And the good news is the older guys did just that.
We expect from the new guys nothing more than a willingness to learn and a positive, cheerful attitude… and by and large we got that too.
So why write about it? Leadership.
We Know that the leader leads by providing, Purpose, Direction, and Motivation, the leader must understand that different skills levels deserve different levels of expectation. This expectation can drive motivation and purpose. Older Scouts do not need (or should not need) a lot of direction when setting up or taking down camp. We can expect of them, because of their experience and skill levels that they know how to do this properly. While the younger Scouts may need more Direction and explanation of Purpose. For example why we get our gear covered up, tents put up first, sleeping bags and pads ready, then start an activity.
The same at night. We can expect that older Scouts will ensure all their gear is packed and stored properly before they go to bed. On the other hand, the leader will have to physically check each of the new Scouts and explain the them the importance of storing gear for the night.
Expectations drive the amount of time leaders dedicate to the led. If given an hour to pack up camp and hike to the cars, the leader will dedicate 70% of his time with the new Scout while he can safely expect the older Scouts to motivate themselves, do the right thing, and assist where they can.
The final thought on expectations. As a leader you must INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECT.
If those that have developed skills fail to accomplish tasks that are well within their level, retraining or reevaluation of their expectation is necessary. At a minimum a discussion and refocus of their motivation may be in order. The leader must determine this based on what he sees in the led. A new Scout may exceed expectations allowing the leader to move his attention elsewhere.
Expectations are different in every leader and from every follower. Leaders that recognize and evaluate the expectations of themselves and those he leads will find it easier to provide mush needed Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.