Last Night at our Troop meeting we talked about leadership, among other things. I shared with the Scouts some questions that they need to ask themselves in the context of leadership. Now, these questions come from a book called Serve to Lead, by James Strock. He is an author and speaker on leadership. I found it interesting, but I guess not to surprising that the questions that Strock asks and answers in the book are essentially principles that I learned early on as a young leader in the Army.
The point is that they set a leader on a path to do the right thing by the ones in his charge. How does this apply to Boy Scouts? It all applies as we should be teaching our Scouts the difference between a leader and a boss and that leadership, by design, asks the leader to be a servant to the led.
Here are the questions. Ask yourself these:
First. Who are you serving? It is important for you to know those that you serve. What are their needs? How are they motivated? How do they learn? What do they like and dislike?
Second. How can you best serve? What is your leadership style and how do you use it? What needs are you are meeting in your leadership?
Third. Are you making your unique contribution? What is the legacy you want to leave behind? What is it about your leadership that people will remember you by?
And finally. Are you getting better everyday? This one I think is extremely important. I do something everyday to better myself. Learn something new, read, write, or find a better way to teach, coach, train the Scouts of my troop. You must get better every day or you will not be a better leader.
Now some of that you may be thinking.. you can’t expect an 11 year patrol leader to get. Hogwash!
They will get it because they are asking it of themselves. The expectation of an 11 year old will not be that of a 16 year old. Experience will play a big part in the answers they give themselves. But planting the seeds and asking the questions will set them all on the path to effective leadership.
The cornerstone of the Scout led, youth led, boy led, whatever you wish to call it is that Scouts lead. At every level, we need to allow them the opportunity to seek improvement, learn and develop into leaders. Each one with his own style and way, but all finding ways to lead.
Older Scouts develop their leadership and pass it on to the younger Scouts by becoming the teachers and coaches of the Troop. They pass on their skills and attitudes and so it goes within the Troop. That is how the leadership culture in your troop grows.
Its pretty simple. The leader needs to understand that he is there to serve.. not to be served. We have no boss’s in the BSA.
So how can you best serve? Teach them, Trust them, and let them lead!
Have a Great Scouting Day!