Monthly Archives: February 2012

Leadership Expectations

We have heard and practice that defined leadership is simply that Leaders provide Purpose, Direction, and Motivation.  To accomplish those three things, leaders MUST clearly set and enforce expectations.  They need to be able to clearly communicate those expectations to those they lead.  The leader must paint a picture of what the result should look like.  The picture should be clear enough that the people you lead know exactly what they are supposed to do and accomplish.
Before we go on.. the first step in this process is to set the BEST example.  Not a Good example.. the BEST example.  Good is not Good enough when it comes to leadership.  With your BEST example you will then be able to set expectations and achieve results.

What Great Leaders Do to Set Expectations
Great leaders set clear expectations and standards for the people they lead.
Great leaders clearly communicate these expectations and standards to the people they lead.
Great leaders constantly reinforce the expectations and standards they have set for the people they lead.
Great leaders lead Great organizations.  Mediocre Leaders lead Mediocre Organizations.  Do not be satisfied with “Good enough”.
How Great Leaders Set Expectations
Great leaders develop clear expectations and standards for every position that reports to them.  They make sure that they understand, in their own mind, the output they expect from that position — regardless of the individual who fills it.
The SPL must expect Patrol Leaders to lead their Patrols with the understanding that they are assisting in achieving the Goals of the Troop.  At every level, everyone needs to be aware of what it is that the organization is trying to accomplish.  This is true for the very big tasks or goals and the small steps that get you there.

Great leaders use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Specified) tool to clarify their expectations and set goals.

  • Specific – great leaders set expectations that are targeted, not broad and general.  Good expectations are focused and explicit.  They should be easily understood by everyone.
  • Measurable – great leaders are able to tell quickly and easily if an individual that they lead or a task by the group has met their standards and expectations.  They develop a set of criteria that will demonstrate success or failure in meeting the expectation or standard.
  • Achievable – great leaders set expectations and standards that are challenging, but not to difficult to achieve.  A challenging expectation is motivating, an impossible one will lead to set backs in your goal.
  • Relevant – great leaders don’t get caught in the activities.  Their expectations focus on the results they expect the team to achieve, not the activities they will do to get there.  For example, “improved knot tying skills” is a result; “participating in Pioneering merit badge class” is an activity.  It’s possible to complete activities and not achieve the desired result. Keep your goals relevant to the task or goal.
  • Time Specified – great leaders know people need to know the deadlines associated with expectations and standards.  If you give a team 6 months to achieve a goal they will take 6 months to achieve that goal.  Do not allow for this to happen.  Set a time line for your goal or task and then hold yourself and the team accountable to get the goal or task completed.  Never leave a goal or task open ended when it comes to time.

Once great leaders have a clear picture of their expectations for the positions reporting to you, they communicate them to the people they lead who are in these positions.  Great leaders explain three things:

What needs to be accomplished and Why.
The deadline for accomplishing it.
What successful completion of the goal or task looks like.

Finally, great leaders never miss an opportunity to reinforce their expectations with the people they lead.  Repetition is a great tool for reinforcing expectations.  The more you keep your expectations in the forefront of the minds of the people you lead, the more likely they will be to focus their attention and efforts on achieving them.
Skills and Habits are formed and reinforced by clear expectations that come with clear expectations.  As a leader you must “Inspect what you expect”.  Never be satisfied by mediocre results.  The Scout Oath says that we will do our BEST.. not our “Good enough”.  Clear expectations will lead to higher skill levels and good habits.

Note- This is the First block of instruction for our Troop Junior Leader Training.  Once expectations are clear to everyone, it is easier to move on and expect the Junior Leaders to then learn in a practical way why leadership is important and what it takes to lead.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: Leadership | 2 Comments

Fitness

Citizenship and Character are real easy to identify, teach, and train our Scouts, but what about this fitness thing?  We are not just talking about physical fitness.  We need to make sure and look at the emotional and mental fitness of our Scouts.  It is a total package.  We are mentoring young men.  These young men are living a time in their lives that is full of emotion, change, and in many cases confusion about who they are and what they are going to be.  Emotional and mental fitness is something that we as Scout leaders need to be aware of.  How we talk to these young men, how we understand where they come from, and how we work with them on a weekly or more basis is important to how they come to understand what emotional fitness and mental fitness is.   It is tricky ground to step on, and no we are not psychologists or therapist, but by our example and our care, we can go a long way to helping these young men through the tough days of teen age boyhood.
There was an article I picked up along the way.. I thought it had some great ideas and was worth sharing.  The article basically talked about attitude en route to mental and emotional fitness.  There are a few simple things to look at.  Improving your emotional health by positive thought, Choosing positive actions, Disputing pessimistic thought, Doing the right thing, and taking a look at your emotional health.  When we take a look at these things, we can see in our Scouts where they may be in their journey.  When we look at these things in ourselves, we can get a better understanding as to how we are helping, through our example, the Scouts in our care.
So lets take a look at these topics.  See where you are and how you can help.
Improve your emotional health by thinking positively
You’re okay. But can you be even better? That’s one of the questions being asked by a movement in the mental health field known as “positive psychology.” Unlike most traditional psychology, which seeks to understand and heal problems of the mind and emotions, positive psychology delves into what makes us emotionally healthy—or happy—and tries to build on those sources of strength to increase our happiness. According to several studies by psychologists in this movement, happiness can be achieved just by making these adjustments to your attitude.
Choose positive actions. In other words, you may not be able to change everything about yourself, including much of your environment, but there’s a lot that you can control. You can choose to think and act in ways that make your life more pleasant and, ultimately, more meaningful.
Dispute pessimistic thoughts. It may help to treat your own negative thinking as if it were coming from another person. Sometimes simply checking the evidence is enough to show that a negative belief is untrue. For example, you may think you “blew” your diet, when an actual calorie count says you haven’t. Also, you should get in the habit of taking the optimistic tack in explaining events; by remembering bad things will pass, but good things will last.
Do the right thing. As the old saying goes, “Virtue is its own reward.” Be inspired just by doing what’s right in your home, your workplace and your community.
Consider your emotional health. Is happiness this easy to attain? The answer depends in part on how happy or unhappy you already are. For people with serious emotional problems, positive psychology is not a replacement for getting help from a coach, therapist or physician.
Take baby steps. High expectations for change in your life have to be realistic. Happiness springs from actions, but the actions often have to be small steps. For example, shyness is something that keeps people from really engaging in life, but you can’t be expected to just toss aside your shyness and go out and enter a life of politics, or corporate leadership.

You may not want to play the part of psychologists or therapist in your unit, but as a Scoutmaster you are an influence in their lives.  Whether you accept that or not.. you are, and you play a major role in the development of their emotional and mental health.

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Journey to Excellence, Leadership | Leave a comment

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