Month: November 2007

TOP 10… Qualities of a Leader!

This weeks TOP 10 list will focus on Leadership…

And the TOP 10 QUALITIES OF A LEADER ARE…

10. Prepares for the Future. Not only for himself, but the leader is grooming his replacement.

9. Recognizes his limitations. We can’t do it all by ourselves. A good leader knows what he can and can not do.

8. Is Visible and Accessible. To be a good leader you need to be out front and be available to those you lead.

7. Transforms ideas into Action. Great ideas are useless until they become real.. put your ideas into action.

6. Open to new ideas. Never be a “My way or the Highway” kind of guy. You need to pull ideas from others.

5. Understands Sharing. Share Success not failure. Give others credit when its due.

4. BE CONSISTANT!

3. Set High standards.. for yourself and your team.

2. Create the Environment for success.

AND THE NUMBER ONE QUALITY OF A LEADER….

Communicates his Vision! Let your team know where you want to go and how to get there!

Happy Scouting!

LEADERSHIP 101- The Effective Leader

This past weekend we had a great time at our annual Leadership Development Conference (LDC) hosted and trained by our Order of the Arrow Lodge.
The event is open to all Scouts and Scouters that are interested in becoming better leaders.
A lot of Troops use the LDC as their Troop Junior Leader Training, because over the years the the training offered has been consistently that good.

This years theme centered around planning and the effective leader. What I liked was that the Scouts that taught the classes had done their homework and produced a good product that demonstrated the steps of good leadership.

There are many attributes that make up an effective leader, but here are the six steps that will ensure effective leadership:

1. Provide Vision and Direction. I have talked about this before. A good leader by definition leads by providing Purpose, Direction, and Motivation. Understanding where one wants to go and a clear understanding of how he wants to get there will ensure success. Being able to communicate that vision is key to achieving that success.

2. Find Resources. Effective leaders know that they can not do it alone. They also develop a keen sense of how to use their “tool box”. They understand that there are people and things around them that will help them on the way.

3. Determine the readiness level. You must know your people. You need to understand where they are coming from and what skill sets they have to perform the task. Skills and Motivation determine where you are in the Team Development process. High Performance teams have a lot of Motivation and high Skills.

4. Assign Responsibilities. DELEGATE DELEGATE DELEGATE… but remember you are the leader. You can delegate responsibilities, but you can not delegate accountability. Spreading the work around will make the task easier and it will get the team involved giving them ownership. But remember that you need to check and double check.. you are still the leader.

5. Perform the Task. “Get ‘er done!” Be there and be watchful as the task is being completed. Allow others to shine.. give them a job to do and let them do it. Give guidance and direction and be a good coach. Hands on is good too, but when you give someone a task, let them do it.

6. Check and Report. Use the Start, Stop, and Continue model for after action reporting. You need to discuss what went well and what went poor. Learning is what makes you better.
During the Reflection or review stay focused on what the task was, stories are fun to hear, but during reporting stay focused on learning how to do it better next time.

Following these six step will keep you focused and on track for effective leadership while performing a task. It is the essence of leadership. Leaders emerge when something needs to be done. Effective leaders get it done.

Happy Scouting!

LEADERSHIP 101- Communication

Communication is possibly the most important part of leadership. Without communication we can not share our vision, provide motivation, and articulate purpose.
We all know that we constantly communicate. We do this both verbally and non verbally. The way you act is just as important as the way you talk. The way you stand is just as important as what you say. And how you say it can redirect the meaning so as to give your listener a totally different picture of what you are trying to communicate. At some point in Scouting or in your life you will need to communicate. The better you are at the easier it will be for you as a leader and the easier it will be for those you lead to understand your vision.
So we need to be aware and work on communication constantly.

Here are a few tips to assist in EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION:

1. Speak Clearly. Can everyone hear you? Remember that while the information is probably very familiar to you, the listener may be hearing it for the very first time. Also, speak to the group as if you are talking to the last person in the last row.

2. Use language that EVERYONE understands. Avoid using jargon and acronyms that some may not be familiar with. This makes the listener feel like he is not welcome.

3. Vary your tone and pace. Keep your voice and not just your words interesting.

4. Move from the general to the specific. Provide examples of generalizations that the listener can relate to.

5. Use visuals- charts, maps, and diagrams. Remember that people vary in how they best absorb information. Some are more oriented towards verbal language, some towards the written word, and some learn a lot through graphics.

6. Eyeball- look at the listener. If you are speaking to a group, can you see everyone? Are the looking at you?

7. Encourage two way flow. Ask questions and get them asking questions of you. Answer questions helpfully and in a friendly manner. Don’t pass judgement on the question or the questioner.

8. Make it fun and interesting. Show enthusiasm!

Those are just a few ways that you can better your communication. Remember that to be an Effective leader you need to be an Effective Communicator.

Happy Scouting!

The 11th Hour on the 11th Day of the 11th Month…

This Sunday is Veterans Day.
A day that we in America honor all of the Veterans that have served the forces that guard our Country and protect our way of life.
On Veterans Day we say thank you!

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

On Veterans day we need to take just a minute and say thanks to our Veterans. They have given so much for us. Some served because they had too, while others served out of a sense of duty, either way the impacted America by their service. During peace time and in times of war, our service men and women stood ready to do our nations bidding. They stand vigilantly on the wall of America to ensure we remain the land of the free. Without them our nation would not be the same.

It is important to remember that we have these men and women in our communities, our Churches, our Schools, and work places. And our nation makes new veterans daily as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that have raised their hand and pledged to defend everything that we hold dear. Without complaint, without protest, they go. They leave the comforts of home, the safety of our neighborhoods, their families and friends and they do with Honor and Pride.

CSM Schleining, Gov. Kulongoski, LTC Cramer the night we came home from Iraq. (Yeah that’s me on the left)

Take a minute this Sunday and say a prayer for Veterans. Find one and say Thanks!

Happy Scouting!

3 words…

Last night wrapped up an election here in Oregon. And with elections come debate, scandal and mud slinging. I wonder if any of these people really want to help or are they just in it for ego.
We voted on property rights and taxing smokers last night (as well a a few other minor issues). For the last six months we have seen the absolute worst in people. And it got me thinking, there are three little words that can solve many of these problems.

ON MY HONOR!

It is a phrase that begins our Oath. A Oath that leads us in a direction of promise.
Promise to duty to God and Country… not ego.
Promise to Help other People…AT ALL TIMES.. not just election years.
Promise to Keep ourselves Strong, mentally awake, and MORALLY Straight.

I suppose you could debate who’s morality.. but if you did than you really don’t get the Scout oath and law.

I listened to politicians over the last week giving their last ditch efforts to win their cause. The lengths they go to amaze me. I give them points for being tenacious. But do they stop to think about what they are really doing? Do they ask themselves if it lives up to the standard of the Scout law (the answer here is no by the way)? Go ahead a repeat aloud the Scout law right now.. and think of a politician or a ballot measure that meets the 12 point test. Hard to find one is it not? And that to me is sad.

You have to ask the hard questions? Are they Trustworthy? Loyal? Helpful? ….

IF they would take a minute and ask if they are doing an HONORABLE thing I am sure they would stop most of what they do.

What is HONOR?
According to Websters: (taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary)
1 a: good name or public esteem : reputation b: a showing of usually merited respect : recognition
2: privilege
3: a person of superior standing —now used especially as a title for a holder of high office
4: one whose worth brings respect or fame : credit
5: chastity, purity
6 a: a keen sense of ethical conduct : integrity b: one’s word given as a guarantee of performance .

Looking over those definitions I can’t find ego, I can’t find scandal, I can’t find politics and I am sure that there is no honor left in our politicians. It is a shame too, because I believe that the framers of our country were honorable men. I think they had the very best of intentions when they wrote the Constitution.

Three little words…

ON MY HONOR!

How do you use them? What do they mean to you?

Winter Camping Skills- Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite mostly affects areas where the circulation is poor. Since cold weather will cause the body to take preventive measures by constricting (making smaller) the blood vessel, this opens the door to frostbite injuries.

Look for the 4 Ps of frostbite:
Pink – affected areas will be reddish in colour. This is the first sign of frostbite.
Pain – affected areas will become painful.
Patches – white, waxy feeling patches show up – skin is dying.
Pricklies – the areas will then feel numb.

Tips to prevent frostbite:
Get to a warm area before frostbite sets in. If it’s too cold outside, consider staying indoors.
Protect areas of poor circulation (ears, nose, fingers and toes).
Keep extra mittens and gloves in the car, house or school bag.
Wear larger sized mittens over your gloves.
Wear a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks. They are all extremely susceptible to frostbite.
Wear two pairs of socks – wool if possible
Keep feet warm and dry
Remove any wet clothing.

What to do in case of frostbite:
Do not rub or massage affected areas. It may cause more damage.
NOT HOT – warm up the area slowly. Use warm compresses or your own body heat to re-warm the area. Underarms are a good place.
If toes or feet are frostbitten, try not to walk on them.
Seek immediate medical attention if you see white or grey coloured patches or if the re-warmed area is numb.
Always be on the lookout for the symptoms of frostbite. In case of serious cold weather injury, seek immediate medical attention.

Hypothermia
Whenever the body’s normal temperature becomes too low, hypothermia (hypo = low and thermia = temperature) occurs and will starve the brain of much needed oxygen.
During cold weather months, finding warmth can be the key to survival, but hypothermia can occur even during the hot days of July. Swimming in cold water for a long period of time can induce hypothermia even in the hottest months of the year. Remember, hypothermia can quickly become life-threatening.

Signs of Hypothermia
Look for the “UMBLES” from people affected by cold temperatures:
A person who mumbles;
A person who stumbles; and
A person who fumbles objects.

Tips to prevent Hypothermia
Wear clothes in layers: The under layer should be the insulating layer to prevent loss of your body heat while keeping the cold outside air away; the outer layer should be the “wind breaking” layer to reduce the chances of cold air reaching the insulating layer.
Drink warm fluids.
If you start to sweat, cool off a little. Wet clothes will accelerate other cold weather injuries.
Wear a hat – up to 40% of body heat loss can occur through the head.
Wear gloves or mittens or both!
Wear a scarf to protect the chin, lips and cheeks – all are extremely susceptible to cold weather injuries.

What to do in case of Hypothermia
Remove wet clothing that promotes hypothermia.
Get to a warm place as soon as possible. Use several layers of blankets heated in your home dryer if possible.
If the person is alert, give warm beverages.
Seek immediate medical attention.
Always be on the lookout for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. In case of serious cold weather injury, seek immediate medical attention.

BE PREPARED! We use the buddy system to watch out for each other! These two injuries are serious and can hurt you in the long term. Camping in the winter can be the funnest time of your Scouting life! But you have got to be prepared!

Happy Scouting!