Communicating effectively became crystal clear for me while I was a Student in the US Army Ranger School. One minute you are chest deep in water slogging your way through a swamp and the next minute you are being told you are now the leader and you have 5 minutes to find out what the heck is going on. A quick transfer of information from one leader to the next and you are off to complete the mission. You learn right then how effectively the briefing was communicated to you and you learn even faster that the guy ahead of you did not pay attention. You success or failure is now in the hands of a tired, hungry, wet, and miserable Ranger that you are trying to glean as much information out in 5 minutes.
What becomes indelibly marked in your brain is that the more ineffective, ambiguous, or unclear the communication, the more the follower must and will assume.
Assumption is never a good thing when a task is supposed to completed to a certain standard or completed the way in which the leader has seen in his vision.
That vision must be clearly shared and expressed in such a way that everyone has a clear understanding of what you want. If it is not, they will assume and you will not get the results you are looking for.
As part of the leadership principles we teach our Scouts, Communicating effectively will reduce the amount of drama, conflict, and failed results that the Junior leader will have to endure.
The leader can make his life easier by starting with clear communication. This is a skill that must be practiced over and over again. It is imperative that the leader be given the chance to practice and fail if necessary to develop good communication habits.
If you want results, you start with effective communication. As an adult leader allowing ineffective communication from your youth leaders in unacceptable. Teach, coach, train, and mentor them to better communication skills. Allow them to make mistakes, but not make the mistakes the norm.
Every Scout has the ability to communicate effectively. Styles may differ, but if they want to be successful, they need to develop good communication skills and use them.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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