Leaders must have a critical eye. They must develop a habit of looking for opportunities to improve themselves and their team. With a critical eye they will start seeing those opportunities.
Now, when I say opportunities, I am not suggesting that the leader look for all the things that are wrong. On the contrary. Those opportunities are those habits, skills, and activities that can use improvement and praise.
Without a critical eye the leader can not effectively move through the stages of team development. The leader will overlook opportunities to move the team forward.
Using the EDGE method of leading and teaching, the leader with a critical eye will spot those skills and habits that are holding the team back not allowing them to be a high performance team.
It is easy for a leader to walk past a Scout struggling to get his tent packed. It is not only a good example of being helpful, but also a confidence builder for the team when the leader steps up and pitches in demonstrating his skill and ability to lead.
Over the last weekend I had the opportunity to see this in action. Our Senior Patrol leader assisted a new Scout in getting his tent stored properly. This was a nice thing to do, but as a leader myself I could not resist the opportunity to teach the Senior Patrol leader some leadership. After the Senior Patrol Leader finished showing the new Scout how to fold and roll his tent, He handed him the stored tent and walked away.
Pulling the Senior Patrol Leader aside, I asked him which of the 4 methods of EDGE did he use to teach the new Scout how to fold his tent. Demonstrate, He replied. Absolutely I told him, but do you think he now knows how to put his tent away? Not sure said the Senior Patrol leader. Well, How will you know? When he does it right the next time he suggested. So when is that I asked. Well, we have time now he said and returned to the new Scout. He explained to him that he knew that he putting his tent away properly was a piece of cake and that now that he had been taught, he could do it right each time. Then he asked to see the tent, took it out of the bag and unfolded it. Then he told the new Scout to show him how to do it. The new Scout did the skill correctly and received some great positive reinforcement from the Senior Patrol leader.
All of this is to say, that we tend to leave it at that. No matter what the skill or task is, we tend to leave it at the basic level. Unfortunately most of the time this leads to a lack of learning and skills are underdeveloped. As leaders we know that it is a lot easier to look the other way, take the path of least resistance, and allow skills to remain mediocre. It is an effective leader that wants his team, troop, crew what ever to be the best to be a high performance team.
One of the things that we work on with our junior leaders is having a critical eye. At first, they focus on only those skills and tasks that are not being done well. Once they realize the importance of seeing the good and the bad, they become better leaders and as a result they start moving their unit to a high performance team.
Just something to think about.
Develop a critical eye in you and your junior leaders.. the results will amaze you!
Have a Great Scouting Day!