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Can I be removed from my position?

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  • Can I be removed from my position?

    Hello there! I am a patrol leader in my scout troop. I think I am a pretty good patrol leader, I work very hard to make sure my scouts get their rank advancements and I go above and beyond what most of the other patrol leaders do. Well, I am the patrol leader for the scouts who just crossed over. They tend to like to talk and play around. I do allow this when it is okay, however getting what needs to be done done, is my first priority. Lately I have had problems with my scouts talking while we are lined up for closing and opening. I usually tell them to stop and after the meeting I take them aside, and tell them not to talk. Well I still have a problem with some of them. Recently they were talking while an adult was talking, I got on to them, but a couple continued. Our SPL got onto me twice to make them stop, I did, but they continued to talk later. After the meeting, the SPl told me that he didn't think I could handle the position(which I have held for a year and a half) and that I couldn't control my scouts. He told me that if this happened again ,he would remove me from office and replace me with someone better. this offended me, because I have worked extremely hard to get a decent patrol, whipping them into to shape after their last patrol leader didn't really handle his patrol. Can the SPL remove me from office if this happen again? Hope I don't sound like a whiner, I just wanted to know if the SPL could do this. Thanks for reading, and I hope you voice your opinion on this matter!
    Sincerely, PatrolLeader10

  • #2
    From my understanding, the SPL alone could not do this. The Scoutmaster could do so, and the SPL could argue that case to the Scoutmaster... But I don't believe the SPL by himself has the authority to do this. (Unless your troop's committee and SM have given him that authority)

    From my personal point of view: As a Patrol leader, you don't really have the authority or ability to punish someone in your patrol, or prevent them from doing this. There are certain things you can do to encourage correct behavior, but in the end, those scouts are responsible for their own behavior. You cannot control that behavior for them.

    If the troop has some sort of system to address their behavior, then use that system. If there is no system in place, bring it up at PLC and come up with something. You shouldn't be criticized for failure to control something that you have neither the authority to control, or the tools to control.

    Additionally, I would suggest talking to your Scoutmaster, and asking for advice on how to handle the problem your patrol is running into.


    • #3
      Patrol Leader - thanks for asking and I assure you, you will get many varied answers.

      First, being a leader is difficult. Sometimes a badge, title and/or patch is not enough - you need to learn how to get the Scouts to follow your lead. I would talk to the SPL and tell him that instead of trying to boss or command the boys to stop talking try to imitate good behavior yourself. Have the SPL, adults, yourself, etc. just cease talking until the talkative Scouts learn to be quiet. Sort of like a troop version of the Cub Scout "signs-up" except no physical sign.

      Second, I'm not a big proponent of having a patrol leader come from outside of a peer group. I'm sure right now, the new scouts feel like you are an outsider. Did they elect you or were you assigned to that patrol by the SPL and/or Scoutmaster?

      Third, it varies by troop but when I was a Scoutmaster, all patrol leaders were elected and they held their position for a minimum of six months. No threat of removal by the SPL or adult leaders. Not all troops operate this way however.

      I've always struggled with the fact that many of the adults don't follow the "rules" of the BSA and feel they can freelance / pick and choose what they follow. According to the BSA, the members of each patrol should elect one of their own to serve as patrol leader. The troop determines the requirements for patrol leaders, such as rank and age. I might suggest that you talk to the SPL about the possibility of assigning a troop guide to the new scout patrol to mentor a patrol leader for that patrol - with the patrol leader coming directly out of the new scout patrol. When I was a Scoutmaster, when I had a new scout patrol of at least 4 scouts, I would have each scout serve as patrol leader for 30 days or so, giving each scout a chance to experience the position and have an older scout, such as yourself, serve as troop guide to mentor the patrol leader - making sure that the troop guide did not overshadow the PL. See if that works.

      By the way, sometimes I had difficulty, as a Scoutmaster, getting the boys to settle down and keep quiet why I or another adult was talking. Sometimes, that was a sign of a troop meeting that was not that engaging for some of the boys. The trick is to get them to want to listen.(This message has been edited by acco40)


      • #4

        This issue sounds a bit like the mild bullying/management style of an overbearing SPL.

        In my troop the PL was the highest ranking POR in the troop. He was responsible for his patrol (patrol method) and the SPL was there to ASSIST him in his responsibilities, not dictate from the top how things are to be run in a patrol. If the SPL is going to run the patrols, then there is no reason to have PL's.

        It sounds like the SPL needs further training in what his role as guide/mentor means in the patrol-method program. Otherwise, dump the PL's and have the SPL try and run the whole show on his own.

        If it was me, I would not worry about being dropped as a a PL in this situation. As a matter of fact, life would be a lot easier being a patrol member and have someone else take the heat of the overzealous SPL. Hopefully next election, you can get someone in there who has real leadership, like you.

        I had an Eagle candidate scout pull a really stupid move and I stripped him of all POR and told him to show me what he's got in leadership skills. He said without a POR how was he going to be able to do anything. I just reminded him that real leadership doesn't need a patch. In fact, in the course of the next 6 months he really progressed the troop as a whole and proved his real leadership style.

        If you have the NSP, be sure to "rotate" the PL position and you as a patrol member, mentor and help them as you would do if you wore the patch. Guide the new boys in their leadership roles and quietly help them take the heat from the SPL. I always refer to the process as being a back-seat driver. While that might have a negative connotation, there is nothing in the world that a good back-seat navigator getting you through rush hour LA traffic. A supportive experienced leader in the ranks of the patrol will do wonders developing the kind of caring leadership you have described. Advancement in skills is important, but so is advancement in leadership skills and taking care of others and helping them along with their struggles.


        And in the long run, if the SPL complains to the SM about the PL of the NSP, he's not going to have a leg to stand on.




        • #5
          Some boys just can't stop yammering. Keep in mind that sometimes they make the best patrol leaders. Go figure.

          Yep, the SPL was a little harsh. Removing you from office probably won't solve the problem, so there was no point in suggesting it. As far as does he have the authority? Well that depends on the troop and how the SM lets things play out.

          Anyway, do talk to the SM about it. You and he may need to think of some "negative" reinforcement. Nothing violent, but maybe something like "Johnny, sounds like you don't want to be part of the opening/closing ceremony. Why don't you step out of line and sit with your mom until we're done here?"

          Finally, plan a patrol hike or camp-out with these guys. Get them doing things that require *them* to pay attention to each other. Tracking game, for example, is a good excersize that requires communication and stealth.


          • #6
            From what you said and others said..

            A) They may want to elect their own PL. They may follow him better.. But if your troop is willing, you could still be in a very similar position as to what you have now, as a Troop Guide for the New Patrol.. You may not want to bring it up as it is almost like asking for a promotion when right now you fear your job is on the line..
            B) Excessive talking is usually a sign of bordom.. Remember these are still young scouts. Do your meetings have long time periods where the troop is to quietly listen to a speaker?.. This may be a call for some change within the troop for less time with Announcements and guest Speakers.. More time with working on skills and team building challenges and getting out and doing..
            C) Sounds like you are feeling pressured into getting this patrol to quiet down.. Which in turn you may be trying to accomplish it with negative reinforcement, which seems to be more direct and get results faster, unless this patrol is not effected by negative reinforcement.. It hurts their respect for you and your authority if you are constantly repeating things like "quiet down" or "shut up" and they start tuning you out.. You have to talk to them and work with them.. Treat them with respect. Ask them why they think they can not stay quiet, Based on what they think the problem is (Probably bordom, but who knows) Ask them their ideas to change the troop so they get the info they need, but in a way that does not trigger whatever the problem is.. If reasonable, (they may start out with outlandish ideas, that will take some discussion as to where some pitfalls might be..) Be their advocate and try to work the change for them if they come up with a workable solution.. For example an idea of their parents taking notes for them during announcements while they are out shooting hoops wouldn't work (you would need to look at the fact BS is where they take responsibity and become independent of their parents), but one where the announcements are on a website, and "BREIFLY" mentioned rather then spending 10 minutes on each topic, so time on announcements are cut in half or better.. might work..

            Good LUCK..


            • #7

              As acco suggested, this is the usual issue with paying attention in my experience. Boys who are interested and engaged with the program will be paying attention to the program. Those who are bored will be making up their own entertainment.

              You may have program that older Scouts find engaging but not for younger Scouts.

              Probably the most universal of enlightening experiences is when a Scout first becomes a Patrol Leader. After taking orders from Patrol Leaders they naturally suppose that their leadership will be respected. Usually they have experiences such as what you are suffering through, and need to learn other ways of leading other than giving orders and expecting them to be followed.

              Frustrating, isn't it?

              I'd talk to your Scoutmaster about this issue since you haven't gotten any help from your SPL.


              • #8
                My advice - you go to your Scoutmaster and tell him you've run out of ideas for tying to get those last couple of lads to settle down and pay attention when it's time for them to sit quietly and listen and that instead of helping you come up with solutions, the SPL has threatened to remove you from the position of PL instead.

                Then you run against the SPL next time elections come up.


                • #9

                  I always trained my PL's to gather up their patrols away from the flag formation. They would line up, the PL would do a brief inspection of everyone (buttons buttoned, shirts tucked in, etc.) while reminding them that the flag ceremony is the most important thing we will be doing all evening long. Remind the boys that this is a time to show respect for our country and the veterans, especially the scouts, who went into the military to protect it and they deserve our utmost respect. This kind of sets the tone of one's expectations for the next few minutes. That means being quiet and listening to the instructions of the PL and SPL. Also remind them the other boys will be watching your patrol and if they do better than all the others it will be demonstrating leadership and showing your patrol is the best and they will need to improve to catch up (add a bit of gamesmanship to the process). Then do a grand march to your area for the flag ceremony. Always march back to the gathering area once the flag ceremony is completed and dismiss them and then tell them they can relax and enjoy the rest of the activities. This adds a sense of esprit de corps to your group. Be sure to thank them ("Very well done, gentlemen, you looked really good! Thank you!) for a job well done if they do it right. Otherwise offer a bit of critique, such as "we need a bit more quiet during the ceremony, otherwise everything went really well, Thank You!" or such until the unacceptable behavior is squelched. You are a team and the disruptions of one reflects bad on the whole patrol. Eventually every patrol member will police themselves. It's always better to spell out expectations and reasons for them BEFORE the bad behavior. This way you don't spend your time shushing them and causing further disruptions in the ceremony. If a leader does this, the boys will trust and respect the leader and will comply out of a sense of appreciation for such leadership. If they know you are looking out for them and working to make them the best, they'll follow you anywhere.



                  • #10
                    Everyone else is giving good advice, especially to discuss this with your Scoutmaster.

                    But here are a few trick to try with the chatty-Kathys:

                    -- First, look at the program. Are you spending more that 20 minutes sitting and talking to the Scouts? You need more activity. If the boy are chatting through a 45 minute lecture from the SPL, the SPL's lecture is the problem.

                    -- This on is hard for me. I like to make jokes when I'm talking to a group, but whenever people get a chuckle, their natural reaction it to turn to the person beside them and comment on it or make a joke themselves. Watch that. I'm also bad about asking rhetorical questions. People feel the need to answer them, which then turns into permission to start talking.

                    -- When sushing someone, make sure you're not a bigger distraction than they are. "HEY, QUITE DOWN, YOU GUYS!" really doesn't help as you become as much of a distraction as they were.

                    -- Learn The Stare. I'm sure you know what I mean.

                    -- If that doesn't work, and your are the one giving the presentation, without disruption your talk in the least, walk over and talk directly to the guy who is being disrutive.

                    -- If you're in a large group, get up and go sit between or behind the guys talking.

                    -- If that's too subtle, put your hand on the shoulder (very gently, of course. No Vulcan death grip.)

                    -- Last resort, quietly, and with as little disrution to the rest of the group as possible, motion for them to walk out of the room with you.

                    Again, the key is to do all this without becoming a disruption yourself.

                    Good luck!


                    • #11
                      "Some boys just can't stop yammering."

                      Yeah, we have two in our troop. Brothers. Twins as a matter of fact!

                      Honestly, those tow boys cannot talk without touching whoever trhey are talking to, and couldn't be quite for 3 minutes even if it meant saving their lives!

                      All the other scouts would have a better chance of arguing with a wall than getting these tow boys to be quiet.

                      Some boys are just hard headed, talkative and right in the middle of the stage of growing up where they take charge of their own lives.

                      Rather see that than a boy who never says anything!


                      • #12
                        Wait, I'm confused here. So were originally the PL of patrol that you bridged in with(boys your age), then you became the PL of a new scout patrol? I though that the NSP was supposed to have their own PL, but have a TG to help them?

                        Anyways, to answer your question, no he can't. The SPL nor any other scout may revoke your PL status by themselves. Only an adult can do that, and usually he has to have a good reason. For my troop the process goes like this: 1. SPL and PLs must vote to even consider it(if SPL, then troop votes) 2. If approved with 75% or more, Scoutmaster and the Troop Committee(along with the SPL) talk about why they want to remove the scout. 3. Troop Committee(if they find the claim reasonable) then sits down with the scout and has a discussion about it. 4. TC along with SM and SPL make a decision with the scout in question. Of course this is only my troop, and your may be different.

                        Finally, remind him(SPL) that these are new scouts. They probably haven't even started middle school yet. You can't expect them to sit through boring announcements without talking. Also, try to encourage them to be quiet(use positive reinforcement, no punishments). If your wondering, I'm a Troop Guide, so I've had these problems before.


                        • #13
                          I was originally the patrol leader of a patrol consisting of boys between 13 and 17. I was this patrol leader for a year. At the last elections, our scoutmaster appointed me to serve as patrol leader for the new scouts. Their last patrol leader( who I feel should have been removed, or given a patrol that didn't require as much work) did a poor job, and hardly attended trips( usually I stepped in, to help them). The boys respect me, and they see me more as a friend than as someone who is constantly bossing them around. At the last elections, we elected our current SPL. He is one of those patrol leaders who is constantly overbearing, uses intimidation, and expects you to do 5o jobs at once. He is constantly yelling at the scouts, especially the new ones. I've told him before that they are just kids, only eleven, and many times they are talking about the things we are discussing. What irritates me is that he has only gotten on to me, while in the other New Scout Patrol, the scouts are dancing and jumping up, and in many patrols the guys are messing around, being completely off topic. Thank you all for your tips! I will be using many of them! It really helps to have your input!


                          • #14
                            Hmmmm, your last post might be the key to the problem.

                            If there are two NSP's, and yours is getting the heat, I would venture forth the idea that there might be a bit of jealousy on the part of the SPL. If he is an overbearing bully and no one wants to follow him, and your boys recognize real leadership and follow you, there's going to be problems. I'm sure the SM is (or at least should be) tuned in on the situation. If not, tune him in with a friendly chat.



                            • #15
                              Can you be removed? Yes, but not unilaterally by the SPL unless your troop committee has set specific rules that probably violate national guidelines.

                              Personally, I would bring this up in a PLC attended by the SM but try to do it without seeming argumentative. For example, you could ask for advice on how to deal with the situations the SPL is using as a pretext as well as suggest the PLC codify rules that would explicitly state what was expected of the various PORs and when people would be replaced.