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No youth willing to be Troop Quartermaster

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I disagree. It is a position of _responsibility_, not a "leadership position". If the scout is a natural leader, he will gravitate to those positions that require leadership. If the scout is not a natural leader, then he can handle the important jobs of Historian, Quartermaster, or Librarian. Maybe they'll find that being a leader makes their position easier, but it doesn't have to be. I would absolutely judge a quartermaster on the cleanliness of the Dutch Ovens. The goal is responsibility, not leadership. He'll get his chance for leadership in his Eagle Project.

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SMMatthew, Okay, now we are getting close.

 

"A good Quartermaster shouldn't be measured on how clean the Dutch ovens are... he should be measured on his leadership (having clean Dutch ovens and simply completing the task single-handedly is not the goal... exercising leadership is)."

 

In the real world, yes, you are correct, but holding a Position of Responsibility within the troop for advancement IS NOT measuring leadership only responsibility! That's the rub.

 

You are correct in that for the most part, the better scouts somehow juggle a balance between management skills and leadership skills. Obviously the POR's run the full gamete in varying degrees of balance. An SPL should be 100% leadership. To me his only responsibility is to support the PL's in their duties. He should be doing nothing else to detract him from that "responsibility". The first words out of his mouth at every PLC meeting is "Okay, PL's what can I do to help you succeed this next month?" He goes from there. He does the opening flags, dismisses the patrols down into activity groups, and then wanders from patrol to patrol observing where he might be able to offer some suggestions to the PL next PLC to make his job a bit easier or effective. He then convenes the closing flag ceremony. Next would be the PL's who are probably a 80/20 leadership vs. managment balance. He is constantly teaching, helping, suggesting to each of the other leaders in his patrol as they step up and do their thing. As coordinator of everyone he of course manages them. There are certain duties that need to be done and he can either direct the boys or in some cases do the heavy lifting himself to help out. Directing the boys would tend to be more managerial and doing the heavy lifting would fall more towards the servant leadership side. His call at that moment.

 

Chaplain Aide? probably a 50/50 with a bit more on the servant leadership of helping out directly on camp chores as needed.

 

Historian/Librarian? 10/90 depending on the boy. 90% of his time is task oriented doing this thing for the troop, but the boys might take him a bit more serious if he were to be a more consistent helping hand in camp. It has nothing to do with his "job" as Historian, but if he needs a bit of help some day, the boys will be happy to return the favor and cooperate a bit with him.

 

Whereas our Oath states ..."help other people at all times..." it is also rooted in the Golden Rule. Once boys figure out these dynamics within the patrol, taking one's responsibility becomes a piece of cake and as an added dynamic, their leadership skills improve proportionally as well.

 

It is a tradition in our troop that the personal camp setup is done first. That means that everyone sets up their tents and stows their gear. Then the patrol gear gets set up. For many troops this is the opposite of what they do. But my boys realize that once their stuff is taken care of, it frees their time to help with other new boys struggling with gear and getting the patrol stuff set up, i.e. help the Grubmaster set up the kitchen/cooking area. put up the dining fly, etc. Eventually a culture of everyone watching everyone else's back starts taking over. At that point one realizes they are well on their way to a Servant Leadership troop.

 

By the way other than the SPL, the DC is about the only other POR that is 100% leadership. TG comes close, but he is also focused on the managerial task of organizing the new boys.

 

Fehler: Yes, the QM is mostly a managerial position, not a leadership one, but that doesn't mean the QM can't be a leader as well. If each patrol has a QM and the troop QM is working with them to help deliver the necessary equipment and makes sure the patrol QM's are successful, he is providing leadership to that small group. Same for the patrol QM, he is working to make sure the Activitymaster, Grubmaster, PL and others are successful by having the right equipment show up at the right time in the right place. A lot of times the QM acts beyond the requisite duties of fulfilling a list of equipment needs and works to insure the needs of the people he is tending to.

 

It is obviously easier to teach management because it addresses issues that can be responded to with the "head", whereas leadership addresses issues that can only be responded to with the "heart". A crisis of leadership would be, "I know what I'm supposed to be doing, but I just don't want or care to." The only way this person is going to accomplish anything is by coercion, which SM's seem to be doing all the time to their boys who really don't want to be doing the POR they are assigned, or are doing the minimal just to get "credit" for advancement.

 

Stosh

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Fehler: Yes, the QM is mostly a managerial position, not a leadership one, but that doesn't mean the QM can't be a leader as well. If each patrol has a QM and the troop QM is working with them to help deliver the necessary equipment and makes sure the patrol QM's are successful, he is providing leadership to that small group.

 

If instead of calling it leadership skills we call it working with people skills, most POR's have that. Before the QM puts the dutch oven back in storage he inspects it for being clean and if it's not he can either clean it himself or he has a people problem. I just saw a scout this past weekend in a very similar situation. He didn't want to "be the mean scout." He's very confident at doing tasks. Not so much working with people. Leadership skills would help in this situation. Understanding tough love would also help.

 

I asked this same scout if he'd be willing to do exactly what Stosh mentions (working with the troop to develop patrol QMs). This would be a way for this scout to grow. For every single suggestion I had he came back with lots of reasons why it would never work. I couldn't figure it out until I saw him in the above situation. Scouts 3 years younger walked all over him.

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... I couldn't figure it out until I saw him in the above situation. Scouts 3 years younger walked all over him. ...

 

Yep, that will discourage a boy in no time fast.

 

I have to say that this is one of the tough nuts to crack ... helping a youth to be directive and not offensive. IMHO, there's no POR in particular that requires a boy to step out of his shell like that. SPL, maybe, but I've seen some of those stuck worrying about being seen as a drill sergeant. (I've seen others who could have stood to worry about that a little more than they did. ;) )

 

The only routine situation where that kind of behavior gets driven out of a young person fast is life-guarding. The risk is too great for any of them to play "Mr. nice guy" for any length of time.

 

I think a lot of boys who opt for scouting over sports have that "gentle soul" and don't quite know how to manage it.

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Not everyone is a leader. The world needs associates too.

 

One of the great advantages of Scouting is it takes the meekest of those gentle souls and at least exposes to them to the concepts of leadership and an opportunity and nudge to give it a try. Maybe they can become a 2nd Assistant Supervising Associate.

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Maybe I have missed something in this thread, but why are we bothering to divide the POR's into leadership, management, working-with-people-skills, part-this and part-that, etc.? The "book" defines various troop Positions of Responsibility, and that is what they are called as a group, from SPL to Scribe to Troop Guide. A Scout who is active in one of these positions helps the troop, and if they are between First Class and Life and are active in one or more POR's for the required amount of time, they fulfil a requirement for their next rank as well. Good news, right? Why are we making it more complicated than that?

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...because people are judging boys as leaders when it is a position of responsibility not leadership. They are adding to the requirements when they do so. The discussion then evolved into how to tell the difference. Nice discussion, it is interesting to see how others see the subject. Stosh

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I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to help our Scouts become stronger leaders. However, I believe that should be separate from the Position of Responsibility Requirements. Most POR's have the opportunity to exhibit and exert leadership. However, it's not part of the requirement. That is an important distinction to make.

 

Sentinel947

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I think some leadership skills to augment the POR goes a long way to making it easier. A PL with only managerial skill may get the job done, but with a bit of leadership skill he will become a more respected PL that the boys would want to have as PL. But like Sentinel947 says, it's a position of responsibility and should be evaluated as such. Did he do the job? End of discussion. Did the boys think he's a great PL? Not an issue. Doesn't count. If he got the job done, he gets advancement credit.

 

Stosh

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I disagree. It is a position of _responsibility_' date=' not a "leadership position". If the scout is a natural leader, he will gravitate to those positions that require leadership. If the scout is not a natural leader, then he can handle the important jobs of Historian, Quartermaster, or Librarian. Maybe they'll find that being a leader makes their position easier, but it doesn't have to be. I would absolutely judge a quartermaster on the cleanliness of the Dutch Ovens. The goal is responsibility, not leadership. He'll get his chance for leadership in his Eagle Project.[/quote']

In my opinion, everything done in Scouting should be an exercise of building leadership and teamwork... whether it be a "position of responsibility" or just a simple one-time task given to a Scout with no position patch on his sleeve. We should NOT be focused on the product; we should be focused on the process.

 

For example, a Scout being assigned to cook breakfast on a campout should not be encouraged to simply go off alone and cook in solitude while everyone else sleeps in (even if it results in the greatest and most delicious breakfast ever made)... it should be a team effort with him as leader (maybe not of the whole troop or patrol, but of at least 1 or 2 other Scouts). Likewise a Scout assigned the task of Webmaster should not be encouraged to go off alone and maintain a website from inside a bubble (even if that would result in the best website on the Internet)... it should be a team effort with him as the leader. A Scout who creates beautiful and detailed photo albums is not a great Historian if he never once interacts with another Scout or leader to complete the job (yes, he made sure the Historian's responsibilities were completed and got the job done well, but his method missed the bigger picture and greater potential of what Scouting is aiming for).

 

SMMatthew, Okay, now we are getting close.

 

"A good Quartermaster shouldn't be measured on how clean the Dutch ovens are... he should be measured on his leadership (having clean Dutch ovens and simply completing the task single-handedly is not the goal... exercising leadership is)."

 

In the real world, yes, you are correct, but holding a Position of Responsibility within the troop for advancement IS NOT measuring leadership only responsibility! That's the rub.

I'll agree that you shouldn't "fail" a Scout on an advancement requirement for failing to show leadership when the rank requirement only asks that a Scout serves actively in a position of responsibility (it doesn't say "show leadership while serving" or even "effectively serve" or "serve well"... it just says "serve actively").

 

So if a Quartermaster is active and always makes sure the Dutch ovens are always clean and keeps detailed inventories of the troop gear (even if he's not involving any other people in completing the tasks), he gets credit for serving (but along the way you should be encouraging and striving for "leadership" not just "get-it-done-ness"...as you should be with all Scouts at all times). And even an active Quartermaster may not have 100% of the Dutch ovens clean 100% of the time, but that doesn't mean he "fails" the requirement of holding a position of responsibility either. But as long as he is putting forth an effort and is active in the job (i.e. not just wearing a patch on his sleeve for 4 months and doing nothing else... or failing to complete the tasks required so much that you remove him from the position before the end of the term) then he is fulfilling the requirement... they should be guided along the way to be more effective and better performing... but they should not be measured at the end of a term of active service and then either "passed" or "failed" for the time completed. EIther he was Quartermaster for 4-months or he wasn't...it's not "he was only a so-so Quartermaster so those months don't count." Likewise with Historian, Webmaster, Librarian, and even Patrol Leader or SPL... as long as the Scout is active in their job (even if they are not 100% effective) they get credit (now it's hard to be actively completing the responsibilities of SPL and not be showing leadership... but there are some "one-man-shows" out there that try). But you should be guiding, mentoring and directing the Scouts along the way...not waiting until the end of a term of service to simply "pass" them or "fail" them after the fact for showing (or not showing) adequate leadership or properly getting enough of the job done.

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Having a POR is like having one's name on a duty roster. It is a job assigned to you. How one "manages" to get the job done is up to the individual and this is as far as POR's go when it comes to advancement. It's measurable as the metrics dictate. He did it or he didn't do it. End of discussion.

 

While it is good that each scout have some responsibility to help out, the assignment is something they follow, not lead.. Here's the job, do it. So someone is directing the overall task. It works rather well in a lot of troops, but as we notice on the forum, it often doesn't.

 

So where's the rub? The glue that holds POR's together is what is known to me as Leadership. Yes, I am doing my job so 1) I get it done and no one will yell at me, 2) I get advancement credit for it or 3) because my buddies need me to do it to help them out. Of the three 2 are narcissistic and the third is what BSA refers to as Servant Leadership when it speaks of it infrequently. When I do anything "for others" I may be removing obstacles, barriers and things keeping my buddies from struggling and maybe even helping them succeed. FOR OTHER implies my actions are related to people, not just a job. I can't be a leader unless I make an effort to relate it to people.

 

They tell me that the QM job means I have to keep the Dutch ovens clean and stored and handed out when asked. Okay. That's a job I can do. But when lift the covers on each of the returned DO"s do I look at say, "It's good enough for me.", "Good enough for government work." or do I seriously take into consideration what the next borrower will want/need?

 

Yes, every POR can be fulfilled with managerial skill and personal determination, but when one looks at it from a "help other people at all time" perspective, it requires a modicum of leadership. If everyone is happy with the way I do a job, who does everyone look to when it needs to get done right? Who will they go to and thus follow?

 

I did have one scout that questioned me about doing Dutch ovens. I always asked him to do them. Finally he asked why "he always got stuck doing the Dutch Ovens?" I told him it wasn't an issue of getting stuck, it was an issue of putting my best scout on the task because I knew when he did it it was always done right. He never said a word and always took the Dutch ovens and cleaned them. He got so good at it, he was always done with after meal chores first. So, is he showing leadership? Of course he is. He has taken his managerial chore that is personally assigned to hm and made sure the ripple effect of what he was doing was not just for himself, but for the welfare of others.

 

This is why I stress leadership in everything I do in the troop. No one is an island and everyone, regardless of whether or not they have a POR patch, need to be working for someone other than themselves or they are going to end up nothing more than Parlor Scouts or Paper Eagle in the long run.

 

One nice side-effect of this leadership focus is that when everyone is looking out for each other, teamwork really has a chance to blossom as well. After all, isn't this taking care of others nothing more than the Buddy System on a grander scale?

 

Stosh

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Here's an example of "without the patch" leadership:

Our older boys want to amp up their cooking skills, and we've had surplus from the last couple campouts. So, we devoted a few meetings to cooking dinner. Son #2 is now the oldest in the troop, and needs to knock off cooking MB anyway, so this is a good synergy for him. I guess if we were making a "chef" patch, it would be on his shoulder.

 

But last week, another scout suggested adding empanadas to the menu. (SM is a true meat-and-potatoes guy, so just watching the fellow look it up on the web was worth the price of admission.) Anyway that scout made sure Son #2 had a decent recipe and knew what additional ingredients were needed for this week. The boys cooked up a storm.

 

Now Son #2 is no narcissist (most days), but he does want his last month as a youth in the troop to be memorable. The other scout didn't do much in terms of prep, but nudged in a direction that the other boys were excited about.

 

I'd say one was filling a "POR", the other servant leading. Together, they made for a patrol of happy bellies (including mine and Mrs. Q's).

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We had a PLC meeting this week and I kept it in terms of talking about what the scouts did, or will do, to deliver scouting to their patrols. So, it was completely about the people and not the usual who has to do what. It raised the level of discussion and their interest immensely. Call it leadership if you want but it was really about keeping the scouts focused on the real goal. I "redirected" anyone that said something that wasn't about their patrol. If a scout said he was going to make phone calls I asked him what the end purpose was and that making phone calls is only a tool unless his patrol said they like talking on the phone.

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MattR, nice job. Once one gets beyond the requirements of advancement jobs, then one can start to reap the benefits of real leadership. "For the Patrol" meant what does this job have to do with people. Now you have successfully shifted from management of tasks to leading of people! The really creepy thing about it, it works and works well.

 

This is why I am so "anti-"management. It does not lift the dynamics into world of people. If it is my job to help other people at all time, wouldn't it seem reasonable to be able to focus on what those other people need/want when it comes to help?

 

Other than Do a Good Turn Daily, what other metrics are there that exemplifies helping other people at ALL times? :) To me this little phrase in the Oath is a mandate for leadership, not management.

 

Stosh

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Stosh:

 

Your definition of Servant Leadership is a bit off the mark. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.†"The big boss" so to speak. By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. A Servant Leader isn't doing his job just to help others, but to train, develop and empower those others to be successful and reach their own goals.

 

I heard alot about Servant Leadership at NYLT, and didn't hear about it again until I was doing Army ROTC in college. I think the BSA's training materials would do good to focus on it a bit more.

 

Sentinel947

 

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