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CNYScouter

No youth willing to be Troop Quartermaster

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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.

Ok I think there are two separate (but related) issues here: (1) What should a Scout with a POR do... and (2) What must a Scout with a POR do to get credit for advancement?

 

Every Position of Responsibility (whether it be Quartermaster, Webmaster, Historian, Bugler, Chaplin's Aide, OA Representative, Patrol Leader, or Senior Patrol Leader) has measurable metrics -- specific duties, responsibilities and expectations. There are job descriptions and specific tasks that should be done by a Scout with a specific badge on his sleeve.

 

Are the Dutch Ovens ready for the campout? Is the troop website up-to-date? Are there photos from recent troop events? Was there a bugle call at morning colors? Did someone give a blessing before we ate lunch? Is information about OA events getting to troop members? Is there a patrol duty roster for the campout? Is there a plan for next week's troop meeting? Did you attend and participate in the PLC meetings? etc, etc, etc....

 

These metrics should be monitored and Scouts should be guided towards upholding and fulfilling all their responsibilities while they wear that patch on their sleeve. And if a Scout truly isn't cutting it (such as a Scribe who takes horrible minutes... or a quartermaster who forgets half the troop gear on every campout) or if he isn't active in his role (such as a Patrol Leader who never attends a single campout or PLC... or an OA Rep who never shows up to OA or troop meetings), then he should be removed from the position (although not without some due process and counseling first).

 

But remember that the requirement for advancement simply says "serve actively"... not "serve perfectly." So a Scout should not "fail" holding a position of responsibility because he fell short of perfection or didn't complete 100% of his responsibilities to the 100% satisfaction of the Scoutmaster.

 

A Scout who is falling short or is not performing to the expected standards should be mentored, guided and worked with to correct the problems. If they can't be corrected, then he should be removed from the position. But either a Scout was an active Patrol Leader for 6 months or he wasn't... you don't get to decide if he was "an effective Patrol Leader" or "a good Patrol Leader" and use that to decide if you'll count the time or not.

 

A Scoutmaster should never say: "Look, I know you've been an active Quartermaster for the past 6 months, and have helped get our gear ready for every campout... but the Dutch ovens haven't been cleaned perfectly every time and your inventory sheets are a little sloppy. Plus there was that one campout where we ran out of trash bags. So, I'm sorry, but those months won't count for your Star rank. Come back in 4 months after holding another position." Nor should he say: "Hey, I know you were our SPL for 6 months, but the troop meetings were kind of chaotic and you didn't show much leadership by planning and running the meetings all by yourself... plus you don't even know any of the names of the newer Scouts... so we can't count those months that you were SPL for Life rank." You can't retroactively negate time served if they were active in their role. If they aren't good, remove them from being QM or SPL...don't just decide not count that time because they weren't the ideal QM or SPL.

 

If the Webmaster is maintaining the troop website (getting the job done) you can't necessarily remove him... but you can still encourage him to engage with others and take on more leadership in his role.

 

Every Position of Responsibility has the potential for a Scout to develop and demonstrate leadership. Some (such as SPL) are more natural and essential to getting the job done than others (such as Scribe or Librarian). But every Scout, in every POR, should be encouraged to take on leadership in their roles. However you can't "fail" the requirement of holding a Position of Responsibility for advancement simply because you don't show leadership (whether it be Quartermaster, Webmaster, or even Patrol Leader or Senior Patrol Leader).

 

All PORs (including Webmaster and Quartermaster) should be encouraged and guided to show leadership in completing their tasks... but you can't necessarily "fail" them if they don't.

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Sentinel947:

 

I'm a disciple of Robert Greenleaf's definition of Servant Leadership as it was presented back in the 1970's. In the past 45 years there have been many redefintions along the way and attempts to torque the concept into various management styles.

 

If one were to go back to the original writings of Greenleaf, there is an explicit example that says Servant Leadership IS NOT A TOP DOWN PROCESS. And until people get over the notion that top down processes are management and Servant Leadership is a bottom up support process, they will never understand what Greenleaf was getting at.

 

The two are not mutually exclusive which further complicates the understanding.

 

I'm the Boss and I need a job (task) done. I pick out one of my subordinates and tell them what the job is and set them a deadline to finish. I then come back around to check on the status of progress and the subordinate completes the job on time. No problem. This is good management. But if the subordinate doesn't finish on time and it becomes a pattern, that person is fired and someone else is assigned the task.

 

On the other hand I'm the Boss and I need a job (task) done. I pick out one of my subordinates and tell them what the job is and set them a deadline to finish. But now I tell them that if they run into any snags, let me know so I can help out. Periodically I check in and find out the status of the project and offer my help again. If the job is going along nicely, No problem, I still offer my support. If the job is not going smoothly, I ask what help is needed and then roll up my sleeves to help out. Between the two of us we get the job done on time. No evaluation necessary.

 

Servant Leadership #2 - My subordinate comes to me and says he has a problem with some task he is doing. I offer help, roll up my sleeves and get to work to insure that subordinate has help. The problem goes away.

 

It doesn't make any difference the direction the task is coming from, a top down task or a bottom up problem, both are handled the same way. The leader and subordinate work together to get the results both want.

 

So now you have the SPL at a PLC meeting and the older boy patrol says they aren't going to summer camp but are doing high adventure instead. The PLC votes and high adventure idea is nixed. Older boys don't show up for summer camp, too busy, and SM and SPL are sitting there scratching their heads on how they are going to punish the older boys when it comes time for Scout Spirit advancement.

 

Had the SPL said, Okay older boys, let's get the leadership resources for you to get your high adventure it. 2-Deep, finances, and travel are all worked out. Surprisingly the SPL is a hero and the older boys are inclined to be more helpful to the SPL in the future because of what he did.

 

Real Servant Leadership is a very powerful dynamic to have around as long as one know what it really is and how to apply it appropriately.

 

Stosh

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Also Sentinal, The training, developing, and empowering are not dynamics of Servant Leadership. Our schools are loaded with people who train, develop and occasional empower the students, but the students must comply 100% to the management tasks to be successful. Flunk your final exam and see how that works out for you. :)

 

The PL that teaches his patrol to tie the square knot is a teacher. No problem. 7 of the 8 boys do well, but one boy just doesn't seem to get it. The PL sticks around and says. "Task too hard, what can I do to help you be successful?" The PL works with the boy until the boy is successful. So now we have 7 boys who know how to tie square knots, but one of them thinks the PL is the best in the world because he cared enough to be there for me.

 

It really doesn't pay in the long run to teach our boys bossy management skills when it is far easier and far more productive to go with the Servant Leadership model. Remember that the next time you tell your SPL he needs to step up and take charge. I have never said that to any of my boys. Of course I have offered them the opportunity to "take lead" on a number of projects the troop is considering doing. :)

 

Stosh

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Stosh: so we're both arguing for Servant Leadership? Your desciption of the scouts and square knots is exactly what I'm looking for.

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I kinda thought so, but sometimes the management verbiage creeps in and confuses things. Tying knots is a management task, PL chose to do it himself (he could have managerially assigned it to someone else, but didn't (he chose Servant Leadership for himself) once the task was done and most of the boys had done what was expected, management was over, but PL went beyond management into full blown Servant Leadership mode. What can I do to help? Top-down managers NEVER say these words! It's the first thing off the lips of a Servant Leader.

 

As I have mentioned. Management is okay for tasks, but don't confuse the issue by saying just because you finished the task it makes you a good leader. It doesn't it only makes you a good manager.

 

Top down manager styles in the troop seem to create a ton of problems down the road. I hear people posting all the time the problems with this approach. And I shake my head because for some reason I very seldom run into any of the problems described. I credit this to an emphasis on Servant Leadership emanating from the bottom up rather than the top down management.

 

Stosh

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