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Need advice on dealing with a personality clash

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I have a big problem that I need some help with. There is an adult leader in my district who I can not stand at all. Unfortunately, he and I seem to end up volunteering at the same events, camping near each other, sitting around talking to the same people, and I don't want to change what I do drastically just to avoid him.


It all started when I was just a scout I guess. We were doing the honor guard thing on Mackinac Island and this adult showed up half way through the week. Things weren't like he had planned so he decided to try to force a change. It didn't exactly work. He and I began to clash over everything. To me, he comes off as being way too harsh, almost selfish, and sometimes a little too absorbed in himself. Now I bet if he had been with us all the time on Mackinac Island, had to deal with the first few days problems, gone through the training, then he may not have been such a wannabee drill sargent.


The funny thing is this is the same guy who will try to MAKE everybody sing "do-a-diddy-diddy" while marching around the island. Oh, and don't forget that no matter who is doing what he doesn't hesitate to step in and take right over. I get a little miffed when somebody walks up next to MY patrol and begins to call a slower cadence over me just because HE think's it's HIS right to correct me (back when I was a youth that is). It seems like he HAS to be in charge and if you don't respect him for being so much better than you he makes life unenjoyable for you.


Anyways, we never really got along. We both end up volunteering for the same events, and I am getting sick of putting up with his attitude and I am sure he is less than thrilled to be around me. I try not to incite conflict, but it is just SO hard sometimes not to crack a little joke when I see him screaming his lungs out at a group of 50 scouts and scouters to fall in to files and ranks, when we all just met an hour before. I think I said, to a buddy next to me "there's general so-n-so". My mistake that his wife was standing behind me, but I know I should have kept my mouth shut.


It's just, you know when you shouldn't rag on somebody, but when they do it to you so often it's really hard to fight off the temptation. He says so much stuff behind my back I guess I'm not the bigger man for letting it all slide. It's a vicious cycle for sure.


Mabey he is just a little bit of a jerk to everybody and I am getting way too bent out of shape about what allways goes on. Mabey he isn't even aware of how little respect I have for him because of how he acts. Mabey I should just shut up and avoid him when ever possible, it might make me feel like crap for giving up on what I believe in, but at least I could mabey enjoy events a little more.


Mabey I just need to get this off my chest. Mabey talk with the other leaders in my troop, see how they feel, and mabey figure out what to do so we can both enjoy camping near each other.


So, how do you all deal with the leaders you can't stand, but end up being around all the time anyways?


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Why not be honest with him and tell him what is bothering you. Maybe he will see the error of his ways and come around to your way of thinking. Maybe he'll tell you his side of things and you will gain a better understanding of him. Maybe you'll continue disagree and you will quit traveling in the same circles but at least you will both understand why.



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While I really shouldn't try to second guess what other people in the forum will say. I think that those that do post here will fall into one of two camps. One camp will tell you to be a good Scout and the other camp will tell you to keep as much distance between you and this guy as possible.

I wish that I could put my hand on my heart and say that I get along with everybody and that they get along with me. Sad to say I can't.

There are a couple of things that I have learned over the years. That you can make up your own mind as to their worth.

Everyone deserves another chance.(In most cases)Dwelling in a negative past does no one any good, we can't manage the past we can plan for a positive future. There are a good number of people that I didn't think that much of because we had a history. However when we were faced with getting something done and shared in the vision of the completed task we managed to put the past behind and while we may not have ended up as close friends, by the end we both managed to admit that each of us had at least some good points.

They say that confession is good for the soul. While I'm not in favor of rehashing old hurts. I do think that when you have to work with someone that you don't like a few words to clear the air are a good idea. Something along the lines of "Hey I know that we have had our ups and downs, but I hope we can put that behind us as we work on this project."

Don't let your feelings get in the way of telling this guy when he has done a good job.

When your friends say something that is putting this guy down. Stop them and tell them that you really don't want to hear it.

Go out of your way to find this guy doing something right and tell him.

What ever happens never let him know that you are losing it. When he is doing something that irks you to no end walk away count to whatever number you need to. When you have calmed down then discuss it with him in a calm way.

The golden rule wasn't only written for the people that we like.Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Is for everyone. The same is true of the Scout Oath and Law, we aren't just Helpful to the people that we like.


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Well, if you are now an adult, act like one. Have a private conversation with this person and you may just find out that you are in agreement more then not.


Ask him to back off when you or someone else has the lead, unless it is a safety issue. Tell him that he is undermining, in the eye of the Scouts, the authority of the person in the leadership position that he is interrupting.


Once you have established some ground rules, if he butts in, just say that "you are doing it again", or something benign.

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Yes we should all just get along if possible. But if it helps feel free to post any snide comments regarding the fellow here on the forum and vent. While we may read them, his wife won't overhear them and continue the cycle.





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To a lesser degree than you, I have had to deal with this type of situation. Now, we had a leader involved who was irritating everyone, and I could not and would not step in unasked between other adults. However, when I had a difference with this leader, I went to the leader privately, told the leader what the problem was, and tried to find some common ground again so we could try to aim for that as we worked through this and continue to work together. It was not a little issue; it was pretty big; it needed to be dealt with. The result was that the leader stopped talking to me; I continued to say hello, to treat the leader as I always had, for I knew that I was willing to work things out but this other was not. The leader has since left. Another person that I just did not hit it off with at all was someone else I truly valued but did not know well or understand. I called this person, said that I wanted to better understand how we can work together because I did not know this person well at all but would like to, and everything was uphill from there. That was easy, but picking up the phone was not! My advice: go to him, talk to him, see what happens. You don't how he'll react, but if you have to spend time with him, try to work things out for both your sakes. If you try and it doen'st have the desired effect, at least you will have tried. Now, I would not call myself easy-going, but I get along with most people, even those I don't have much in common with, so two clashes/disagreements in just over a year is an awful lot for me. However, it was worth it because it's one less burden to carry around once it's out in the open--even if the outcome isn't what I might have hoped for.

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In our Troop, many things seem to run in cycles. One of them is "Themes". Not like the monthly theme the BSA suggests, but more of a "life lessons" theme that constantly appear, we work through, and then another takes its place.


Currently, our theme seems to be personal responsiblity. The idea that the only thing we each can control is our own actions. We are spending a lot of time right now discussing this. We talk about it in the context of Positions of Responsiblity, concerning advancements, and concerning good and bad behavior. We've even discussed it among adults when one adult doesn't agree with the manner another one handles a situation.


It's a wonderful concept, really. If we each work on doing the right thing ourselves, and worry less about what someone else does, or how it affects us, most everything will work out in the end.


I am not smart enough to presume I can give you advice about how to handle your situation. But if you're struggling with a personality conflict, think about giving this philosphy a try. I think that either you'll end up working things out with your antangonist, or you'll find a way to make the situation at least bearable. Either way, you're likely to be happier.


Good luck to you!



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After a talk with some fellow scouts and scouters who are pretty aware of what goes on I have come to a conclusion. Anything I could do has a positive and a negative. If I talk to him htings could get worse. If I ignore him I will still feel not at ease about all of this. I think I will see what happens next time we end up working with each other. If we can get along without hostilities then I guess I was over reacting. If things start getting bad I might try to talk it out with him. Either put everything behind us and start anew or just agree to give each other more slack for the benifit of everybody around us.

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You may not like what I'm going to say but "it takes two to tango." And from your post, you are just as aggitated as he is acting. MAybe rightly so, but sometimes you have to rise above it. Have you ever thought that he is feeling just as threatened by your presence too?


You aren't going to change him. But you can change the situation by changing YOUR attitude. It will probably be one of the hardest things you'll do, but turn the other cheek. Next time the two of you are working together, you be the first to approach him and work out a plan. Tell him you realize that your two styles are completely different but you want to work with him to make the overall scouting experience good for all. Give each other assignments; you lead "X" he leads "Y."


You may find that he's feeling the same as you are and when he sees the ice broken, things will change. What's that old adage? "You get alot more with a spoon of honey than a spoon of vinegar?"


If you really can't work with him, than don't volunteer the same things. But I would consider this a challenge to myself to get along. You don't have to like somebody to work with somebody.

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  • 11 months later...

This post is rather old, but there is a similar problem occuring in our troop (BTW, I am no longer Committee Chair, but adv. chair in our group) My husband became Scoutmaster last year. It has taken him about a year to settle into the new job. In the meantime, one of the Assitant SM has decided to bully-pulpit his way to the front of the the troop each week and start telling them what they are going to do and how to do it. Never mind that my husband had an agenda typed out, and had plans for the Senior leadership to lead the troop in activities each week. Once Mr Bully starts, the boys get intimidated and just shirk off. "I don't know WHY those boys aren't being leaders" he complains all the time. Our committee chair has told him to back off back off back off. But he still pops right back up. He has made all of the other Assistants mad, and they quit coming. (so we have lost our leadership for camping). This assistant made our treasurer mad this week because my husband was speaking to her about a problem at the time HE blasts her kid in front of the group (about the very same problem). I didn't even go because I told my husband I could not stand to see him marching around anymore. The week prior he was telling the kids that the adults would be cooking a meal for them on the backpacking trip. I corrected him, "No, the adults will not be cooking a meal for everyone at the campout." He snapped back "Well, Your husband and I talked about it last week." Hmmm. That was strange, since I live with my husband, and talked with him about it and we agreed that the kids needed to cook all meals themselves. We have certain guidelines to follow for the badge they are to work on. I got up and walked out, because I did not want to lose it in front of the children.

My husband is so easy going, he says "Ron" is just gung-ho at this time and we don't need to make him mad. It is a volunteer organization. We can't fire him." So, what do we do? Scoutmaster has talked with him, so has committee chair. And he knows he has made everyone else mad, because we have told him.

What can we do? Has anyone been successful at de-throning a person like this?


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Ahh but you can "fire" a volunteer! Especially if the unit is suffering because of them. Sounds like that is the case.


The SM really needs to set the tone. If he is going to let this guy continue then that is also part of the problem.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Yes, you can "fire" a volunteer. Based on what you've written, I'd say the next step is a heart to heart with this person, the SM and the CC. Explain the situation, suggest some alternate approaches he might take, and simply tell him that if he doesn't back off, they'll have no choice but to remove him as a leader because at this point, he's doing more harm than good. They'll want to wrap some politeness around it, of course, but that would be the guts of the discussion.



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