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CodyMiller351

How to deal with a difficult leader?

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I am in need of more help from y'all.  My troop has obtained a difficult leader over this past year.  During our camping trip last weekend I noticed his "flaws" in a big way.  He started off by showing up Friday with bags and bags of cooking equipment that he got for the Troop.  Now the day before we made a list of a couple things we needed and he decided he wanted to volunteer to make these purchases (which I appreciate).  He also decided to buy food items that were not on the menu (I went to buy the groceries so that kind of upset me) and he gave me crap for not buying anything for desert.  I explained to him that I bought everything on the menu and if the boys wanted desert then they should have put it on the menu.  Anyways we depart and arrive at the state park.  We begin setting up camp and he states that all of the leaders should stay in one big tent instead of our personal tents.  I explain to him that we only stay in one big tent during our beach trip which was last month.  This really isn't an issue but he wouldn't budge.  Finally I gave in and set up the big tent.  After we set up camp, we tell the boys to get a fire going.  They struggle at first and the leader steps in right away.  He completely takes over and begins to "teach" them.  I say teach with quotes because I don't agree with his teaching methods (it's either his way or the highway).  After a good 30 minutes, a fire appears.  One other leader explains why we should have let the boy "fail" in a sense (which would help them eventually learn), which I agreed with.  The difficult leader disagrees with us and says he will never "let" his boy "fail".  Moving on, we are sitting around the fire at night and this leader begins playing videos on his phone.  Now I didn't have a problem with this (but I did want some peace and quite to enjoy nature) until the videos got inappropriate.  There was a good amount of bad language in some of these videos, which doesn't bother me, but it bothered one of our other leaders. He didn't say anything but you cold tell he was upset.  We all went to bed and that was the end of that (until it happened the next day again).  The next day (also our last day) he decided he didn't want to do the hike we had planned.  I understood since he struggled the day before on our hike and he isn't in the best shape.  The thing that bother me is before we left on our hike, he complained that "we need to plan our trips better".  This was in reference to our menu again.  This time it was about our lunches in which we divided out between everyone before the first hike.  He didn't think we had anything for lunch because neither of the boys decided to put anything in their day packs.  I tried to explain to him that I bought enough for two lunch for everyone and some extra but he wasn't having it.  He walked away and while we hiked for 4 hours he sat in his car.  Overall his flaws are: use of inappropriate language, not knowing his place, thinking he knows everything, thinking everything has to be his way, going against what we planned. He also disagrees with our plans for the troop (remodeling our scout hut, recruiting, etc.).  It's sad because his son is the same way.  Sorry for the long post and I know I am making my troop seem like a horrible place but we've had a rough past two years and I am trying to get us back on the right track.  

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29 minutes ago, CodyMiller351 said:

Overall his flaws are: use of inappropriate language, not knowing his place, thinking he knows everything, thinking everything has to be his way, going against what we planned. He also disagrees with our plans for the troop (remodeling our scout hut, recruiting, etc.).  It's sad because his son is the same way.  Sorry for the long post and I know I am making my troop seem like a horrible place but we've had a rough past two years and I am trying to get us back on the right track.   

Sounds like the typical guy who knows everything about everything and can tell everyone what they're doing wrong. That's fine. I'd invite him to sign up to take on those roles that he feels the troop is deficient in. If he thinks he can better plan outings, maybe there's an opening on the committee for Outdoor Activity Chair. If he's a recruiting expert, he can be the next Recruitment Chair.

More volunteers are always needed in Scouting. Sounds like he's highly motivated to take on many new roles. 😉

 

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8 minutes ago, FireStone said:

Sounds like the typical guy who knows everything about everything and can tell everyone what they're doing wrong. That's fine. I'd invite him to sign up to take on those roles that he feels the troop is deficient in. If he thinks he can better plan outings, maybe there's an opening on the committee for Outdoor Activity Chair. If he's a recruiting expert, he can be the next Recruitment Chair.

More volunteers are always needed in Scouting. Sounds like he's highly motivated to take on many new roles. 😉

 

It’s funny because he has said before how he didn’t like adult leaders who would just tell you what your doing wrong but yet he is doing that exact thing. We have a committee meeting tomorrow so I might explore your idea on offering him one of those roles. I have a feeling he will decline my offer though. 

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1 hour ago, CodyMiller351 said:

...  The next day (also our last day) he decided he didn't want to do the hike we had planned.  I understood since he struggled the day before on our hike and he isn't in the best shape.  ... I am making my troop seem like a horrible place but we've had a rough past two years and I am trying to get us back on the right track.  

I see a lot of back-country backpacking trips in your future!

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Well, if you talk to your CO and explain the issue, they can simply GIVE him a new role. No questions, no discussion - simply tell him his services are appreciated but the nature of his role will be changing. Then change his role. If the CO approves the action, there is nothing he can do about it - besides whine and complain and all that, but he can't force himself into any position of leadership. It's a tough call but if he is truly sabotaging your boys' experience than just excuse him from the position in which he seems to be causing so much trouble, and find him something else to do where he won't cause so many problems. The CO is fully empowered to choose its own leaders, and to dismiss them as well (or at least give them new duties). Should he decline, he is welcome to look elsewhere for opportunities to serve.

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8 minutes ago, qwazse said:

I see a lot of back-country backpacking trips in your future!

I honestly hope so but we just don’t have the boys for it right now. I love backpacking but the best place we’ve gone so far is Grayson Highlands. I really want to do more back-country/high adventure stuff but we only have 3 guys (including myself) who would be able to. 

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I don't know who the SM is but he needs to get on top of this now. There are all sorts of red flags going off in my mind. Inappropriate games (we have a fairly strict policy about phone usage). "I'll never let my son fail." Ignoring everyone else. Whining about stuff. This is not a list of problems, this is one problem. This is an adult that doesn't get it and never has. He is not a team player. This is a mess and the only way it will be resolved is to start by saying this is the way we do things and if you don't like it then you can not go on campouts with us anymore. I realize this sounds harsh but I've been in this situation before. Finding him another job will not solve this problem.

The first time it happens everyone is looking at each other with a quizzical look on their face. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Don't get fooled twice.

Now, it might be that the situation I was in was dealing with a much worse personality but at a minimum this guy needs some hard, simple boundaries set (you do not instruct any scout on anything, you do not buy any food). Certainly if I were you I'd sit down with him and explain to him how the scouts do things and what the adults are not allowed to do. It would be great if it worked but don't be surprised if it doesn't. I spent a couple of months dealing with such a person. He finally went to another troop and that poor SM had to deal with him until finally the Council put his son in lone scouts. I felt sorry for the boy, he was a reasonable kid.

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26 minutes ago, MattR said:

I don't know who the SM is but he needs to get on top of this now. There are all sorts of red flags going off in my mind. Inappropriate games (we have a fairly strict policy about phone usage). "I'll never let my son fail." Ignoring everyone else. Whining about stuff. This is not a list of problems, this is one problem. This is an adult that doesn't get it and never has. He is not a team player. This is a mess and the only way it will be resolved is to start by saying this is the way we do things and if you don't like it then you can not go on campouts with us anymore. I realize this sounds harsh but I've been in this situation before. Finding him another job will not solve this problem.

The first time it happens everyone is looking at each other with a quizzical look on their face. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Don't get fooled twice.

Now, it might be that the situation I was in was dealing with a much worse personality but at a minimum this guy needs some hard, simple boundaries set (you do not instruct any scout on anything, you do not buy any food). Certainly if I were you I'd sit down with him and explain to him how the scouts do things and what the adults are not allowed to do. It would be great if it worked but don't be surprised if it doesn't. I spent a couple of months dealing with such a person. He finally went to another troop and that poor SM had to deal with him until finally the Council put his son in lone scouts. I felt sorry for the boy, he was a reasonable kid.

Unofficially, I am the Scoutmaster.  I am pretty much giving him one more strike. If he does something else out of line, then we’ll sit down and have a chat. I don’t want to lose him because he’ll obviously take his son with him and that would leave us with only 2 scouts but I’m not willing to sacrifice our other scouts just to please this leader. 

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2 hours ago, CodyMiller351 said:

  We begin setting up camp and he states that all of the leaders should stay in one big tent instead of our personal tents.  I explain to him that we only stay in one big tent during our beach trip which was last month.  This really isn't an issue but he wouldn't budge.  Finally I gave in and set up the big tent. 

You lost me here.  The other stuff (well except for the phone) is, I guess possibly open for discussion on the best way to deal with the boys.  anyway until he is removed his opinion could be considered.  But I am a grown up.  No one is going to tell me where to tent, let alone that I must tent with another adult.  Certainly ig f that isn't the previously established policy/procedure (which I could then opt out of an event if I do not wish to comply).  I would have told him to stuff it right then and there, or enjoy his big tent all by his lonesome.

Actually you lost me at the "he gave me crap..."  We are all volunteers here, trying to do our best.  I am not taking any crap off another volunteer.  good natured ribbing sure or useful. constructive criticism sure--I am not perfect and can learn plenty from more experienced folks.  But genuine crap umm nope.  Again, I am a grown up and unless we are in some official capacity where I sort of have to take it (and since retiring from the military I can't imagine that scenario anymore) I am not going to suffer fools who think they are in charge very well.

I would have had zero problems asking him to kill the phone or go to his car if he has to watch.  Our troop has a zero electronic policy at scout events (other than calling home if needed).  The grown ups try real hard to set the example on that.  The language would be a no brainer to me.  Again no problem going to the mattresses straight away on that. 

But if not losing him (and his boy) outweighs the other stuff then I think you are hosed.  You have surrendered the leverage and are stuck IMO.

 

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5 minutes ago, wdfa89 said:

You lost me here.  The other stuff (well except for the phone) is, I guess possibly open for discussion on the best way to deal with the boys.  anyway until he is removed his opinion could be considered.  But I am a grown up.  No one is going to tell me where to tent, let alone that I must tent with another adult.  Certainly ig f that isn't the previously established policy/procedure (which I could then opt out of an event if I do not wish to comply).  I would have told him to stuff it right then and there, or enjoy his big tent all by his lonesome.

Actually you lost me at the "he gave me crap..."  We are all volunteers here, trying to do our best.  I am not taking any crap off another volunteer.  good natured ribbing sure or useful. constructive criticism sure--I am not perfect and can learn plenty from more experienced folks.  But genuine crap umm nope.  Again, I am a grown up and unless we are in some official capacity where I sort of have to take it (and since retiring from the military I can't imagine that scenario anymore) I am not going to suffer fools who think they are in charge very well.

I would have had zero problems asking him to kill the phone or go to his car if he has to watch.  Our troop has a zero electronic policy at scout events (other than calling home if needed).  The grown ups try real hard to set the example on that.  The language would be a no brainer to me.  Again no problem going to the mattresses straight away on that. 

But if not losing him (and his boy) outweighs the other stuff then I think you are hosed.  You have surrendered the leverage and are stuck IMO.

 

The only reason I gave in the his “big tent” demand is that there wasn’t much room to put multiple other leader tents since the big one would take up most of the plot space (it was a state park campsite so there is not much tent room).  I didn’t really allow him to give me crap.  I stood my ground and told him what I needed to tell him.  

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1 hour ago, CodyMiller351 said:

Unofficially, I am the Scoutmaster.  I am pretty much giving him one more strike. If he does something else out of line, then we’ll sit down and have a chat. I don’t want to lose him because he’ll obviously take his son with him and that would leave us with only 2 scouts but I’m not willing to sacrifice our other scouts just to please this leader. 

If you're in that position, then he is in no position to dictate any of this. Don't wait to sit down with him because it will happen again otherwise.  Talk it over ASAP and explain the problems and what the solutions will be.

Ideally, you work as a team.

Wishing you well.

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3 hours ago, CodyMiller351 said:

I am in need of more help from y'all.  My troop has obtained a difficult leader over this past year.  During our camping trip last weekend I noticed his "flaws" in a big way.  He started off by showing up Friday with bags and bags of cooking equipment that he got for the Troop.  Now the day before we made a list of a couple things we needed and he decided he wanted to volunteer to make these purchases (which I appreciate).  He also decided to buy food items that were not on the menu (I went to buy the groceries so that kind of upset me) and he gave me crap for not buying anything for desert.  I explained to him that I bought everything on the menu and if the boys wanted desert then they should have put it on the menu.  Anyways we depart and arrive at the state park.  We begin setting up camp and he states that all of the leaders should stay in one big tent instead of our personal tents.  I explain to him that we only stay in one big tent during our beach trip which was last month.  This really isn't an issue but he wouldn't budge.  Finally I gave in and set up the big tent.  After we set up camp, we tell the boys to get a fire going.  They struggle at first and the leader steps in right away.  He completely takes over and begins to "teach" them.  I say teach with quotes because I don't agree with his teaching methods (it's either his way or the highway).  After a good 30 minutes, a fire appears.  One other leader explains why we should have let the boy "fail" in a sense (which would help them eventually learn), which I agreed with.  The difficult leader disagrees with us and says he will never "let" his boy "fail".  Moving on, we are sitting around the fire at night and this leader begins playing videos on his phone.  Now I didn't have a problem with this (but I did want some peace and quite to enjoy nature) until the videos got inappropriate.  There was a good amount of bad language in some of these videos, which doesn't bother me, but it bothered one of our other leaders. He didn't say anything but you cold tell he was upset.  We all went to bed and that was the end of that (until it happened the next day again).  The next day (also our last day) he decided he didn't want to do the hike we had planned.  I understood since he struggled the day before on our hike and he isn't in the best shape.  The thing that bother me is before we left on our hike, he complained that "we need to plan our trips better".  This was in reference to our menu again.  This time it was about our lunches in which we divided out between everyone before the first hike.  He didn't think we had anything for lunch because neither of the boys decided to put anything in their day packs.  I tried to explain to him that I bought enough for two lunch for everyone and some extra but he wasn't having it.  He walked away and while we hiked for 4 hours he sat in his car.  Overall his flaws are: use of inappropriate language, not knowing his place, thinking he knows everything, thinking everything has to be his way, going against what we planned. He also disagrees with our plans for the troop (remodeling our scout hut, recruiting, etc.).  It's sad because his son is the same way.  Sorry for the long post and I know I am making my troop seem like a horrible place but we've had a rough past two years and I am trying to get us back on the right track.  

And the above is what happens when lawn mower parents become leaders. I've seen boys struggle with tents.  The SPL and other older boys help them.  

 

As another poster said, I see backpacking in your future, if you have sense.  

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I would set expectations for all adults at the next comittee meeting. Make sure everyone knows the plan and agrees on the way forward. Be transparentand share all plans the scouts have provided, work the plan.

We had an issue with Scout parents demanding to go on campouts and demand they get to bring their 10 man tents. - They are not with our troop anymore :)

 

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7 minutes ago, TMSM said:

I would set expectations for all adults at the next comittee meeting. Make sure everyone knows the plan and agrees on the way forward. Be transparentand share all plans the scouts have provided, work the plan.

We had an issue with Scout parents demanding to go on campouts and demand they get to bring their 10 man tents. - They are not with our troop anymore :)

 

Well, depends on the campsite.  In my troop, the parents were allowed to use whatever they wanted to use for tents.  The regular camping parents/leaders tended towards minimalism--backpacking tents, in my case, a hammock, or we had some under the open sky ground sleepers (in appropriate weather).  

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1 hour ago, CodyMiller351 said:

The only reason I gave in the his “big tent” demand is that there wasn’t much room to put multiple other leader tents since the big one would take up most of the plot space (it was a state park campsite so there is not much tent room).  I didn’t really allow him to give me crap.  I stood my ground and told him what I needed to tell him.  

alrighty then.  my apologies.  I must have read your post wrong or more into it than was there. 

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