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The Latin Scot

Declining an offered position?

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Last week I was at a meeting with a few of my district's commissioner team, and I was surprised when our RT Commissioner asked me take his place as the District Roundtable Commissioner next year (2021). I have mixed feelings about it.

I stepped in as the Cub Scout RT Commissioner a few months ago when my predecessor was poached by a neighboring district offering him a "better" position. I had been coming in as a guest instructor for the Cub Scout break-out sessions for a while, so it was a natural role for me to take on in a pinch. I am also the Unit Commissioner for a new, large and hectic new troop being formed from the vestiges of all the past LDS units in South Orange County, a troop that will have more than 60 boys right from the start (not to mention dozens of families that need to be re-trained as to how Scouting is supposed to work)

It's not that I'm particularly pressed for time; after all I'm a single guy in my 30's with plenty of time to share - I would be sacrificing another activity I enjoy once a month however, which would be tricky at times. But this really isn't a position I was ever aiming toward, nor had I even considered it really. I actually joined the district commissioner team hoping to focus my service as a trainer for Cub Scout leaders, which is why I've stuck to helping run the Cub break-out sessions. With this new position, I wouldn't be doing that any more, about the which I have mixed feelings. Running the whole shebang sounds like it might have its perks, but it's quite my cup of tea if you know what I mean. We have a large, thriving district, and attendance at Roundtable is pretty good, but it's not a niche towards which I feel naturally inclined. Not only that, but the person they recommended to me as an assistant this year and a replacement the next has, frankly, not impressed me. He's too quick to tout his pack's 'lofty' popcorn sales numbers and his 'success' as a cubmaster (few things agitate me, but a show-off with little to show is sometimes one of them); he can be rather acerbic and impersonal; most concerning to me, he still doesn't seem to understand the program at a level that will make him a reliable resource for new or hesitant Cub leaders coming to Roundtable for support and encouragement. 

However, they asked me to take on the role, and I know they really do need somebody - that I understand. And I think I would do a fair job with it. Yet it's simply not a position I'm particularly eager to assume. I want to have a firm answer within a month or two so that they have as much time as possible to explore other options if needed, but ... how do I gracefully decline the request? Should I even do so, or should I just bite the bullet and take on the job that's asked of me? And what's the best way to explain my concerns about the individual they're eyeing? As always, comments and suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks all!

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I would encourage you to decide whether you'd enjoy the role.  Whatever role we taken on as volunteers, it's important to find the fun in it.  Is there something about being RT commissioner that you'd enjoy? Perhaps the ability to put your mark on Roundtable and to work with others to make it happen?  Perhaps the ability to find and inspire others who might have similar interests to yours.  Also, you might find that this role provides some new challenges and is a fun adventure.

Yet, I would not take it out of a sense of pressure.  There will always be opportunities to serve and I've found it's important to take on roles you are interested in.  If you look at this and say "ugh, I really don't want to do that", then don't feel compelled to.

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Congratulations, you are a victim of your success.

There are basically two considerations:

  • Will you perform well and enjoy he position?
  • Would you enjoy working with whoever takes the position if you pass on it?

As to communicating your concerns, be plain spoken. Say what you think your fellow scouter should be doing less of and what you think he should be doing more of.

As RT commish, you could encourage your team to do a 360 evaluation.

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7 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Last week I was at a meeting with a few of my district's commissioner team, and I was surprised when our RT Commissioner asked me take his place as the District Roundtable Commissioner next year (2021). I have mixed feelings about it.

I stepped in as the Cub Scout RT Commissioner a few months ago when my predecessor was poached by a neighboring district offering him a "better" position. I had been coming in as a guest instructor for the Cub Scout break-out sessions for a while, so it was a natural role for me to take on in a pinch. I am also the Unit Commissioner for a new, large and hectic new troop being formed from the vestiges of all the past LDS units in South Orange County, a troop that will have more than 60 boys right from the start (not to mention dozens of families that need to be re-trained as to how Scouting is supposed to work)

. . . . I actually joined the district commissioner team hoping to focus my service as a trainer for Cub Scout leaders, which is why I've stuck to helping run the Cub break-out sessions. With this new position, I wouldn't be doing that any more, about the which I have mixed feelings. . . . 

However, they asked me to take on the role, and I know they really do need somebody - that I understand. And I think I would do a fair job with it. Yet it's simply not a position I'm particularly eager to assume. I want to have a firm answer within a month or two so that they have as much time as possible to explore other options if needed, but ... how do I gracefully decline the request? Should I even do so, or should I just bite the bullet and take on the job that's asked of me? And what's the best way to explain my concerns about the individual they're eyeing? As always, comments and suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks all!

Emphasis added.

1.  Trust your gut.  You have already identified what is most important to you.

2.  That you are looking for a way to gracefully decline seems significant.  I'd suggest, "I'm personally committed to [A, B].  Those are the things that I really need to be doing for at least the next couple of years."

3.  Their response to whatever you tell them will be that the new position isn't really complicated and won't take much additional time, so you won't have to give anything up.  I would suggest saying, "I know me, and to do it right, I would have to sacrifice something that I am already committed to doing.  I just can't do that."

 

 

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Looks to me like you've already decided and the part you're struggling with is how to say no. I think it's an important skill to have. As others have said - keep it fun.

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You have already received great suggestions, I agree with them all. I'm only going to add that if you dream of influence on the program over a larger group of scouts, this is that door opening. Yes, you're the Round table Commissioner, but your influence on overall program is only limited by your your ideas, ambitions and abilities to market and lead your ideas. In other words, you don't have to look at this as a Round Table Commissioner, look at it as a door opening to the stars.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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7 hours ago, MattR said:

Looks to me like you've already decided and the part you're struggling with is how to say no. I think it's an important skill to have. As others have said - keep it fun.

I think this is probably the case; I'm usually eager to accept any opportunity that comes my way, but this position just doesn't interest me. And I usually have no qualms about saying no when the need arises ... I should talk to my mom about it. She's GREAT at saying NO. :rolleyes:

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Flex your no muscle. I am similar to you. I love that feeling of being wanted and needed, and typically happily take on volunteer roles, especially for Scouting. The last year, I've shedded a few roles, and said no to a few new ones. It's really uncomfortable, but I'm glad I said no. They weren't the right gigs at the right times. 

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3 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

 ... I should talk to my mom about it. She's GREAT at saying NO. :rolleyes:

You must, if not for your sake then for those of us who no longer have Momma to talk to about such things.

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