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Leadership as "Authenticity"

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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

National in its rule making and authority needs to think and act broadly. It has to focus on the organization as a whole ("broad-angle camera") and do so sometimes without the detailed data such as happiness of unit leaders or real time data on the effectiveness.

Unit leaders, however, think in details. John or Jane Scout. This camping trip. That merit badge.

Thus both sets of leaders can be "authentic" and still come to completely different answers.

[...]

As for the claim "Well National shouldn't set policies" that is simply not possible FOR LEGAL REASONS. We can complain that it shouldn't be this way, but it is. In this legal environment with National and Councils facing potentially a billion dollars in liability, they are going to act to ensure/try to ensure the program stays alive in the future (broad lens/camera). That is going to be mean losing some of the details on how it will impact individual units/scouts/unit leaders, but there's no way to do both. Thus, mixed scanning; trying to be flexible and get what information they can from both levels.

[...]

That said, it is important for unit leaders to speak up and make things clear when they aren't working. Simply refusing to adhere to BSA's rules in secret doesn't change anything either.

I see your point here.  I believe the point behind concept is that those who lead need to build support and mindshare from those they are leading.

As national has the point position on providing leadership for the overall Scouting program, I believe that they have the onus to initiate this.

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Posted (edited)

@Eagledad @ParkMan I requested it be locked because people were reading DavidCos vague posts and assuming he was taking his Troop to Rally for Life events. That is not the case. They were continuing to pile on, even after he finally clarified. Locking the thread lets people read all the posts and get things back on topic. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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7 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

@Eagledad @ParkMan I requested it be locked because people were reading DavidCos vague posts and assuming he was taking his Troop to Rally for Life events. That is not the case. They were continuing to pile on, even after he finally clarified. Locking the thread lets people read all the posts and get things back on topic. 

I did not say that. I found his post strange and out of context and said that.

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Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I see your point here.  I believe the point behind concept is that those who lead need to build support and mindshare from those they are leading.

As national has the point position on providing leadership for the overall Scouting program, I believe that they have the onus to initiate this.

In what form? So far what I've seen in this forum is people indicating that if someone from National came to their unit they wouldn't even give them a cup of coffee.

I would image that any town hall type meetings or outreach would meet a similar fate (read Hate National!)

There is no reason why a unit leader or anyone cannot email Mosby, their Council, or ANYONE.

They opt not to because complaining in their sleeves is easier than actually doing something about it.

EDIT: I come back to the example I mentioned earlier at a local/my Council level. When the opportunity was offered (via Zoom) to directly ask questions of Council Key-3 leaders, none of the complainers bothered to do so (via email) or show up.
 

 

Edited by CynicalScouter
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Authenticity is a two way subject. A leader may appear to be authentic to one person while another person sees the leader as full of him/herself.

Something that's really needed to be authentic is humility. It's hard leading and mistakes are made. Humility is what holds things together and allows mistakes to be corrected. On the other hand, our zero sum game society, where there will always be winners and losers (as described above) doesn't leave much room for humility. Consequently we have anger. That anger is poison to any form of leadership. While it would be nice for everyone to be more humble, asking for humility won't create it. This is an age old issue, after all.

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2 minutes ago, MattR said:

Authenticity is a two way subject. A leader may appear to be authentic to one person while another person sees the leader as full of him/herself.

Something that's really needed to be authentic is humility. It's hard leading and mistakes are made. Humility is what holds things together and allows mistakes to be corrected. On the other hand, our zero sum game society, where there will always be winners and losers (as described above) doesn't leave much room for humility. Consequently we have anger. That anger is poison to any form of leadership. While it would be nice for everyone to be more humble, asking for humility won't create it. This is an age old issue, after all.

Great, then how should National show humility? Mosby comes out, wearing sack cloth and ashes, begging everyone to forgive him for his transgressions against Scouting? Perhaps self-flagellation?

The other aspect of humility I hate to say it is liability. Any statement of contrition or suggestion of fault or error is going to get turned into Plaintiff's Exhibit A in the next bankruptcy filing as an admission of guilt.

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Well before arriving, Mosby could stop at Dunkin's and buy the Box of Joe on his own dime as a start. :)

Respect us, trust us, listen to us, learn from us...

My $0.02,

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

In what form?

The first step towards a leader being authentic is to exert effort to do so.  That manifests itself in some pretty consistent ways:

  1. Demonstrate to the people you lead that you want to hear their input.  As the leader, make it clear that you initiated the town hall.  As the leader, make an effort to visit units.  
  2. Be honest and open.  Being open doesn't mean you have to give people answers for everything, but it does mean that you don't "sell" them or talk down to them.  
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  If the leader senses that there is a significant concern out there, address it.  

Specifically, on some of the things you mentioned:

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

So far what I've seen in this forum is people indicating that if someone from National came to their unit they wouldn't even give them a cup of coffee.

I would image that any town hall type meetings or outreach would meet a similar fate (read Hate National!)

I would encourage the national leader to go to those units that are the most hostile.  Go to the unit, listen to the concerns, listen, and answer questions.  Hostile people are generally frustrated people.  Go learn why they are frustrated.

Imagine if every time a national leader went to a city, they made a point of visiting with a frustrated unit.  Don't make it a photo-op, don't bring 10 aides - just the national leader and the unit leaders.  And then just listen and learn.  I guarantee that after a few months of doing this national would get a very different perspective of Scouting at the unit level.  Imagine when word gets out about national proactively out, listening to units that are struggling.

 

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

There is no reason why a unit leader or anyone cannot email Mosby, their Council, or ANYONE.

They opt not to because complaining in their sleeves is easier than actually doing something about it.

In an authentic leadership model, it is the role of the leader (national or council in this example) to build bridges to the people they lead (unit leaders).  The leader needs to build the buy in within their team.  As a leader saying - your input isn't valued because you were not motivated to come talk to me - isn't the right model.

 

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

EDIT: I come back to the example I mentioned earlier at a local/my Council level. When the opportunity was offered (via Zoom) to directly ask questions of Council Key-3 leaders, none of the complainers bothered to do so (via email) or show up.

In this case, your district chair had the initiative to setup the town hall.  That is not an example of authentic leadership in action.  In the authentic leadership case, the Council Key-3 would have initiated the outreach effort.

Edited by ParkMan
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7 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

In this case, your district chair had the initiative to setup the town hall.  That is not an example of authentic leadership in action.  In the authentic leadership case, the Council Key-3 would have initiated the outreach effort.

Who cares who sets up the meeting, as long as the meeting happened? I will tell you the number of people who knew it was initiated district to council was small. The larger point was that when it came time to actually show up, few did.

The point is that the Council Key-3 showed up when asked and were ready to answer any/all questions and only 2 were asked.

All of this "authentic leadership" is focused top down. How about bottom/up ("managing up" to borrow a phrase?)

How about this: authentic leadership from UNIT LEADERS means not just belly aching and complaining. It means when opportunities are offered, you show up.

Instead we get no one showing up for Key-3 council invites, regular district committee meetings, or roundtables.

Your (I'll say, cramped) definition of "authentic" leadership focuses entirely on the responsibility of the leaders and 0% on those led to provide the feedback when the opportunities arise.

I have no patience with scouts, scouters, or adults that complaint about "leadership sux" and then when shown the ways to express themselves simply refuse to do so

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

There is no reason why a unit leader or anyone cannot email Mosby, their Council, or ANYONE.

Sorry, not the case...if you have a legitimate question, and you know your SE/local staff isn't giving a coherent answer, and you email National, it will bite you right in the keister.

National views you as being solely under the authority of your local SE.  So, when you conduct events in surrounding councils, you still fall under the interpretation of rules/policies as issued by your local SE, not the hosting council...unless that council is MORE restrictive.

If you point out the disconnect, you get skewered.  They shoot the messenger...

I have experienced this personally.  And I know others who also have...

I will welcome them and offer them coffee, but the conversation will be guarded and carefully worded.  Dare I even say evasive...too much scar tissue here, brothers ;)

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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16 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Imagine if every time a national leader went to a city, they made a point of visiting with a frustrated unit.

One last point on this, and I want to keep it separated.

Many of the "frustrated" units will complaint among themselves or complain among other units, but they will not actually speak up to anyone else. It is easier to simply ignore the rule then to complain about it.

I will tell you that the SM of the most frustrated unit in my area (as In "Friends of Scouting will come to this unit over my dead body." frustrated) never complained to council and just makes snide comments when we see each other.

Leadership works both ways. You want things to change? Speak up, or sit down.

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2 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Sorry, not the case...if you have a legitimate question, and you know your SE/local staff isn't giving a coherent answer, and you email National, it will bite you right in the keister.

Ok, maybe I wasn't clear. Anyone can email Mosby et al.

You may not like the ANSWER. But the channels are there, was my point.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

I will tell you that the SM of the most frustrated unit in my area (as In "Friends of Scouting will come to this unit over my dead body." frustrated) never complained to council and just makes snide comments when we see each other.

I addressed concerns to our council...FOS heavy-handed tactics, FOS presenters not being able to answer questions about where the money goes, lack of council transparency about where the money goes, poor camp facilities, etc.   After our Key 3 meeting with council reps concerning why we, each of the Key 3, did not wish to have an FOS presentation in our unit, I was removed from District and Council Committees by the SE.  Without a phone call or any coherent explanation to date...had to find that out from other volunteers who run those committees...

Not authentic ;)

P.S.  Our council now imposes the $60 per Scout fee, and has eliminated unit FOS presentations...

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

In what form? So far what I've seen in this forum is people indicating that if someone from National came to their unit they wouldn't even give them a cup of coffee.

I would image that any town hall type meetings or outreach would meet a similar fate (read Hate National!)

There is no reason why a unit leader or anyone cannot email Mosby, their Council, or ANYONE.

They opt not to because complaining in their sleeves is easier than actually doing something about it.

EDIT: I come back to the example I mentioned earlier at a local/my Council level. When the opportunity was offered (via Zoom) to directly ask questions of Council Key-3 leaders, none of the complainers bothered to do so (via email) or show up.
 

 

I would bet a lot of us have attempted to make things better by reaching out, but have had no success. I stumbled across this forum after years of calling and emailing Council and National and having numerous conversations to no effect. The coffee's always been out in our unit, but generally they don't really want to hear from you unless it's related to FOS or membership. 
 

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Here's another thing: Even just for what should be a routine thing you can't get a straight or easy answer out of national. Has anyone ever attempted to navigate the BSA Customer Service number? It was back in the day when I was so niave as to think a BSA policy was vague by accident instead of by design. I asked, "In this policy, does X mean Y or Z?" I thought it was a simple question. Turns out the person answering the phone wasn't actually anyone who could answer a question. She was very professional when she assigned me a "trouble ticket" and  told me someone would get back to me. I was suitably impressed and thought it all sounded very official and important and scoutlike. I explained it was for an outing coming up in 48 hours. She said someone would get right back to me. I held my phone in my hand all afternoon. A week and half later, she called back and gave me the answer, which was to recite the same policy back to me. I reminded her that my "trouble ticket" said that X was a little vague and I had needed clarification on whether it meant Y or Z. Simple question. Sorry if I wasn't more clear. I still wanted to know for the next time this issue came up. A few days later, another call back. The answer, which the customer service officer was apparently reading off an email, was garbled. I questioned her and we established that she was not familiar with the policy to know how to interpret the response, so I asked if I could actually speak to the professional scouter who had written it. She would check. About a week later, I had a message from her that she had  moved "trouble ticket XYZ" up in priority and someone would get back to me... It went on like that. It was beyond belief. The ultimate upshot is that after about four weeks I had a very gruff, businesslike, but cordial message from someone who said he was pleased to answer my question. He then proceeded to read the same policy back to me, and then chuckled and said, "and just so you know, you can also find all of the BSA's policies like this one on our website..." 

I gave up. 

Since I was still naive, I tried to use that system a few more times but except for one case they were all that frustrating and nonsensical so I stopped calling and started looking for chat groups or whatever and that's how I came across Scouter Forum. 

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