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fred8033

Leadership as "Authenticity"

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4 minutes ago, yknot said:

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.

Our last COR is a Law Professor at a nearby university.  He enlightened me on this...it is by design ;)

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7 minutes ago, yknot said:

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. 
 

Well, I don't know how many, but a few of us reached out many times.

In fact, I was recruited to both district and council level positions to push new programs for my ideas. Of course district was ready to get rid of me after a while because I just wouldn't shut up. I blame that on my immaturity, but to be fair, they did asked me back later to develop the new adult training program.  I was even invited to be the District Commissioner (my dream job). But that was after I retired as a scouter, so I declined as a promise to my wife.

Council and district both took risks recruiting me or my ideas and made many changes as a result of my reaching out. But while the professionals higher  than council patiently listened, I never felt my message was received. I was invited on the BSA forum that was created for gathering suggestions to develop the new NYLT issued in 2000. All popular ideas discussed on the forum were ignored.

While there is some frustration here, I can't imagine anyone ignoring an opportunity to have a discussion with a BSA professional. Let me say though,, after working at the district and council levels and talking to hundreds of scouters, I can say that 95% of the reaching out  is just whining about unit problems that would come under adult relations. Very few discussions actually proposed solutions that would help multiple units. Maybe that is why I was so successful. I don't know.

Barry

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

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. 
 

Years ago I went to our UC (who knows me well) and let him know I was willing to help at the district and council level for training. He was ecstatic I was willing to lend my expertise so he sent it up the chain. About 6 months later I approached him again and said I have not heard anything. He told me he sent my info up the chain and was surprised no one got back to me as they are always looking for trainers. Another 6 months go by... nothing. When I saw our UC again I told him I only volunteer twice and then I stop. If they don't want me, I am happy to volunteer where I am appreciated. A week later the district training chair contacted me and asked if I would help with IOLS. One would think that an organization run mostly by volunteers and predicated on training would jump at the chance to have more people to help with training but apparently that wasn't the case. From talking to others, this is not isolated to our district and council but is rather widespread. 

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2 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

One would think that an organization run mostly by volunteers and predicated on training would jump at the chance to have more people to help with training but apparently that wasn't the case. From talking to others, this is not isolated to our district and council but is rather widespread. 

Volunteers are just regular people with regular skills, quirks and bad habits. One of my ideas to reduce Webelos dropouts included using the UCs. I approached the District commissioner (a friend) about my idea and he loved it. But, he said he needed more UCs to accomplish my needs. I asked how many and he said eleven would do it. I handed him a list 3 days later of a eleven volunteers. He never called them. He is a really good guy and a hard working UC commissioner, but he is not a team leader and the idea of managing that many adults terrified him. So, I left him alone to do what he was comfortable doing. 

Sadly, we have to work with what we got. Just have to keep trying. Folks can tell sincerity (authenticity) and will respond if they can.

Barry

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3 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

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?

I don't think that's what humble means. I don't want anyone to show humility, I want them to be humble. Besides, national is so far away that there's no point in my even talking about it. I'd be more interested in council leadership. Unfortunately, given the number of volunteers it takes to run the BSA program it shouldn't be a surprise that there are weak spots in the hierarchy.  Units, districts, council, professionals ... there are difficult people all over. Authenticity and humility would help everywhere.

1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

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

You answered your own question. Much better than sack cloth. Admitting that they don't know all the answers and spending more time listening would be humble. And yes, some people are hard to listen to. Sometimes one needs to dig to find out what's bothering people. Of course, this is all described in woodbadge.

 

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3 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Volunteers are just regular people with regular skills, quirks and bad habits. One of my ideas to reduce Webelos dropouts included using the UCs. I approached the District commissioner (a friend) about my idea and he loved it. But, he said he needed more UCs to accomplish my needs. I asked how many and he said eleven would do it. I handed him a list 3 days later of a eleven volunteers. He never called them. He is a really good guy and a hard working UC commissioner, but he is not a team leader and the idea of managing that many adults terrified him. So, I left him alone to do what he was comfortable doing. 

Sadly, we have to work with what we got. Just have to keep trying. Folks can tell sincerity (authenticity) and will respond if they can.

Barry

By and large, true. 

 

There was the National Safety Chairman with his gold cap and BA in English arguing with a volunteer with two Phds  (microbiology and public health) about BSA's official and illegal dish-washing at Jambo 85.  But what would Dr. Horsfall know - a mere volunteer?  He was only the World's leading authority on E-coli but not "professional."  Guess where the VA. Dept of Health came down.  Of course, BSA had to make it worse first by telling the State it could not "tell BSA what to do" in the presence of an epidemic of E-coli dysentery in Virginia.  Faced with comply or close, the dish-washing was altered to comply with state law, and the Jamboree completed. Over a quarter of a century later, BSA officially changed it's dish-washing process - to what Virginia mandated in 1985, first notice being in Boys' Life.  We had all been given the word in our district long before the Jambo as we found Dr. Horsfall, our District Commissioner, rather convincing.  He went on to run a department at WHO.  He has the son of a President of American Association of Immunologists. A Colonel of an Armored Cavalry Regiment in the first line reserves.   Just a regular guy, if left-handed.  😉

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8 hours 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. 

Gotcha.  I thought all the piling on @David CO was unfair myself. 

Thanks for sharing the context.  Makes sense.  Much appreciated!

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This topic is all about leadership styles and the BSA became the case study we all are discussing.  For the purposes of this topic, the leaders we are and have been discussing are the national leaders of the BSA.  Now, if we want to expand that to include council or even unit leaders - that is fine.  But, in doing so, let's not confuse that subject.  By leader here we are talking about someone who through their role is recognized as the leader of a group, team, or organization.

6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

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.

Respectfully, that's not the point at all.  

Your district chair recognized a problem - people complaining.  He came up with a solution to that problem - get those people an audience with the council Key 3 so that could gripe to them.  That's trying to solve a problem - that's not authentic leadership.  It would be authentic leadership if the Council Key 3 said - hey, I recognize a problem in that we're not connecting with unit leaders and we need to - please District Chair, help us start an effort to better connect with the unit volunteers in your district.  But, I don't think that's what happened.

 

6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

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

[...]

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.

Yes - as stated before.  We are talking leadership styles of leaders.  Not expectations on the volunteers in the program.  They are different.

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6 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

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.

I understand very well what you are saying and am not dismissing it.  

The reason why you don't see more Scouters speaking up and doing something about problems is because it is a generally held notion that nothing will change.  People become disgruntled in their jobs because they feel they feel they are ignored, not valued, and that the lack influence.  This also happens when people feel marginalized.  When these things happens, people tend to retreat to the sphere that they have influence over.  This is what is happening in Scouting today.

Another way to look at authentic leadership is that it is trying to create a culture where the employees feel part of the team.  They know their leaders.  The understand the vision.  They understand the choices.  They trust the leadership.  You see this in companies where this is working well.  In fact, in these cases people often tend to refer to someone in their leadership chain by name.   Why?  Because they identify and trust that person.

We see very little of that in Scouting today.  We see example after example of stories from unit leaders who simply feel disconnected from the leadership, who feel marginalized.

I am in enough meetings where people say similar things to what you have - why don't the unit leaders step up?  Why don't they volunteer?  Why don't they support the district/council?  They don't because they feel disconnected and marginalized by the "institution."  It's easy to say that unit leaders need to stop whining and do more.  However, they don't do more because they don't feel a part of that institution.

You want to change that dynamic, it has to come from above.  The leadership needs to set the tone.

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Changes (and Additional Changes) Coming in the Next Update [MEGA] - Page 5  — Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes Forums

I started this thread to suggest a framework to teach out scouts leadership.   Failed, I have.

 

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Posted (edited)

But didn't Master Yoda also say The greatest teacher, failure is  or was that @Eagledad?

Keep trying doing.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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4 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Changes (and Additional Changes) Coming in the Next Update [MEGA] - Page 5  — Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes Forums

I started this thread to suggest a framework to teach out scouts leadership.   Failed, I have.

 

Please sir, I want more.

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10 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Changes (and Additional Changes) Coming in the Next Update [MEGA] - Page 5  — Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes Forums

I started this thread to suggest a framework to teach out scouts leadership.   Failed, I have.

 

I don't think you failed. I just think it's hard to teach leadership in an organization where the structure completely muddles it. One very useful thing about this discussion is that it has crystalized how dysfunctional the CO structure is. If BSA were well led from the top down, there would be more clarity and accountability on how COs are supposed to operate. But it's impossible to manage up when there is nothing to manage up to because there is little to no accountability in BSA's separate management tiers. Every tier -- from CO to unit to district to council to national -- is operating against its own set of goals and principals. There has been little to no motivation to pull all those tiers into sync. Decades ago when BSA was less market, membership, and advancement driven, the basics of scout law and traditions were enough to keep everyone sort of on the same page. Like so many social institutions, though, we have lost those common threads. If scouts survives bankruptcy, I hope it finally gets some outside leadership that can see these challenges and find a new corporate structure that is more functional. 

 

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Last time i helped district with unit rechartering, one CO refused to sign because it saw it's role solely as supplying a meeting place.   The unit was allowed to recharter.

A troop I was with in the early 80's had a  large Methodist congregation as a  "Charter Partner."  It  signed, but also saw its role  solely as supplying a meeting place.  Then, even that became a sometimes thing: "No place to meet tonight; try next week."   We combined with another troop, all theories aside.  

So, in practice, in that council, not even a convenient lie was required.

 

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1 minute ago, TAHAWK said:

Last time i helped district with unit rechartering, one CO refused to sign because it saw it's role solely as supplying a meeting place.   The unit was allowed to recharter.

A troop I was with in the early 80's had a  large Methodist congregation as a  "Charter Partner."  It  signed, but also saw its role  solely as supplying a meeting place.  Then, even that became a sometimes thing: "No place to meet tonight; try next week."   We combined with another troop, all theories aside.  

So, in practice, in that council, not even a convenient lie was required.

 

It's an inherent conflict of interest. Most of the COs around here are the same. They are legacy COs and believe their responsibility is to provide meeting space and benign support. I know ours doesn't have any real clue that they "own" our unit. 

BSA, through the Councils, has been more focused on retaining units and membership than in building relationships with COs. It's not a priority. Short of egregious circumstances, they usually will not do anything to damage a CO relationship and risk closing a unit. 

This is not to say that there aren't model COs but they aren't necessarily the norm. BSA has described itself as a franchise operation but it doesn't actually manage the organization that way. If you walk into a McDonald's it shouldn't look like a Wendy's, but from this forum we know there are units and councils that are almost unrecognizable to each other. 

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