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JMHawkins

Citizenship vs Leadership

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Its almost as if you are not a natural leader, you get kicked to the curb with nothing in life to look forward to but to be a follower. I know I have missed something and would like to know what I missed

 

Now, why would someone assume people who are not natural leaders are kicked to the curb? I think the answer is that we're conditioned to think that way these days, but it's bad conditioning we should shake off. It's that sort of thinking (a hallmark of the Cult of Leadership) that drives people to all sorts of dysfunctional behavior in many areas of our society. It caused lots of havoc in a big company I spent many years at. People who were perfectly good, sometimes great, engineers and designers were coerced into taking management/leadership roles they were ill-suited for, didn't enjoy, weren't any good at, but were expected to take on because not being a "leader" was considered fatal to your career. How could someone be worth anything if they weren't a leader, if they just, you know, did their job really, really well and helped the team accomplish objectives? What good is that if you aren't providing "leadership?"

 

Needless to say - well, no, it's not needless, it needs to be said - the results were horrible. Projects slipped, sometimes into disaster and obilivion, because everyone except the newest hires right out of college (who could be "mere followers" for a couple of years without any negative taint) were busy "leading" and nobody (except the new hires who, being new, had the lowest level of actual skill) was working on the project. Argh, what a fiasco.

 

It's members of the Cult of Leadership who don't value followers. Followerss, in some circles, are also known as "valuable members of the community who can be counted on to get things done when needed." Or maybe we could just call them "do-ers." It's the Cult of Leadership who thinks everyone has to be an MBA and sneers (maybe unconsciously, but still) at plumbers and such. But if some space aliens came and kidnapped an entire occupation, I'd sure rather they took the MBAs than the plumbers. No offense to any MBAs out there, but I appreciate running water and flush toliets more than I do business development plans.

 

That's why I like the idea of developing Citizenship instead of Leadership. Done right, we aren't teaching the non-natural leaders to be "followers" but rather "citizens." Citizenship includes leadership, when leadership is needed and you're the right person to provide it. It also includes being responsible for your job when being responsible for your job is what's needed. Another thing citizenship includes is knowing how to be wise in selecting the leaders you will follow. Because, 'following' for the citizen isn't a passive activity - he doesnt' just follow whatever El Jeffe comes along. Citizens choose their leaders. Choose wisely and they are part of a functional, happy, prosperous team. Choose poorly and, well, lots of examples of that these days, eh? Citizenship means you take that choice seriously because it matters. Passively following whoever is declared boss isn't the same thing at all. It's the difference between citizenship and serfdom.

 

One difference between the Patrol Method as Kudu describes it - with natural leaders and multi-aged patrols out tackling challenges - and the Troop Method that carefully manages PORs so every Scout rotates into Leadership positions, is that the former is strong on teaching citizenship, while the later is, unfortunately, better suited to teaching serfdom. Do what you're told, follow the rules, wait for the experience planned for you by your betters, er, I mean leaders... Bah to that, sez I.

 

Now, clearly Kudu stakes out an aggressive position on this issue, and maybe turns off some folks (and frightens off others...), but the general direction is right. Scouting isn't meant to be another classroom where adults "teach" things. Nothing wrong with classroom instruction, but kids already get many, many hours of that in school, and if they want more they can usually get it through sports, or Band, or Drama, or other extra-curricular activities with an adult "coach" who actively manages things. Scouting is best as an environment where youths practice citizenship by being members of a mini-community (their Patrol). Sure, it's a very small community, but remember, they're just learning. There aren't many other opportunities for them to do that these days.

 

Serfs are "kicked to the curb" if they aren't leaders. Citizens remain valuable and respected members of the community. It doesn't take much reflecting to realize that not everyone can be a leader. It's not a matter of their inherent talent - even if everybody was a natural-born leader, we still couldn't have everyone be a leader because someone still has to do the work. "Too many chiefs, not enough indians" is a pretty good (though maybe no longer PC) description of many failed projects. Doesn't even matter how good the chiefs were.

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JMHawkins: Nicely written and agree. I'd love to see scouting emphasize citizenship at a higher level then leadership. And your points are very good.

 

Great statement ... "Citizenship includes leadership, when leadership is needed and you're the right person to provide it. It also includes being responsible for your job when being responsible for your job is what's needed."

 

... "Passively following whoever is declared boss isn't the same thing at all. It's the difference between citizenship and serfdom." ... I've seen several troops that solely focus on leadership development beyond common sense and diminishing the average troop member.

 

...

 

Related... There was something that I really liked when I saw it. The new eagle workbook is called the "Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook". They dropped the word leadership from the title. I liked that as it emphasizes service (part of citizenship) and responsibility. Leadership is still key, but it puts a little more focus back on service and doing a good deed.

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Yah, JMHawkins, yeh put your finger on the thing that was botherin' me from the other thread.

 

Well said. I think the goal we want (and state as our true Aim) is Citizenship, not leadership.

 

I remember one long cycling trip with a bunch of scouts. It had been nearly a week, and the group dynamics were still "storming". Several boys tryin' to be "leader", others goin' off in odd directions.

 

What saved the trip and the group was a young fellow who stepped up and just quietly and firmly took charge of logistics. Not leading so much as just gettin' things done. That allowed other boys to step into other support roles and the leader(s) to refocus. Was it a form of "leadership" on the lad's part? Yah, sure, in some ways I suppose. But what it really amounted to was leading by setting the example that leadership wasn't important, getting things done was. Being a sound follower/citizen.

 

I'm perfectly happy with a lad who is an excellent scribe, and settles in to do that job well for a long haul. I think he perhaps deserves more praise than the fellow who is climbing positions to get to SPL and out.

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Beavah, yes yes.

 

We had a new boy join us (inevitably named "newbie") and his main function seemed to be getting the storming leader types to see the other position and to take turns leading. ("Come on, let Billy lead the hike he's the best navigator. Phil seems strong while don't you let him carry the tent)

 

My function was to not hold them up too much and occasionally, when asked for an opinion, to say "make a decision".

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Well said all. We dont call it citizenship, we call it servant living. The servant life is prioritizing all your actions to better the life of others before yourself. We talk a lot here about servant leadership, but servant leadership is just one aspect of servant living. Servant follow ship is another. Servant living is based from the Scout Oath and Law. The Scout Oath directs and prioritizes our actions (to help other people at all times) and the Scout Law guides how we apply our actions in the moment. Each person in the group serves each other by doing their best to fill a need of the group. The group will benefit best from a Grub Master who serves the group with good food prepared well.

 

I know it sounds kind of complicated, but in reality it is the same as how Citizenship is being applied in this discussion. In fact I think Citizenship is a better title here in the scouting program.

 

Barry

 

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Works for adults as well. I know I am not SM material but a darn good ASM within my limits. If this was the Navy I would be "staff" and not "line".

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The first two slots I fsearch out and fill when I build a team are someone to replace me and a "Radar O'Reilly". In fact we are looking for a new employee at my office now and the description header for that slot is titled Radar O'Reilly. Those folks are very rare.

 

Barry

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I find it difficult to accept the vs. in the title Citizenship and Leadership are one and the same.

 

Stosh

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Ask yourself, who was really running the show at that MASH unit? When Radar left, why was there so much confusion and why was the loss of his leadership so obvious. The person with the least rank of all of them was in fact the thread that held them all together.

 

Stosh

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I find it difficult to accept the vs. in the title Citizenship and Leadership are one and the same.

 

Stosh, the vs. was a reaction to the question OGE asked in the spun thread. What do we do with the kids who aren't in leadership positions?

 

If we think of ourselveses as running a Leadership development program, then it seems we only have two choices - either force rotate everyone into leadership positions, or else kick them to the curb. What's the point of being a follower in a leadership development program, unless you're just pretending to be one while you wait your turn to be the boss? Neither one of those solutions is very good, because there's no place in a leadership development program for non-leaders. It's really sort of a training academy for would-be nobility and subtly disparages people who aren't in positions of authority (i.e the serfs).

 

On the other hand, if we think of ourselves as running a Citizenship development program, we don't have that problem. There's a place for everyone, and it encourages recognizing the value in everyone's contributions and the need for everyone to contribute to the leadership of the group (whether it's by being the leader, choosing the leader, or just giving the leader feedback).

 

So the vs. isn't about the concepts of leadership and citizenship, it'a about where the emphasis is in the program.

 

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Again, JMHawkins wrote a reply much better than I can say it. But I spent the time writing ... so here's my comment.

 

...

 

jblake47 wrote: "I find it difficult to accept the vs. in the title Citizenship and Leadership are one and the same."

 

I can understand but I agree with the topic in that I'd rather see scouting focused on citizenship and stop hearing people say scouting teaches leadership. IMHO, saying scouting teaches leadership is destructive for the same reasons listed by JMHawkins. Leadership should be at the same level as teaching skills, teaching responsibility, teaching being an active member of a group and teaching scouts to get the job done. All aspects of citizenship.

 

...

 

Often, we won't be the most skilled in the current topic. Most of the time, we won't be the documented crowned leader. But 100% of the time we can lead by our example and be an active member of a group trying to accomplish a goal.

 

...

 

JMHawkins: At times I hope national reads some of these posts and reflects on the topics and makes changes. This is one.

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JMHawkins: You are correct but because there is emphasis on the program that promotes management under the guise of leadership that we run into problems. It's not just semantics, it's a misuse of the basic premises. Management means there is a job to be done and there are certain amount of skills that are required to accomplish those jobs/tasks. That is why the badges are for POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY, not Positions of Leadership. There is where the vs. hits the fan. We think we are teaching leadership when in fact we are not. A bully with excellent management skills is nothing more than a really good bully. Like citizenship, leadership requires an awareness of people, not just a job that needs to be done. Just ask any good manager. It is easier just to do it yourself because one knows it will be done right the first time. All this means is that the manager as zero leadership skills! To a manager the job is the #1 priority. To a leader, helping people do the job is the #1 priority.

 

:) as far as Radar is concerned, he was the glue that held the organization together. When he left things fell apart. That is the leadership that I am referring to. The colonel could make the order that everything was to run smoothly, but without the leadership of Radar it just wasn't going to happen. This is the fallacy of not recognizing where the real leadership lies. If a boy is a good manager, but none of the boys will listen and take orders, he is a lousy leader, plain and simple. The PL should be the glue that holds the group together. If a task needs being done by the patrol, the PL has two choices, he can say, "We have a job to do, John, you do this, Pete, you do that, Jim, you do this other thing." when instead he should be saying, "Hey, guys, we got a job to do, c'mon, follow me, let's knock this out before lunch." He gets out front and leads, he doesn't stay behind pushing others to get it done.

 

Citizenship is that awareness that one is part of a larger group, and that if something needs to be done for the welfare of others, one steps up, takes the lead and inspires others to jump in and lend a hand.

 

The example I always use is: A football coach does not play one down of a football game, an orchestra conductor doesn't make one bit of noise in a concert, and the driver's ed. teacher sits in the passenger seat and does not drive the car. But all of them help others be the best they can be. That's leadership! One can have the best team on the field, but if the coach doesn't show up, they are dead in the water. If the conductor doesn't show up, the concert is off regardless of how skilled the individual musicians may be and no one gets in the driver's seat and turns the key without the driver's ed teacher sitting in the passenger seat.

 

I have had excellent older scouts "leading" in my troops, even when they do not have a POR patch on their shirt. Boys look to them for guidance, help etc. and they are ready and willing to help the newbies. Who's leading? the newbie with a POR on his shirt, or the older boy helping him learn leadership? Who's following? Who's leading?

 

If the SM tells the SPL that the camp needs to be set up and the SPL delegates to all the PL's what their task is, and the PL directs his people accordingly, who's really running the show? So much for leadership in a smooth running troop! And what happens if none of them decide to follow the SM? Chaos! :) See it all the time in troops that aren't teaching leadership.

 

Stosh

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In the real world, leadership is over-rated. The person in charge may be a leader or a manager or an administrator. All can still be good citizens. A leader takes care of his people, an administrator has no problem laying them off, a manager is somewhere in the middle.

Social problems arise because contemporary companies say they have "leadership" when they don't even have good managers.

Administrators and managers can be created. WWII proved that when the military turned out 90-day wonders by the dozens. Not every one of them became a Patton, nor did they need to.

 

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