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Bob White

A presentation on the 4 Styles of Leadership

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Greetings everyone,

I hope you will take part in a unique discussion format. Eamonn, OGE, MK9750 and I would like to present a series of posts on the 4 Styles of Leadership.

These techniques are taught in the new Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training, and in Wood Badge for the 21st Century. They were developed over the years as Situational Management by Kenneth Blanchard Ph.D. and can be found in a very compact book called Leadership and the One-Minute Manager.


In Scouting, all leadership has two purposes. Think of them as counterweights on a scale, and your job is to keep the scale in balance. The two elements are Get the Job Done and Keep the group Together. Whether your goal is to teach a skill, get noisy scouts to quiet down after lights out, or plan a duty roster, you want the task to be completed but you also want to do it in a positive way that will make the person or persons you are leading to want and repeat the proper behavior.


The Four Styles we are going to present are






We ask that you wait for all four of us to post and then feel free to ask questions, or offer situations that have flustered you and you want to learn how to use the styles to correct the problem. Remember that these styles can be used with groups or individuals depending on..The knowledge level or skill level of the person(s) being lead, and the situation surrounding the event. We hope to demonstrate this in our stories.


Like Marley in A Christmas Carol, I am here to tell you of 3 more sprits that will visit you. MK9750 will go first and instruct about Coaching, OGE will go next and help you understand Supporting, I have asked Eamonn to discuss Delegating, and I will wrap it up by telling you about Directing.


Keep in mind as you read these posts that these skills are not just for adults, these are the skills that Scoutmasters are supposed to be training Junior Leaders to use with the scouts, and teach the scouts to use with each other.


I hope you enjoy this. MK950Your up!


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Duty Roster.


The patrol is preparing to go to a weekend troop camporee. The Patrol Leader is meeting with his patrol to make the duty roster.

All the patrol members are looking forward to this camp.

Before the troop meeting the SPL,had a quick word with the Patrol Leaders. He made sure that they had all the information, that they needed and had agreed upon at the last Patrol Leaders Council Meeting. This information included the program and the activities for the weekend along with the times for the events.

As the Patrol Leader looks over the copies he sees that there are some areas that will need his attention, and that there are others that he can delegate.

The Patrol Quartermaster, has been on the job for the past four Camp Outs, and even though he did forget the tarps for the first camp out, he has done an outstanding job.

The meeting starts, with the Patrol Leader going over the roster.

When they come to the Quartermaster, our Patrol Leader is happy to ask him to take care of the Patrol equipment for the weekend.

He is aware that the Quartermaster has the Patrol equipment list. the menu, and a copy of the program. He knows that the Quartermaster will read these and make sure that everything is ship shape for the weekend.

What our Patrol Leader has done is used the Delegating Skill Of Leadership.

He has given the job, to someone he knows can do the job.

The Quartermaster, has all the tools that he needs to do the job. He has the the list of patrol equipment,menu and the program. He will go over these making sure that everything is there and adding to it if he sees that there is a need. He may see that the patrol is using a Dutch Oven, these are not on the Patrol Equipment list. So he will go to the Troop Quartermaster and ask for what is needed.

He is now an empowered team member. Not only doing the job that he was asked; he is able to make decisions for the patrol on behalf of the patrol.

Our Patrol Leader is happy in the knowledge that this is one area that he does not have to worry about. The job will get done.

As he goes through the roster, our Patrol Leader will use his knowledge of the skills and weaknesses of each Scout in certain areas to know when and where to best use that Patrol member.

He may want to use his APL,to take charge of the area clean up, just before they leave camp.

Again he knows that he can delegate this to the APL, safe in the knowledge that the job will be done and done well. Or he may want to have the best cook in the patrol be the head cook for the main meal of of the weekend.

It is important to note that Delegating will only work when the Leader is willing to share control, and is willing to let go, in order that others can get going.

In order for this to work the Leader has to ensure that the team member has all the information and access to all the resources, along with autonomy to make decisions, within predetermined limits.


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Supportive Style of Leadership


Bob, as the Patrol Leader of the Screaming Eagle patrol has to compile a menu for the upcoming Camporee. He could set the menu himself and not solicit any input from his patrol, but he knows instinctively that would be wrong. At the next patrol meeting Bob asks the patrol what the group would like to have on its menu. Some boys immediately yell out their own favorite foods while the more shy either dont talk or merely murmur an answer, impossible to hear over the cacophony. Bob raises his sign and settles the group down, Charlie, the grub master, offers to write down the menu and Bob concurs, thanking Charlie in a voice all can hear. Bob asks each boy what he would like to see on the menu, with the shy boys as much a contributor as the more raucous. Bob thanks each boy for his suggestion. One of the more quiet kids, Mortimer, suggests making donuts in a Dutch oven, seems he saw such a demonstration at summer camp and wants to try it. Bob asks the boy how its done, as Mort explains the process, Bob can see the patrols interests grow, Bob then asks who wants Mort to be the official doughnut maker for the patrol. With a unanimous cheer, Mort gets the job. Breakfast will be more than just doughnuts, but this will be dessert The boy grins, hardly anyone listens to him and promises the patrol the best doughnuts a Dutch oven can provide. Bob tells him he cant wait to taste one and is glad Mort brought up the idea. The rest of the patrol also all tell Mort they cant wait either.


Another boy, Rashan, a Hindu, says his religious beliefs dictate he must follow a strict vegetarian diet. The boys come up with alternate food items so Rashans dietary restrictions are followed, but the boys are still eating what they want. Bob suggests Rashan make an authentic Indian rice dish with curry and full seasoning if the patrol wants him to . The rest of the patrol says that is a great idea. Rashan is excited, and promises the best rice dish the boys have ever seen. Bob thanks the boys for so quickly handling Rashans food issue. Charlie goes over the menu to be sure every meal is accounted for and everyone likes he items listed, Charlie does all of the talking, Bob thanks him.


Bob asks who needs shopping for food as a rank requirement, Frank, a newer member of the patrol says he does. Charlie quickly says he will help Frank and all Bob does is nod and thanks Charlie for stepping in to help without being asked. Rashan says he needs to be the Patrol Cook, but has a problem with the requirement, after a whispered conversation Bob announces to the group Rashan wants to be patrol cook, but cant prepare meat as it would be against his religious principles. Fred, the most accomplished cook in the patrol, says he will help with the meat dishes, Bob thanks Fred, Rashan looks relieved and the matter is closed.


Bob thanks Mort for the idea of Dutch oven doughnuts

Bob Thanks Charlie for writing every thing down

Bob thanks Rashan for wanting to do the rice dish

Bob congratulates Charlie for stepping up to help Frank

Bob thanks the whole patrol for working around Rashans dietary restrictions

Bob thanks Fred for helping out with the cooking

Bob thanks the patrol for getting every thing done


In completing the task of Menu planning Bob


A. Involved others in the Decision Making Process

B. Encouraged Participation

C. Valued Differences

D. Shared Leadership

E. Acknowledged and Praised Contributions

F. Built relationships


Bob's job now is to be near enough to evaluate the patrols performance so that if needed he can step in if things get off track and help the individuals make good decisions to get the task back


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Directing Style of Leadership


Directing is the most often used and the least often needed style of leadership.

Directing is telling. In Directing the leaders gives specific instructions and closely supervises the task instructions.


A Leader using a Directing style does not ask others for input, does not consider alternatives, and offers little or no positive reinforcement. The most practical and correct use for Directing is in the area of safety. A Lifeguard directs the activities of a pool or water front. They closely supervise all activities and in the case of a safety hazard or emergency tells others what to do and watches to make sure their directions are followed.


In almost all cases directing is paired with punishment. Behave or get out of the pool, do what you are told or go to your room. All other styles of leadership give the scout the goal of the task and allows the scout self-determined ways to achieve it. In directing, the scout is has no personal choices and can only succeed by doing exactly what another person has decided. When used improperly or consistently Directing breeds contempt if not apathy toward the leader.


Directing is also used when strict time constructions exist. When a parent tells a child to grab you coat and lunch and get to the bus stop the bus is coming down the street (sound familiar) that is directing leadership.


Directing should only be used when other styles of leadership are not feasible. But as I say, it is the most common one used by scouts because it is the most common one used by adults. Take something like the menu planning we have discussed All to often the PL tells the patrol members what the duty roster is rather that delegate to those capable of independent work, supporting others and coaching a few. So duty rosters need never involve Directing.


Another example is something as simple as retrieving a tent from quartermaster. If the PL is told another tent is needed he could Delegate the task to the patrol quarter master (if they have one) , he could Support by asking the scout if he knew where the tents were, have the scout tell him, agree with the response or suggest an alternative, and have the scout let him know when the tent was obtained. He could Coach by saying why dont I go with you and we can find the tent together.

Since all other leadership style options are available, the last thing the PL should say is Bob go get a tent from QM its on the third shelf on the right.


Telling is the last resort of leader and should be reserved for safety situations or when no other leadership styles are an option.


Bob White


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In the interest of time and with apologies to MK9750 I will print Mk's story that he sent me to review for his post in his absence. Mk I'm sure will be available soon for your questions.


From the Desk of MK9750


The Coaching Leadership Style


We have a Scout in our Troop who has Downs Syndrome. His father commented when he joined that his son was here for the camaraderie and association with regular boys, and that the "real Scouting stuff" wasn't important. We accepted Mike and his dad's position.


Two years ago, we finally got Mike to summer camp. Mike was a requirement

or two away from Tenderfoot. He earned Indian Lore and Swimming MBs, and in doing so, got a renewed interest in advancing. We asked a scout named Matt to lead Mike toward First Class.


At first, Matt balked. "I can't work with Mike, I don't know how to work with a guy like that!" At first, he struggled. Mike's attention span isn't what Matt needed it to be successful the way he was going about it. So he asked my oldest son, another Matt, to help out.


They started on Tenderfoot 1st Aid requirements. My son showed Matt how to work with Mike's ability for rote memorization to an advantage.


One night, before a meeting, I walked into the meeting hall to find Matt and Mike working on 1st Aid requirements. Matt would ask, "Tell me the signs of

a heart attack". Mike would start, and falter. Matt, very patiently, considering the circumstances, pressed on. "You've already gotten nausea,

do you know what that means?" He'd explain it to Mike in a way that allowed

Mike to remember nausea by something funny, like Matt pretending to throw up. Once he got that, he coached him until he came up with chest pains radiating toward the shoulders. He'd get Mike to make some type of finger wiggly motion that made Mike laugh, but he was able to remember. After he had that down, he'd go back to nausea, and get that and chest pain together.


Then onto the next symptom, then the next. The process took about 4 weeks all together, with a lot of starting over. But eventually, Mike was able to demonstrate to the guys in his Patrol all of the signs of a heart attack, using very interesting motions and signs.


Mike made Tenderfoot a couple weeks after that, and the two have been working on 2nd Class over the last year. Most of the requirements are covered the same way: Matt finding a way to get Mike to say it, developing some memory trigger, and putting everything together into learning the skill.

After each skill is passed, Mike always asks the SPL if he can demo his new skill. These have become major events in our Troop, and more than one guy has asked Mike if he's going to be presenting anything that night. And that attention has spurred Mike on.


And something has happened to Matt, too. The guy who always wanted to be a car salesman (actually, that always made sense to us!) now thinks he might want to go into special education. Turns out he's pretty good at working with Mike.


There is absolutely no way Matt could have been successful with Mike if he didnt utilize a coaching style. Matt stayed hands on with Mike as he learned and practiced the skill. This was needed not because of Mikes personal challenges but because it is the most effective way to learn and retain new information. While working on requirements, Matt asked Mike to describe what he knew. Matt encouraged Mike to go further, and helped him retain what he discovered. He further cemented Mike's knowledge of the subject by providing positive feedback after every success. These are the elements of a "coaching" style of leadership.





I want to thank all the scouters who contributed to this explaination of the 4 Styles of Leadership. Everyone did a very good job.


We all wanted to show that there are others ways to lead than bossing others around whether the leader or the followers are adults or youth.


Leadership is more than getting people to do what you want them to do. It is learning how to motivate groups and individuals based on their abilities and the conditions of the task, to work together to reach a common goal. Good leadership looks for ways to develop others, maintain moral, recocognize strengths and compensate for weaknesses.


What are the leadership challenges you face? How can we help?


Bob White

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Thanks for posting for me. I had my contribution at work, and could not retrieve it from home. As a matter of fact, this past week was the first time I've ever been on the site from home. Usually, I take a few minutes before and after work, and during lunch, to check things out.


OGE, Eamonn, and Bob, nice job gentlemen. I hope these will be helpful!



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When it comes to leadership styles in scouting, there sure seems to be an awful lot of directing, a little delegating, and not very much coaching or supporting. Is the teaching of these leadership styles in SM and WB an addition that only appeared in the most current versions? Is the teaching of these leadership styles included in JLT?

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The styles of leadership have been taught in Woodbadge for many years under different names. In Wood Badge for the 21st Century they were crystalized as "situational management" They are part of the Scoutmaster/Asst. Scoutmaster Leader Specifc Training. I know that they were taught in our council's JLT for a long time and this year were presented as they are in the SM training course.


Bob White

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Our council stresses the 11 skills of leadership (resources of the group, communications, needs and characteristics of the group, effective teaching, evaluating, counseling, sharing leadership, planning, controlling the group and setting the example).


Under "sharing leadership" they mention five styles of leadership: telling, persuading, consulting, delegating and joining. One could equate telling to directing, consulting to coaching and of course delegating to delegating! Persuading is a form of selling. The leader makes a decision and then sells it to the group (a favorite SM technique). Joining is when the leader steps down so to speak and agrees to live by the groups decision. However, he does work to build a consensus.

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Greetings, Guru's :)


So what do you do with a patrol made up of one know-it-all with delusions of granduer, one guy who weeps at the drop of a hat, one who thinks everything is about lashing skills to the exclusion of all else, one who is horribly shy, and one who really doesn't want to be there but had nowhere else to go?


By the way, I'm talking about a Wood Badge patrol in the old course.


The coach counselor walked into the campsite to do their first session and was informed that they would "get to him later." They were busy trying to figure out how to lash a catapult.



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Sounds like beavers to me. Bears would never act like that! (heh, heh)

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In situational management as taught in the new Woodbadge for the 21st Century and SM Leader Specifc Training "Joining" was dropped. The reason is the leader is always a part of the group and with the exception of "Directing" should always be open to the groups input. But the leader never gives up responsibility to the group, because getting the job done is his responsibility. You can share authority but not responsibility.


DS A great question and a typical leadership situation. I will ask each of the other three to share how their particular style would be incorporated and for which scout.


As for "directing" style. Telling people what to do, in what is already a low moral situation, is not going to gain any cooperation or improve the cohesiveness of the group. So I would put it aside unless I saw a dangerous act about to take place. Only then would I resort to telling. This is a scenario that lends itself well to situational managers. Now the question is who do you coach, who do you support and who do you delegate to?


While our writing staff forms their responses it would be good to hear from other posters as well.


Bob White

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Okey Dokey.

Let me see if I have this right.

We have a patrol, that is running very late and are not ready for the next activity.

At this time I will go with the idea that there are six members in the patrol.

One fellow is shy. One is very unsure of himself.

One just does not want to be there, and one is an expert on knots and lashings.

Why they decided to build the catapult at this time ? And who made the decision? We don't have that information.

However going with what we know.

The Patrol leader needs to step in and explain that the catapult building will need to be put on hold; at least for now.

It does seem that this catapult is very important to the Lashing Expert.

Our Patrol Leader takes him to one side and explains, that while they have to move on to the next activity, he would like to go over the program and see when there will be time to complete the catapult. He asks the Lashing Expert, how much time will it take. Together they look at the program and find a time slot, that will work out for everyone.

The Patrol Leader, finds out how many people it will take to get the job done in the time slot available, asking for input from the Lashing Expert.

He then delegates the job of making sure that all the needed ropes and spars are on hand, for when they do have the time, in order to ensure that when they do make a start on completing the catapult it will get done.

He also asks the Lashing Expert, if he would be willing to take charge of this project, and if he would be willing to take one of the other patrol members under his wing,and have them help on the project.

He also asks the APL, to take charge of getting the other Patrol members to be where they are meant to be, in order to start the next activity.

He explains, where they are to be and what they are meant to be doing.

Our Patrol Leader is also ready and willing to recognize the APL, for doing such a good job of getting the patrol to where they were going. And will, when the catapult recognize the Lashing Expert on a job well done.

The Patrol leader has used the Delegating style of leadership to get the patrol back on track, doing what they were meant to be doing.

He has delegated the building of the catapult, and maybe the teaching of the odd lashing to our Lashing Expert.

If he was really clever,he might have asked the cook to give the coach counselor a nice cup of Earl Grey.

But that might be a bit over the top.


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As the PL, I would use the divide and win over tactic. For the sake of the discussion, I am going to assume the APL is the know - it - all.


My first act would be to pull everyone together and begin asking questions that would lead to the group deciding as a unit to put aside the catapualt project in favor of the things that are scheduled.


"Mr. Lashing, it's certainly true that pioneering is a very valuable part of the skills Scouts must have. I'm glad you want to share those skills."


"Yes Mr. PL, if lashing needs done, I'm your guy!"


"Great Lash! I knew I could count on you. What I'd like to hope is that you see that pioneering isn't the ONLY thing we do in Scouts. Wouldn't you agree that Scouting has so much more than knots alone?"


"Well... yeah, I guess Mr. PL. It's just..."


Oh yeah, I know, they're fun. And I'll bet if you and I put our heads together, we could come up with a program during free time to show all these other guys how fun it is, too. But did you see your agenda for the weekend? What does it say we're supposed to be doing now?"


"Well, we're supposed to be at some stupid lecture about styles of leadership. I don't want to go to that, it's a waste of time!"


As the rest of the group starts heading for the mess hall, where the presentation will be, Mr. Lashing and I hang back a bit.


"Well, Lash, let's think about that. Are you interested in putting together your program to teach lashings? Well, remember that one of your 'students' is shy, one doesn't want to be here, and the other, MR. APL, thinks he knows everything already. Think that's going to be a tough bunch to teach?"


"Well, yeah, I guess so." says Mr. Lashing.


"What skills might come in handy to make your job teaching them pioneering?"


"I don't know, what?"


"Well, I think during the program we need to get to, like in 2 minutes, you're going to get some insight on how to handle situations like you're going to be in. Do you think that if they cover this, it might make your job easier?"


"Sure! That Mr. APL is going to be a real problem! I can use anything I can to get him under control. He's a real..."


"Whoa! Wait a minute! Now come on, haven't you ever heard the saying 'It's takes all kinds to make a world'? Well, we all have our indiosyncracies, don't we? For instance, wouldn't you say I talk too much?"


"You betcha!"


"Yeah, all my friends on the Scouter forum I go on say my posts are the longest there. But even so, am I that bad a guy?"


"No, not really."


"Do you think maybe Mr. APL might have some redeeming qualities?"


"Well, sure. He's a real go getter. Wants everything done right. I can respect that."


"I think you'll find, Lash, that if we go to the presentation, that we now have 1 minute to get to, you'll find a great way to harness Mr. APL and use his strong points. Want to give it a shot? come on, let's roll."


As soon as oppurtunities arose to deal with the others in the Patrol, each of them could be handled using this coaching technique. I could go on and continue with the examples, but as Lash says, I talk too much.


Thanks for the chance to share my views. I hope in some small way, they are useful.




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