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My quest for leadership.

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I have been playing with different ideas, activities, presentations -You name it!! For our next Quarterdeck Training, which is coming up near the end of January.

As sometimes happens when I play with this stuff it gets my little grey cells thinking.

The $64,000 question I keep asking myself is "How good a Leader am I?"

I know that I'm a good presenter. I can spend the weekend of the QD Training and the Scouts will have fun and will come away full of ideas.

But as their Skipper, the method that will carry the most weight is my example.

Other than Powder Horn, I have attended just about every BSA training and have presented most of them. So my redoing them seems a bit of a waste.

I think I'm having a problem getting used to dealing with these "Young Adults". Maybe because I have to work a little harder on the Servant Leadership concept.

Bully is a nasty word.But looking back to my time as a Boy Scout Leader, I think I may have been a bit of a tyrant. If a Lad was a member of the Troop my expectation was that he would be there. If he wasn't I was unhappy. I did what I could to try and make sure he was there. Sure I accepted the reasons given for not being there; School plays, sports, illnesses. But I was unhappy. Almost as if part of me was saying "How dare he miss my meetings!" As you can see a lot of it was all about me.

Working with these older Sea Scouts, they are a lot more busy than the Boy Scouts.

In fact they are a lot harder to work with than the adults. Maybe because most of the adults were people I'd hand picked and adults seem a lot easier to contact than a busy teenager?

I know that at times I'm very selfish. But I don't think this is as bad as it sounds!! I know that before I can take care of others I have to take care of me. If I know how I'm doing or feeling I can use that to my advantage or I can make sure that I either avoid situations where my not feeling up to snuff will get in the way or put that feeling to one side.

Sadly it doesn't always work.

When Her Who Must Be Obeyed got sick, a Scout send me a e-mail saying that he wasn't able to something and I replied with a very sarcastic e-mail. I know I hurt his feelings and I did later apologize.

When I look at my being a leader.

I find that I enjoy being a leader. I think that's important.

No one is forcing me to be a leader and I'm free to leave at any time.

At times I do manage to mix up Leadership and Management.

Back when we had the restaurants, I left a lot of the management to my wife. She is good at managing things, but I'm more of a people person so I tended to focus more on leading the people who worked for us, some of them were leaders of teams in charge of specific areas and some were just natural born leaders.

I have read a lot of definitions of leadership.

Again I think it's important to have a good idea what the task is.

I like:

" Leadership is the skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good."

As a Scouter I do believe that leadership is a skill.A skill is a learned or acquired ability. Therefore, leadership is a skill that can be learned and developed by anyone with the appropriate desire coupled with the appropriate actions.

The other part is "Influencing people".

This is the part I have problems with!!


When I think about "Influencing people" I think about power and authority.

Sadly at times I think I'm guilty of leading with power. When I had people working for me I had the ability to force or coerce people to do my will, even if they would choose not to, because of my position and might.

Many times when I read what is posted I can't help but think some Scouter's are trying to lead by "Power".

Authority is different,authority is about getting people to do your will simply because they were asked not directed or demanded to do so.

I really want to be better at leading that way.

As I have been putting together this training I have given some thoughts to what are the traits of a good leader?

Please feel free to tell me if I have missed any or if you think I should delete some:

Honesty, Trustworthiness

Good Role Model



Good Listener

Hold People Accountable

Treat People with Respect

Provide People with Encouragement

Positive & Enthusiastic Attitude

Appreciate People.

It's getting late so I'll finish this later!!





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I think Sun Tzu said it best about 2500 years ago:


"Love your soldiers as your sons and they will follow you into the deepest valleys ,even unto death."


I think a kid has to know that you care for him and want him to be the best person he can be,that expands on your third trait.


I know you've heard this before," the perfect leader is one that when the task is finished the group will say,"We did this ourselves"".



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I would add that a good leader needs to be a good communicator too. Thinking about the people I watch in leadership positions, this seems to be one factor that distinguishes those who I would classify as "good leaders" from those who I would classify as "mediocre" or even "means well but isn't getting there." Poor communications lead to misunderstandings and other problems that sap a potential leader's ability to, well, lead.


Maybe along with that - good leaders need to be able to let go sometimes. Of control, of information, sometimes of their formal role as "leader" (doesn't mean they aren't still leading, they just might not have the title).


All easier said than done though, hmm?




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Here's few more they used to teach us. Number 11 must be new 'cause I don't remember ever hearing it.



Marine Corps Leadership Principles and Traits



1. know yourself and seek self-improvement.

2. be technically and tactically proficient.

3. develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.

4. make sound and timely decisions.

5. set the example.

6. know your Marines and look out for their welfare.

7. keep your Marines informed.

8. seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

9. ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.

10. train your Marines as a team.

11. employ your command in accordance with its capabilities





Marine Corps Leadership Traits




the certainty of proper performance of duty.


creating a favorable impression in carriage, appearance and personalconduct at all times.



the mental quality that recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables a man to proceed in the face of it with calmness and firmness.



ability to make decisions promptly and to announce them in clear, forceful manner.



the mental and physical stamina measured by the ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress and hardship.



the display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duty.



taking action in the absence of orders.




uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles; includes the qualities of truthfulness and honesty.



the ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.



giving reward and punishment according to merits of the case in question. the ability to administer a system of rewards and punishments impartially and consistently.




understanding of a science or an art. the range of one's information, including professional knowledge and an understanding of your marines.




the ability to deal with others without creating offense.



avoidance of providing for one's own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.



the quality of faithfulness to country, the corps, the unit, to one's seniors, subordinates and peers.


I wish Scouting would adopt the traits because I think they are all very good.




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>I wish Scouting would adopt the traits because I think they >are all very good.


...I thought that they had 100 year ago!!















That said, I do agree that much is lost as far as disclipline goes, but as much as we'd like them to behave like well trained marines, we do have to remember that many are also just 11-12 yrs old..and not grown men! We teach them about team work as much as they are willing to learn it...try to give them skills and knowledge to make better decisions..learn how to be leader, etc. but there's only so much that we can do in our "one hour a week".


Sue M.

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It seems that they don't listen, but they do. Our former SPL (a young 14.5 years old Life Scout) sent me an email. He said, "I remember what you taught me in JLT about leadership. Have I done a good job as an SPL? What else can I do to make me a better leader?" I fell off my chair! Another former SPL whispered to me during a PLC (He was asked to be a JASM and thus gets to sit in the back with the scoutmasters). He said, "Sitting back here, now I realized what you have said and taught us."


So ... bottom line ... the four T's will work with them: talk, teach, tutor, and trust them! ... which you have been advising this forum for the past 4 years!


... in addition to the fore-mentioned traits and qualities.



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I get that from people all the time and it's a bit tiring. The Marine Corps has an ugly mission. Innocence is lost 15 seconds after meeting the man with the smokey the bear hat on. You assume an awful lot when you think I want them to act like Marines. You assume I've lost the fact that they are kids. Can you guess my height, weight and zodiac sign too? I'd say you need a little diversity training if you walk around with that many preconceived notions. All of us don't drag our knuckles.

99.9% of these kids are never going to be Marines.

Nor do I ever expect any of them to act like Marines except when:


They put their patrol before themselves.


They would do all within their power to help someone in dire straights.


They put forth maximum effort to improve themselves and their nation.


They look out for and defend those that are weak.


The 'Corps leadership traits are for leaders. I've always thought the Scout oath and law were for personal virtue, the traits (and this entire thread for that matter) focus on leadership.


I would also add that a patrol leader should love his charges as his sons. A effective leader's job is to care for his people. Mission first, men always.



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I'd say you need to work on that "tact" trait, after reading your response to Sue M. A little over the top, eh? I'd say you are putting an awful lot of words in her mouth, and are assuming a lot about any preconceived notions. I thought her post was completely innocent of any of your charges.


Now, as far as your traits - do the boys administer justice and punishment in your unit? If so, what kind of punishments? What excercises are you employing to teach your boys endurance to withstand pain, fatigue, stress and hardship? And you expect a 13 year old PL to treat the boys in his patrol as if they were his sons? Now, I would like to see how that is taught!

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