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Lisabob

leadership development

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I find myself in agreement with Kudu (gasp) and Beavah, that teaching leadership styles to boys in an abstract classroom setting does not work. I watch this with my own teenage son, who has been to several TLTs and come away from most of them with very little in the way of useful tidbits for how to be a good patrol leader. He has told me that he finds these sessions to be boring and pointless. And I like to think he isn't unusually thick - but it is clear the curriculum for these trainings doesn't do a lot to make him a better leader.

 

His major complaint about senior troop leaders (SPL and ASPLs) is that they don't do much to help struggling patrol leaders because they parrot the gobbledy gook from TLT at him again instead of offering good ideas based on real experience for when times are tough in a patrol.

 

Has my son learned a lot about leadership, and especially about how NOT to lead? Oh sure, but it comes from his experiences and (less than I'd like) from quiet, practical mentoring moments with other boys or the occasional adult.

 

 

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If the SPL and ASPL are parroting gobbledy gook from TLT training, then it came from the person leading the training and not the course. TLT only has a very thin outline of what you should teach - the majority of the course material is made up by the instructor.

 

I have taught TLT several times, and it works for our troop. I focus the boys on what their job is and how they should be working togehter as a team. They really like the Start, Stop, Continue exercise as it gives them a chance to speak up and be heard - even the quietest boys start talking. They also like the discussion about the goods and bads of boy-lead and patrol method.

 

I always say, If you don't tell them - they don't know. In other words, if you never told them what their job was and who they should be working with, how do they know? Should you let them find out through trail and error?

 

TLT should not be a long lecture from the Scoutmaster. It should be an oppportunity to get the boys talking and thinking about how youth leadership works in a troop and what role the adults play in it.

 

TLT provides the basic foundation for their leadership training. The rest they have to learn by doing. Heap on the encouragement and praise when they do something right. Give constructive critisism when they do something wrong.

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Well, I don't know about TLT, but some things at NYLT taught us to not exact lead as much, what I did is mixed what they taught me with what works for me, and my troop. Not every single, patrol, and troop is exactly the same. What worked for one group might not necessarily work for yours. Tell your son he needs to find a balance, take the leadership skills he learned, from TLT, and take the ones he taught himself, or naturally had and find a balance. In NYLT they taught us, once your troop/patrol knows how to do something leave them to do it them selves and watch from the sidelines.

"forming, storming, norming, and performing"

Once your group reaches performing doesn't mean you should just sit and watch, then you as a leader are no longer needed why even have a leader? And there is no fun in it. Going over the troop/patrol with harder tasks in the same area helps them form even once reaching the performing stage. Always stay with your group as a leader or a member you shouldn't be just standing on the sidelines.

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"Once your group reaches performing doesn't mean you should just sit and watch, then you as a leader are no longer needed why even have a leader? And there is no fun in it. Going over the troop/patrol with harder tasks in the same area helps them form even once reaching the performing stage. Always stay with your group as a leader or a member you shouldn't be just standing on the sidelines.

 

Michael you might want to discuss that with a mentor or one of your NYLT faculty. You have some innacuracies in or perhaps misunderstanding of the team dynamic model.

 

As an example as the leader its important to know that forming takes place, and you need to know ways that you can hlepo a team move throughthe storming and norming fazes. You also want to know wwhat causes a group to recylcle to the forming or storming stages BUT it is certainly not something that as a leaderfd you would want to purposely induce.

As a side bar, simply increasing the skill level of a task for a performing team is unlikely to revert back to the forming stage, more likely it would only go to a norming stage until it moved back to a performing one. A group normally only reverts back to a forming stage when a change takes place within the membership of the group.

 

Again, having a local mentor to discuss these things with could be very helpful to you as you practice and apply these concepts.

 

 

 

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Team dynamic models? What defines "forming?"

 

Good grief!

 

I reckon this is what Kudu's talkin' about, eh?

 

The real issue for the PL is "What do I do with Joe who keeps fudging on meal cleanup?"

 

B

 

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Nothing helps a PL or SPL like actual experience! All the classroom learning is great but if they can't make the connection from the classroom training to the actual situation then all was for naught. I have always felt training youth leaders should be done in a "live" environment not a classroom setting. Boys this age don't make the connections well enough to carry the information to the situations. If the training is done in a "live" situation they get to see how to apply things as they happen.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4;10

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Ed did you NEVER have instruction in the work you do outside of the job site....ever?

 

Beavah,

You don't expect a baby to walk the day it is born do you? How about the second day? The third? Hopefully you understand the developmenyt of a child and you you understand the stage the child goes through before you can expect it to walk on its own.

 

Teams are like that, they rarely are able to function well right from the moment that are put together. As a leader it is helpful to understand why that is and know what you can do as the leader to help them learn to walk as a team.

 

This is not classromm gobbilty gook, this is useful stuff and you see it happening all the time you just don't understand what is, what it means in the development of the team, and how as a leader you can affect it.

 

As a scout leader you have this patrol that has been together for two years and is functioning great. Good cooperation among the members balanced skill level, good morale. Then you add a brand new scout to the patrol. You notice a significant drop in the patrols ability to get things done, there are complaints about the scout, the scout is unhappy, scouts in the patrol who normally get along and having disagreements.

 

Some leaders might think initially that the problem is the new scout. Actually there is no "problem" per se. What is happening is team dynamics. The membership of the team has been altered and it is natural for the team to react to that. They are going through a forming and then a storming stage where they are adjusting to this new element. It often leads to disagreements while each person learns to adjust to this new member and the member to his role in the group. There are things you can do as leader to help the team get through this stage easier and get back to being a performing team. But you cannot help if you do not understand what is happening.

 

This is why troops who routinely inject New Scouts into Experienced Patrols commonly complain about not being able to get the patrol method to work well. It's not that the patrol method doesn't work, it is that the leaders do not realize that every time the patrol make-up is altered it will diminish the ability of patrol for a period of time. Then just as the patrol begins to get to the perfoming stage again the troop injects another New Scout and again the teamwork of the patrol is altered and must go through the normal phases of team development again.

 

The real issue of patrol leadersip is not "What to do with Joe who keeps Fudging ion the meal cleanup". Leadership realizes what causes these kinds of issues and takes steps before the situation arises to avoid them.

 

What YOU evidently want is to teach scouts how to react to situations when leadership did not take place. You want the Patrol Leader to know how to MAKE JOE BEHAVE. The BSA is teaching the youth and adult leadership how to get the job done in a way that gets Joe to cooperate fron the beginning and not even have the problem you suggest.

 

Some of this instruction is done in group instruction, but very little of it. Most is done through the coaching and mentoring by trained adult leaders. To fucus on just the group instruction portion is very short sighted.

 

 

 

 

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>>TLT should not be a long lecture from the Scoutmaster. It should be an oppportunity to get the boys talking and thinking about how youth leadership works in a troop and what role the adults play in it.

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Ed did you NEVER have instruction in the work you do outside of the job site....ever?

 

Yes I have Bob. Lots of times. But I am not a 12-17 year old. I have no problem making the connection. I feel boys have that problem if they learn things off-site.

 

I remember one time a couple leaders were sitting under the dining fly discussing the construction of a larger peaked dining fly and we were trying to figure out how tall the peak would be. We asked one of our Scouts for the formula to determine the length of the third side of a triangle and after he told us he asked us "Why do you need that?" We explained what we were doing & he responded "What does geometry have to do with a tarp?" Couldn't make the connection!

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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This is why troops who routinely inject New Scouts into Experienced Patrols commonly complain about not being able to get the patrol method to work well. It's not that the patrol method doesn't work, it is that the leaders do not realize that every time the patrol make-up is altered it will diminish the ability of patrol for a period of time.

 

Yah, this is perhaps an example of Kudu's point about the risks of "management theory" like formin'/stormin'/etc. It may lead adults to a different goal: obtain and maintain a "high ability patrol." If a SM sees his/her role as movin' toward creating such a "performing" patrol, they'll naturally think in terms of startin' with a low-ability patrol (NSP) and movin' 'em up year after year until they "graduate" as a high-ability patrol. Like school. In that setup, it's natural to teach TLT the same every year, I suppose. Each year yeh have a new patrol class that needs it.

 

If our goal really is "performing" patrols, then da best situation is to have only one PL for da whole time, and each member finds his place on the team and gets better and better at his job within the patrol. Specialization.

 

For me personally, a "performing" patrol ain't my goal in Scoutin'. My goal is more individual growth in character and service. So I honestly don't care about da "formin'/stormin'" management theory of industrial work groups, because I'm not tryin' to put together a team that performs well on some task like buildin' an automobile or even runnin' a campout.

 

My goal of character development depends on each boy's role changing over time. Goin' from a novice who is trying to learn by example to an advanced beginner who needs practice to an intermediate who is a good example for da novices and eventually to a supporter and a leader. New lads being added to a patrol are great because they provide ways for the older boys to care for others, and to use what they've learned. And it's great for the younger lads because they have good examples to watch.

 

The growth in character comes not from becoming a high-performing group. It comes from becoming a high-performing person within a broader group - a man who can lead and serve and whom others look up to and hope to be like. That experience can be given to every boy in Scouting. And it has the added bonus of creatin' permanent patrols with long-term loyalty. Rather than "the NSP class of '08" we have da awesome Beavahs of Troop 7 who range from age 85 to 10.5 and who get together and sing "I used to be a Beavah, and a good ol' Beavah, too..." :) Real patrol method.

 

In that case, TLT becomes what Eagledad describes, eh? A supplement done differently each year to give the group a "boost" in a particular area that needs it. Yeh don't have a new "class" comin' up that yeh need to offer TLT 101 to.

 

Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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>>This is why troops who routinely inject New Scouts into Experienced Patrols commonly complain about not being able to get the patrol method to work well. It's not that the patrol method doesn't work, it is that the leaders do not realize that every time the patrol make-up is altered it will diminish the ability of patrol for a period of time.

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As I said, TLT is very dependent on the Scoutmaster. This could be a good or a bad thing. TLT in the hands of a new or untrained Scoutmaster could be taught poorly, like a three-hour-long classroom lecture. If done right, it engages the scouts and allows them to become part of it.

 

For example, in module I - Introduction to Troop Leadership, I start it off with a question posed to the boys, "What parts of the troop organization make it boy-lead?". This gets them thinking and talking right off the bat. I only moderate the discussions that follow and do not lecture or dictate the correct answer. They usually come up with that on their own fairly quickly. I use PowerPoint and only reveal the question at hand. Each slide, or group of slides, follows the TLT outline. I've sat through and given many presentations at work and know all about "death by PowerPoint" - this is not like that.

 

The way I run it, its more like a team meeting - especially during the Stop, Start, Continue Assessment Tool in Module II. I reserve a big chunk of time for that. As I said before the boys get really engaged in it and its no longer a training course then, but a full-fledged PLC meeting. Many good PLC program ideas and decisions about troop policy, which have actually been instituted, have come out of this.

 

I run TLT every time a new PLC is elected, which is twice a year in my troop. I encourge all PLC members to take it, even if they have had it before - mostly because of what I have explained above. Other non-PLC scouts are invited, but don't need to retake. Many boys choose to sign up for it multiple times. I had one boy attend three times - he just likes it.

 

No doubt, boys learn the majority of what they need to know by doing it. But, they have to have some basic knowledge of how the troop works and what is expected of them. Sure, you could throw them in the deep end and let them learn this on their own. But, I believe that takes more time and causes more frustration then if you just sat them down for three hours and led them in meaningful discussions about it. A contractor would not want to run a job site with carpenters who don't know which end of a hammer to hold, or electricians who never wired a box before.

 

Perhaps the people who don't like TLT never figured out how to make it work effectively. As I see it, its a whole lot better then the old course with its outdated videos and games. The only fault I see in TLT is that it too flexible and relies too much on the Scoutmaster.

 

 

 

 

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Nah, Beavah, you are missing the whole point. Many boys develop great growth in character and service without ever stepping into a patrol. That can happen in or out of the patrol method. The Patrol method is all about developing teams and building leaders. Growth in character and service are by-products of a well-run Patrol Method.

 

The way I see it, a Troop can have a framework around which they teach and develope leadership, or they can try to teach boys how to handle each individual scenario as it occurs. The former allows the boys to grow and develop while they are learning to form or be part of a high-performing team, and to be a leader. The latter forces them to learn a few "tricks" to handle specific situations.

 

Take the "Joe keeps ditching clean-up duty" example. If the Troop is using a framework based on the Leadership Development Model and EDGE, the PL finds out if Joe doesn't understand his job or needs help with the skill (EDGE). If that isn't the problem, the PL recognizes his patrol is not at the norming or performing stage - they aren't all focused on the goal. The goal here is being able to prepare, cook and eat a meal and then clean up, within the scheduled time. The PL explains to Joe the need for him to be part of the team and to carry his weight. The patrol can't move on to the next activity until they reach this goal. Maybe the PL pulls the rest of the patrol together to apply a little peer pressure. The PL offers to help do what he can, without just doing the job. It doesn't hurt to have the other Patrols singing "Birds in the Wilderness" while waiting for this Patrol to complete their tasks. The PL makes a mental note to bring this up as a thorn during the thorns & roses session at the campfire that night.

 

Storming is a very tough part of the process for PLs to get through. It is even harder if they don't have a basic understanding of why that is happening, and that they will eventually get to the next level, norming.

 

This framework can be applied to any situation I can think of. It is pretty simple to teach to a PL. When a problem arises, does the Scout in question need help with the skill? If so, provide help using EDGE. If not, keep the patrol focused on the goal of the activity and work on team development. Get everyone involved, ask for their input, make them all feel part of the team, expect them to carry their weight, expect everyone to watch each other's back and lend a hand when needed. While all of this is going on, the individual members are growing in confidence and their skill levels and morale are increasing (what Beavah is looking for).

 

When I first introduced this to the boys, I got some blank looks. We set up a movie night and watched Remember the Titans. I went over the steps (forming, storming, ...) and gave them some examples to look for. I asked them to find other examples as well. We had a great discussion afterwards, and they came up with examples I hadn't remembered! They understood the stages much better, and now we have fun discussing which stage they think their patrols are at. Things are not a bed of roses for us, but they aren't supposed to be.

 

Being part of a Wood Badge staff is a great real life experience of going through these stages. Anyone can see them, as plain as day, if they know what they are looking for. Getting 11 and 12 year olds to understand and use the concept is much more challenging, but it can be done.

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In general the PL's handbook is worthless as a leadership training manual and in particular EDGE training is useles. The concept of Explaining, Demonstrating Guiding and Enabling are all nebulous and almost incomprehensible in differences. Theses EDGE concepts are all participative.

 

The three basic leadership styles are authoritative, Participative and delegate as determined by founding studies in the 1930. Ok now the list is longer with charismatic, servant, Bureaucratic.... and on and on.

 

But the 122 page PL handbook doesn't even discuss leadership styles until page 99. How the heck are you going to get anything out of reading a book on leadership if you have to read through 100 pages of fluff first?

 

Then they talk about running a meetings but never discuss Roberts Rules of order or any significant structure on how to propose a concept (motion) and vote on it.

 

 

Servent Leadersip Critique Stolen from

http://www.leadersdirect.com/critique.html

 You might object "Cannot a leader do both: set challenging new directions and be servant-like?" Consider carefully what it means to be a servant. A servant must be unquestioningly dedicated to serving his master's every whim. If his master wants to be a drug addict, it is the servant's duty to supply any drugs his master requests. A true servant should do precisely what his master requests regardless of whether it is good for his master. Is this a useful metaphor for a leader? Compare this model to that of a coach. A coach is like a sculptor. He has an image of what he wants to create and he will push, challenge and stretch any athlete he is coaching to shape him into the image he wants to see realized. If a leader must challenge the status quo to be a leader, it would not be inconsistent to imagine him challenging individuals also as any good coach would do. But can a servant challenge his master? A servant is essentially a slave and a slave who challenges his master is either a dead slave or a free man - hence no longer a slave. Basically, the point here is that the whole idea of leader-as-servant is conceptually bankrupt

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"The concept of Explaining, Demonstrating Guiding and Enabling are all nebulous and almost incomprehensible in differences. Theses EDGE concepts are all participative."

 

Let me guess - you haven't attended Wood Badge. Used correctly, these steps can be used to teach just about any skill. Used incorrectly, they can lead to a lot of frustation for the student, and the teacher/instructor.

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