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Lisabob

leadership development

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Yes FScouter, but I was courteous, kind, and helpful in my response offering not a personal opinion but a local scouting resource that he could turn to for assistance.

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Well, the reason I was asking is there are many definitions of servant leadership & I was interested in what your definition of this term was, Bob.

 

And that post of yours FScouter was not exactly, how do we say it, on topic now was it.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Sorry, but my definition of servant leadership is not a series of skill sets that can be learned as easily as tying shoes and making beds. Servant leadership is not talent to accomplish a task, it is an attitude one has towards the task that needs to be done. The parent that constantly has to remind their child to say "thank you" will eventually teach it to parrot back the right answer regardless of whether or not that child ever learns to be appreciative. Often times I see the BSA training used in this fashion. "If you do this and that, you will get a measurable result thus."

 

However, simply instilling "leadership" skills in a non-caring person can in fact create a overbearing bully, who previously didn't have the appropriate skill sets to manipulate and dominate over those around him.

 

But, the subtle clues provided by BSA go to the heart of this issue. The Scout Law is not a learned skill set, the Oath is not a learned skill set, citizenship is not a learned skill set. One can go through the motions over and over again and eventually teach our boys to say "thank you" on command, but in no way is Scout Spirit a measurable metric that can be held up against a task and ultimately conclude an objective result. The TG that mother-hens his boys around, getting them to the activities of their first camporee, keeps them on task at summer camp challenges and sits in on their first few BOR's so they don't feel overwhelmed are all leadership skills of servant leadership that can't be put into a curriculum syllabus and handed out at a training event.

 

When the new boys begin to care about their patrol and their program as much as their leaders do, then real servant leadership has a chance to take hold. When a new boy tells his PL that his buddy is not happy about something that happened at camp, one begins to see that this boy is now beginning to focus on taking care of someone other than himself and is beginning to assert himself as a servant leader in his own right. If this plays itself out to watching out for all the buddys in his patrol, then one has the resources for next year's NSP PL or eventual TG. What skills are needed? Not many. If caring comes first the desire to learn skills to help others will fall into place rather quickly. If one doesn't have caring first, maybe one had better stick with the parrot-method of teaching.

 

Stosh

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I may not have a good grasp on the term "servant leadership" but I had a Minister scouter explain it to me in these terms

"Like when Jesus washed the feet of the apostles"

 

 

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Stosh, I see your point in that its hard to teach servant leadership to scouts who don't care. But that is not a good reason to throw your hands up and not teach it at all.

 

I have seen one or two scouts in my own troop who I know don't care about the people they lead. This I know by their actions. They are told to call their patrol members to make sure they know about the next campout - only to find out that they didn't and now your are rushing to get the word out. This is the type of poor leader who does not get reelected. So I would think that a true boy-lead troop can self-correct when a non-caring leader gets elected.

 

Scout Oath and Law - Servant Ledership - these are standards that we hold out to the boys in the hopes that they may, by being active scouts, learn to uphold themselves. We don't teach them - we teach the object lesson called scouting. It is the means by which they learn to be responsible people.

 

Perhaps we all learn by parroting first, and then we actually apply it to real-life. Scouting is not real-life, but a sandbox of it - I've heard it called a "safe place". Do the boys who don't care realize this? Is it not real enough for them? Or are they so used to having someone else do everything for them that they don't know how to take only any level of responsibility.

 

 

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Gotta love this...

 

"Stosh, I see your point in that its hard to teach servant leadership to scouts who don't care. But that is not a good reason to throw your hands up and not teach it at all."

 

And where did I indicate that? I said that if the purpose of scouting is to teach leadership, the parrot-method works just fine. Go through the motions, pass out the papers and hope for the best.

 

"I have seen one or two scouts in my own troop who I know don't care about the people they lead. This I know by their actions. They are told to call their patrol members to make sure they know about the next campout - only to find out that they didn't and now your are rushing to get the word out. This is the type of poor leader who does not get reelected. So I would think that a true boy-lead troop can self-correct when a non-caring leader gets elected."

 

Boys will recognize this faster than adults will. And yet it all depends on how much the voters care about getting a good leader as well. Maybe they don't care when they vote either. Or how does the boy develop caring for a patrol that elected him as a joke? One has to understand a lot of group dynamics that interplay in the patrols. That in and of itself is a full-time job. Ever notice that if the PL doesn't call his patrol, the adult will cover and make the calls at the last minute? This is call enabling, not teaching.

 

"Scout Oath and Law - Servant Ledership - these are standards that we hold out to the boys in the hopes that they may, by being active scouts, learn to uphold themselves."

 

This view I totally don't agree with. If we hold out standards and then sit back and hope they take hold, we're not fulfilling out role as adults in the troop. These items are teachable! All of them! If a SM isn't going to make the effort to teach a boy to be trustworthy, then there's something seriously wrong with the way the SM is fulfilling his role as an adult leader. (repeat this process 11 more times and then conclude with a lesson on "On my honor")

 

"We don't teach them - we teach the object lesson called scouting. It is the means by which they learn to be responsible people."

 

No, they don't pick this up by osmosis, they are taught it. In my troop we do teach them, with examples, with object lessons, with whatever means we can, but we teach them.

 

"Perhaps we all learn by parroting first, and then we actually apply it to real-life. Scouting is not real-life, but a sandbox of it - I've heard it called a "safe place". Do the boys who don't care realize this? Is it not real enough for them? Or are they so used to having someone else do everything for them that they don't know how to take only any level of responsibility."

 

Maybe if one were to take scouting seriously and not view it as practice, play time in the sandbox, we would develop real leaders out of these boys. My boys have fun, lots of it, but they take their scouting seriously. They take their responsibilities to their fellow scouts seriously. They take their word seriously. Scouting is real-life, a real-life opportunity to try out their leadership skills, to develop their own self-confidence, to have a safe, but "for real" place to do some real good.

 

Maybe as adults we need to take scouting seriously too.

 

As far as the scout that doesn't care? Well, caring can be taught as well, it may take a little longer than the boy who cares naturally, but it can be taught, especially if the SM cares enough to give it a try. Lead by example.

 

Stosh

 

 

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>>"Stosh, I see your point in that its hard to teach servant leadership to scouts who don't care. But that is not a good reason to throw your hands up and not teach it at all."

 

And where did I indicate that?>Ever notice that if the PL doesn't call his patrol, the adult will cover and make the calls at the last minute? This is call enabling, not teaching.

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>>"Stosh, I see your point in that its hard to teach servant leadership to scouts who don't care. But that is not a good reason to throw your hands up and not teach it at all."

 

And where did I indicate that?>> And so I'll ask the same question: where did I indicate that? I can't help it when others find it necessary to jump to conclusions, or read what isn't written, or point out issues that aren't there. It would be safe to assume (hopefully, I'm not jumping to any conclusions here) If it isn't written, I probably didn't write it. Of course that's just an assumption on my part. If it doesn't sound logical, hopefully everyone can cut me some slack.

 

 

While I dont think you intended it, your words seem to contradict each other over and over.

 

>>> "Seem to" and "do" are two different issues. "Seem to" implies a subjective judgment, "do" is a measurable objective conclusion. They don't seem to to me, but then everyone is entitled to their own opinions and viewpoints.

 

>>Ever notice that if the PL doesn't call his patrol, the adult will cover and make the calls at the last minute? This is call enabling, not teaching.>> But maybe not, I don't think I'm interested in anyone's guesses as to my background. Feel free to ask and then one doesn't have to guess. However, major assumptions and conclusions are being drawn here. Any group dynamics class that says that when bad behavior is covered over with excuses by someone else, doing it for them, etc. are all part of another person's enabling of that bad behavior. If the boys know that if they wait long enough some adult will step in and do it for them, what's the motivation for them to learn? Sorry, but I don't try to assume anything and replace it with observation. One's pop-psychology doesn't work if one doesn't have an understanding of how it all works. One can be assured I didn't get burned on something I understand how it works.

 

But I never see our program in your extreme examples and only occasionally in others. Certainly not enough to suggest a trend.

 

>>> Your milage may vary. Adjust. If my example is more sever than what one's experience, then that's great. If it isn't as sever, one may seek more help than from some guy on the scout forum. Unit Comish's are great for these things. After many of observation, my examples aren't as outlandish as some scouters have unfortunately had to face. I never thought I would ever have to go in and break up a knife fight in a tent. I guess the only thing more sever than that would be if they had guns.

 

 

While I think your explanation of servant leadership is sound, I dont think you have figured yet how to explain it logically.

 

>>> In other words, it makes sense and is sound, but the reader doesn't understand it. That clarifies it for me too.

 

If you read your post, you repeat the same thing over and over, and yet Im not sure anyone could take your advice (is that what it is?) to their program.

 

>>>> a good speaker = 1) tell them what you're going to tell them, 2) tell them and 3 tell them what you told them. But again, there I go with the assumptions once more.

 

Im a big picture guy and generally when I see discussions get confusing and all boggled up, I ask folks to try and sum it all up in one sentence.

 

>>>> well I'm a really big picture guy who has enough discernment to break down issues into solvable pieces and then work out individual solutions for each piece rather than trying to find a general panecea that will fix everything with one pill.

 

Usually then we shuck the discussion down to the cob and have something we can work with.

 

>>> Unless it's the corn you're after, then the cob really doesn't do you much good.

 

So, then let's cut to the chase. If there is something specific one needs further clarification on, feel free to ask about it. But I find it rather tiresome to have posts picked apart by assumptions that have no validity in reality.

 

Stosh

 

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I think I disagree with you on your understanding of Servant Leadersip jblake but I am not sure because I cannot follow the meandering of your pots.

 

here is what I mean.

 

"Sorry, but my definition of servant leadership is not a series of skill sets that can be learned as easily as tying shoes and making beds.

 

What your definition is is irrellevant since the training, resources and program elements of the BSA are not based on your opinions. If we are to have a reasonable discussion we need to be using the BSA's view and not each individual opinion of 1.2 million volunteers.

 

"The parent that constantly has to remind their child to say "thank you" will eventually teach it to parrot back the right answer regardless of whether or not that child ever learns to be appreciative.

 

This is unrelated to the topic since the parent is neither teaching or using servant leadership in this case.

 

"Often times I see the BSA training used in this fashion. "If you do this and that, you will get a measurable result thus."

 

Nowhere does the BSA teach that nor have they at any time in the past 40 years, and doubtfully prior to that.

 

"However, simply instilling "leadership" skills in a non-caring person can in fact create a overbearing bully, who previously didn't have the appropriate skill sets to manipulate and dominate over those around him."

 

An unsupportable and unprovable presumption.

 

The Scout Law is not a learned skill set, the Oath is not a learned skill set,...

 

That is right they are not...they are values and not skills. There is nothing in the BSA that claims them to be skills.

 

One can go through the motions over and over again and eventually teach our boys to say "thank you" on command, but in no way is Scout Spirit a measurable metric that can be held up against a task and ultimately conclude an objective result.

 

Irrelevant, since nothing in that statement is related in any way to the topic of leadership, and nothing in the BSA suggests that the Sout Spirt does that or can do that.

 

"The TG that mother-hens his boys around, getting them to the activities of their first camporee, keeps them on task at summer camp challenges and sits in on their first few BOR's so they don't feel overwhelmed are all leadership skills of servant leadership that can't be put into a curriculum syllabus and handed out at a training event."

 

Those are not leadership elements of servant leadership, those aren't even the responsibilities of a Troop Guide. None of those behaviors are even suggested anywhwere that I am aware of in the BSA. Can you show where any training or resources of the BSa say ANY of those things?

 

"When the new boys begin to care about their patrol and their program as much as their leaders do, then real servant leadership has a chance to take hold......If caring comes first the desire to learn skills to help others will fall into place rather quickly.

 

This is the closest you cam to showing an understanding of a portion of servanyt leadership. You woiuld have been better to just have posted this paragraph alone...minus this next sentence.

 

If one doesn't have caring first, maybe one had better stick with the parrot-method of teaching.

 

Totally unrelated to the topic. Nowhere does the BSA suggest, teach, or support using rote learning for teaching leadership.

 

So much of the post is unrelated to to the topic that it is hard to tell what you understand about servant leadership and how the BSA teaches it and uses it. Based soley on your post it would seem yo have a lot of very strong opinions on a lot of very unrelated things.

 

 

 

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But of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, yours included. Now that we've heard from 3 of them the other 1,199,997 can add theirs at any time. After all that's what forums are for sharing ideas and opinions. If I wanted BSA National Policy and Procedures, I'd be on the phone talking with them.

 

Stosh

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jblake writes: "My boys have fun, lots of it, but they take their scouting seriously. They take their responsibilities to their fellow scouts seriously. They take their word seriously." ... Maybe as adults we need to take scouting seriously too."

 

and

 

"As far as the scout that doesn't care? Well, caring can be taught as well, it may take a little longer than the boy who cares naturally, but it can be taught, especially if the SM cares enough to give it a try. Lead by example."

 

I enjoy reading your posts, but must admit I'm am overwhelmed by your seemingly perfect troop of boys. I marvel at your post that all your boys are caring and committed and take Scouting seriously.

 

Knowing that you may take this next bit as sarcasm, it is not intended to be. You asked if anyone had a specific question to post it. Here are mine. What specifically have you done as far as training and mentoring in your Troop to achieve such success? If you have ever had difficulty with a Scout getting him to care and take responsibility seriously, what did you do to turn that around? All your boys take Scouting seriously - how did you manage that?

 

Also, are you really implying if a SM has less than stellar success in turning around a boy who doesn't care or isn't up to the challenges of leadership, or if we have Scouts that don't take their word or responsibilities seriously, that we somehow don't care and aren't taking Scouting seriously ourselves?

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"I enjoy reading your posts, but must admit I'm am overwhelmed by your seemingly perfect troop of boys."

 

It's not all perfect, but it's a goal everyone in the unit works towards, both adults and boys. Everyone lays out their expectations, everyone has a say-so in the process and if any weight is given to a person's suggestion, it falls towards the boys rather than the adults. Everyone knows that when all is said and done the SM has final veto. But to-date that veto has never been used, threatened or even suggested. The boys if left alone know what is within reasonable boundaries and don't press the issues.

 

"I marvel at your post that all your boys are caring and committed and take Scouting seriously."

 

I'm constantly amazed by the boys who want to take it seriously and do if given the chance. I learned a long time ago to expect miracles one sometimes gets them every now and then.

 

"Knowing that you may take this next bit as sarcasm, it is not intended to be. You asked if anyone had a specific question to post it. Here are mine. What specifically have you done as far as training and mentoring in your Troop to achieve such success?"

 

First of all I work very hard on relationships and team building on the patrol level. Keep everything positive yet serious. The very first taining my PL's got when they took over the three NSP's this year was: "These are your boys, I expect you to take care of them. If you need help, I'm always around." All three of the boys were quiet and reserved. One FC, one Life and one Scout (older but never progressed in rank at all. I was hoping he would step up to the plate. Unfortunately he didn't and has quit the troop. None were "leadership material". I held more faith in them than they did in themselves. 2 of the three are great PL's, the other quit and the patrol immediately elected a member to take over as PL on their own.

 

If you have ever had difficulty with a Scout getting him to care and take responsibility seriously, what did you do to turn that around?

 

My last older boy was "the reason the troop was going down the tubes". He is the former SM's son, he was the "SPL" of 6 boys and didn't want me as a SM. Taking a hard line of caring for the boy, I wouldn't budge from boy-led, patrol-method and he and I had a number of serious toe-to-toe "discussions" about his "former" role as SPL and why he wasn't running the show anymore. I handed each PL a PL handbook, smiled, and said, "Read it, there'll be a quiz next week." This boy flat out said NO. Yet throughout the whole process I always refered to him as Mr. _____. I never raised my voice and I treated him as any other adult in the troop. After all he was one of only two experienced scouts I had. When PL (highest ranking officers in the troop) assignments were handed out, he was offered one and the option to step down to a supportive role of TG if he so chose. He asked what that meant. I told him it would entail supporting the PL's do their job and that he would have to be working closely with me in doing that. I reemphasized he wouldn't be running the show, but would be helping the PL's run their patrols. When he accepted the TG position, it was the first evidence I had that he really did care about something other than himself and his role in the troop. He has developed into a really great kid.

 

Always list the expecations of what the job required and asked them if they were up to the challenge. If they didn't know what the job entailed, they were trained. Every SM minute is a lesson in caring (servant leadership). I did my first one by standing up in front of the boys and didn't put "sign's up" to get their attention. I just waited. Eventually the PL's put sign's up and the boys quieted down. I told them I never use the sign's up signal with my boys, but it was important for them to know what it meant when they are at other scout events. I then told them I didn't think it was appropriate for me to interrupt their conversation by asking them not to interrupt mine. Now when I get up to address them, they all quiet down and/or hushed by their PL's quietly. Respect given is respect returned.

 

All your boys take Scouting seriously - how did you manage that?

 

I think it's because I take it seriously and lead by example really works. A lot of what kids read in adults is the subtle nuances of relationships that many of us ignore. Kids are super-sensitive to the way adults treat them. I guess it all boils down to the Golden Rule in many respects. I address my boys by Mr. and their last name because I expect them to treat me that way. I never talk down to them, never make demands, listen, listen, listen to what they are really saying and never pass negative jugment on them. Always differentiate between the person and the action. Instead of saying "You're wrong" I always answer, "I guess I would have done it this other way." I critique every event, What went right, what went wrong, how are YOU (PL's) going to make it better? Lead by example, if the SM cares about the boys, they will return in like kind. Every time you see something go right, congratulate the boy, and smile and shrug off their mistakes (unless it's a safety issue then reinforce that you care about him and his safety before you yell at him). Sometime during every event find something each boy does right and tell him. Find something each patrol does right and tell them. Find something the troop does right and tell them.

 

Also, are you really implying if a SM has less than stellar success in turning around a boy who doesn't care or isn't up to the challenges of leadership, or if we have Scouts that don't take their word or responsibilities seriously, that we somehow don't care and aren't taking Scouting seriously ourselves?

 

Not at all. There are a lot of SM's that burn out because they do care, and care too much for the success of their troops. They care so much that in many cases they "take over" so as to insure this success. What happens in this situation is that caring is something that has to be a shared endeavor. If the only one caring is the SM he will burn out. Everyone has to care, everyone has to be encouraged to care, both adult and boy. Once this caring (servant leadership) is being passed around it is as contageous as a negative dynamic going through the group. The basics are taught from day one... take care of your buddy. Once they master that process, then it's take care of your patrol members, etc. etc. etc. until they are in the processes of taking care of their small part of the whole troop.

 

After 29 years of scouting at the end of each meeting, activity, outing or whatever, if I can't sit back and say I had fun and it was worth it then I'm starting to burn out. I've burned out on a number of things in my life, but scouting has never been one of them. I really like my boys and what they get accomplished.

 

I'm heading off to camp with 3 patrols of new boys next week and I'm anticipating it to be the most exciting event I have ever had in scouting thus far. Then after a week off I'm going with my Crew to Gettysburg for the big national Civil War event, and that's going to be the most exciting event I have ever had in scouting.

 

I have always believed that I have been very lucky so as to always have the best kids in the world in my troop/crew.

 

Stosh

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Thank you for your very thoughtful answers to my questions jblake. It has certainly given me a better view of your Troop than some of your other posts.

 

One thing you wrote caught my eye:

 

"The very first taining my PL's got when they took over the three NSP's this year was: "These are your boys, I expect you to take care of them. "

 

I read that to mean that the three PLs were not elected by the members of their patrol, but selected by you?

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Yes, you are correct with the idea that the PL's were assigned. What had happened was I inherited a declining troop with 6 boys and I had to get them ready to take on 18 new boys overnight. This meant I spent first few months training, dealing with expectations, making adjustments, and psyching the boys up from a "Our troop is going to shut down" attitude to "in a couple of months we're going to be way too big for what we can handle" attitude. We did a leadership type retreat and talked about the new structure of boy-led, patrol-method and what that was going to mean to them and how boy-led really meant boy-led. They listened to what they could expected from me and I listened to what I could expect from them. Basically 3 boys were excited about the "new" troop and 3 weren't. They liked the adults calling the shots and making the plans and doing the work.

 

The time came for the new boys and 2 PL's and the TG were the three boys excited about the new troop, that left the best possibility left over from the "less than enthusiastic" boys. I left it up to the 3 PL's to figure out their patrols each getting about 6 boys. 2 patrols are doing great. The PL's are going way beyond expectations I had for them at this point. Summer camp, in-site cooking, (patrol shopping for the week this Saturday), and new scout program all lined up. The other PL decided scouts wasn't his thing and took the other older scouts with him. The third patrol took a big hit because all three of the older boys were in that patrol. They had an opportunity to step up and help the new boys. Instead they walked away. Well, the remainder of the patrol, sat down, decided on who the new PL would be and is back up and running with just 3 boys (One boy moved out of the area and his best pal didn't come on his own). They're all new scouts so a small number should be ok for them to handle. They have approached me already to ask for first pick at the Webelos crossover so they can get their numbers up next year and that they had a couple of their buddies from school they were going to ask to join in the meantime. I assured them that that would be an excellent course of action for them. Even the new boys can figure these things out on their own.

 

So at the present time I have 2 assigned PL's and 1 elected.

 

I have put the boys on notice that next year when the Webelos crossover happens we expect to take on 40-60 new boys. Boys that do well this first year will be given a chance to have a patrol of new scouts at that time. They will be assigned from the pool of the best scouts. There should be 5-10 patrols coming out of the Blue/Golds. If I'm not off too much on my math, that leaves just a handful of new scouts left over, but our troop should be big enough to handle populating the troop staff positions. My TG and I will discuss and review the boys at that time and he will make those assignments. If by chance there should be enough older boys to form a patrol of their own and they wish to remain together, they can do so and they will of course elect their PL. Once a patrol is formed, no adult needs to be messing with it. Adults can initiate patrols, but that's all the farther the process goes for them.

 

Stosh

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