Here are some great leadership tips from my sons’ Boy Scout Leadership Training.
Leadership Tips to Get You Started
There are lots of ways to be a good senior patrol leader. Over time, you will learn many of them. The adult leaders of the troop and the other members of the patrol leaders’ council will help you put effective leadership methods into practice. On your own, you will also figure out much about leading through trial and error.
All of that will take time, of course. The following tips can help you lead the troop right from the start. You may already have used some of them when you were a patrol leader or while you held other offices in the troop. These tips can prove effective in nearly every setting where you are called upon to be a leader:
- Keep your word. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Be fair to all. A good leader shows no favorites. Don’t allow friendships to stand in the way of treating all members of the troop equally. Get to know the interests of troop members and try to assign responsibilities to Scouts according to their strengths.
- Communicate. A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands. You do not need a commanding voice, but you do need to be a good listener. Understanding what the members of the patrol are thinking will help you guide them in the right direction.
- Be flexible. Meetings, campouts, and other patrol events will not always go as planned. Be open to new opportunities, and be willing to shift to a different plan if original expectations change.
- Be organized. Time spent preparing for troop meetings and events will be repaid many times over. Ensure that the troop, scribe keeps accurate notes of the decisions and assignments made by the patrol leaders’ council. Checklists and meeting agendas can be invaluable organizational aids.
- Delegate. Among the greatest strengths of a good leader is the willingness to empower others to accomplish all they can. Most people like to be challenged. They want to be trusted to carry their share of the load. Encourage troop members to do things they can do well and to increase their knowledge and confidence by taking on tasks they have never tried.
- Set the example. Whatever you do, Scouts in the troop are likely to do the same. Lead by example, both while you are in uniform and throughout other parts of your life.
- Be consistent. Nothing is more confusing for a group than a leader who is one way one moment and the opposite a short time later. When the troop members know what to expect from you, they will be more likely to respond positively to your leadership.
- Give praise. Offer honest compliments whenever you can. A simple “Nice job!” can go a long way toward making a Scout feel he is contributing to the advancement of the troop.
- Ask for help. Do not be embarrassed to draw on the many resources available to you. When confronted with a situation you do not know how to handle-or just to get another opinion on a plan that seems to be going well-ask experienced troop leaders for guidance and advice.
- Criticize in private. There will be times when you must provide a Scout with critical feedback. Pull the Scout aside and quietly explain what he is doing wrong. Add a suggestion on how it should be done correctly.
- Have fun. Most of all, have fun learning to be a leader. Your joy and enthusiasm will spread to other Scouts and will help energize the activities of the troop.