[June 18, 2018] Just as I was headed out the door for a camping trip this past weekend with a group of Boy Scouts, I stumbled upon a Scouting.org page that listed ten tips for being a patrol leader. The first thing I thought was how much they paralleled what has been a constant theme here at theLeaderMaker.com on how to be a good leader.
I reproduced them in full below with a link to the actual webpage itself. One that stood out for me was #10, “Ask for help.” For Boy Scouts, this seemed rather obvious but was it really necessary for adult leaders to ask for help? What about senior leaders; should they also be willing to ask for help?
The answer to those questions is “yes” and as it should be. Last week, I addressed this very issue and made the argument that one of the simplest and easiest pieces of advice anyone could give any leader was to ask for help and advice whenever they felt they needed it.
On this recent camping trip, one of our first-year scouts lost $10 from his pocket. It was found right away by one of our Eagle Scouts who turned it in. We waited to see who would come forward to tell us he had lost the money but no one showed up. We tracked it down and I asked what lesson the young scout learned. He said, “Ask for help when you need it.”
Ten Tips for Being a Good Patrol Leader1
|1. Keep Your Word. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.|
|2. Be Fair to All. A good leader shows no favorites. Don’t allow friendships to keep you from being fair to all members of your patrol. Know who likes to do what, and assign duties to patrol members by what they like to do.|
|3. Be a Good Communicator. You don’t need a commanding voice to be a good leader, but you must be willing to step out front with an effective “Let’s go.” A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands what’s going on.|
|4. Be Flexible. Everything doesn’t always go as planned. Be prepared to shift to “plan B” when “plan A” doesn’t work.|
|5. Be Organized. The time you spend planning will be repaid many times over. At patrol meetings, record who agrees to do each task, and fill out the duty roster before going camping.|
|6. Delegate. Some leaders assume that the job will not get done unless they do it themselves. Most people like to be challenged with a task. Empower your patrol members to do things they have never tried.|
|7. Set an Example. The most important thing you can do is lead by example. Whatever you do, your patrol members are likely to do the same. A cheerful attitude can keep everyone’s spirits up.|
|8. Be Consistent. Nothing is more confusing than a leader who is one way one moment and another way a short time later. If your patrol knows what to expect from you, they will more likely respond positively to your leadership.|
|9. Give Praise. The best way to get credit is to give it away. Often a “Nice job” is all the praise necessary to make a Scout feel he is contributing to the efforts of the patrol.|
|10. Ask for Help. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. You have many resources at your disposal. When confronted with a situation you don’t know how to handle, ask someone with more experience for some advice and direction.|