10 Tips for Being a Good Leader

By | June 18, 2018

[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.


  1. https://www.scouting.org/programs/boy-scouts/patrol-leader/
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

33 thoughts on “10 Tips for Being a Good Leader

  1. Lynn Pitts

    Brig Gen Satterfield, you are bringing a breath of fresh air to leadership and that is obviously appreciated by your readers. Keep up the great works.

    1. Wesley Brown

      Thanks, Lynn. I agree with you that this site is goof for us.

  2. Bill Sanders, Jr.

    Wow, this article certainly took me back a number of years when I was a boy scout in my youth. They never taught us about the ways of leadership; they just expected us to pick it up along the way. This approach, you’ve shown us, is much better.

  3. Eric Coda

    Another good article by Gen Satterfield. Thanks.

  4. Martin Shiell

    Great article today from a list of Boy Scout suggestions on how to be a good leader. More of this is okay with me, so please provide more. I like it because these are the things that I use personally when interacting with kids and young adults. Much appreciated.

  5. Mr. T.J. Asper

    I’ll be using this list later in the week to show my students that good leadership can be summarized in 10 short items. It will be a jumping-off place for my wide-ranging discussion on how leaders can be effective and good at the same time.

  6. Dale Paul Fox

    For a leader, setting the example is paramount to being good at what you do. That is the one I like the best.

  7. Delf A. "Jelly"

    Any morning is a good one with a cup of coffee in my hand, my dog beside me, and a short read on great leadership. Thanks for all of it.

    1. Joe Omerrod

      Too funny. Thanks, Jelly, for making my day.

  8. Drew Dill

    The list is a really good one and one that should be shared. I suspect that whoever in the Boy Scout senior leadership that wrote it, most likely had a military background. You can tell from the list and the explanations of each that it has a US Army flavor to them.

  9. Doug Smith

    Thank you Gen Satterfield for a good post that sparked memories from many years ago and a worthwhile subject.

  10. Anita

    My brother was in the Boy Scouts and I always remember him telling me about their exploits on campouts and hikes. I wanted to be a Boy Scout to experience the fun and excitement. I also realized, much later in life, that they were exercising some of the fundamentals of leadership and everyone was better off for it.

  11. Janna Faulkner

    Ahhhh … a good start to the week by reading about the basics of leadership.

  12. Max Foster

    This list takes me back to a time when, as a Boy Scout, I was the assistant patrol leader and learned a number of important lessons on how to be an effective leader. If you can lead boys, you can be a leader anywhere. Thanks for the post today, Gen Satterfield, I enjoyed it immensely.

  13. Army Captain

    Great, basic post today. Thank you for bringing back good memories from long ago.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Thanks for all the great comments. I learn a lot from them too.

    2. Tomas C. Clooney

      Thank you for your service, Army Captain. Your comments are always on point.

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