Sunday, 4 September 2011


Learning About Leadership

                     Leadership is a process of getting things done through people
Why Leadership?

No, there's more to it than that. Lots more. Usually he is named quarterback because he's already a leader. He's already the kind of guy the other players like to follow.That goes for your Scouting team, too -- your patrol and your troop. In fact, if the patrol and troop are to succeed, you need several leaders. Guys like yourself who want to try "quarterbacking" in Scouting. One of the aims of your local council Junior Leader Training Conference is to show you how to become a better leader. And if the coach is wrong about him, he probably won't stay quarterback very long. If he can't lead the team, he won't have much value even if he can hit a receiver at 40 yards. Because every successful team must have a leader. In most football teams the quarterback is the team leader. Why is that? Is there something magic about the position? Does he automatically become the leader -- the guy who makes the team go -- when he is named quarterback by the coach? Let's begin by being honest about it. This handbook is not going to make you a good leader. You are not going to find 5 or 10 simple rules to follow to become a good leader. If leadership were as easy as that, almost everyone would be a good leader. And you know that most people are not.

Some of these skills you may already have even without knowing it. That's the funny thing about leadership -- a good leader doesn't necessarily know how he does it. He just does what comes naturally and the others follow him. Although he may not know it, he has mastered the skills of leadership. There are no rules for leadership. But there are certain skills that every good leader seems to have. You learned about them at your local council Junior Leader Training Conference and have practiced some of them in your troop at home. This doesn't mean we guarantee that you'll be elected student council president next year. Or that you will be the Super Bowl quarterback 15 years from now or President of the United States in 35 years. But we do guarantee that you can make yourself a much better leader in just a few weeks or months.

Leadership is a process of getting things done through people. The quarterback moves the team toward a touchdown. The senior patrol leader guides the troop to a high rating at the camporee. The mayor gets the people to support new policies to make the city better.
These leaders are getting things done by working through people -- football players, Scouts, and ordinary citizens. They have used the process of leadership to reach certain goals.
Leadership is not a science. So being a leader is an adventure because you can never be sure whether you will reach your goal -- at least this time. The touchdown drive may end in a fumble. The troop may have a bad weekend during the camporee. Or the city's citizens may not be convinced that the mayor's policies are right. So these leaders have to try again, using other methods. But they still use the same process the process of good leadership.
Leadership means responsibility. It's adventure and often fun, but it always means responsibility. The leader is the guy the others look to to get the job done. So don't think your job as a troop leader or a staff member will be just an honor. It's more than that. It means that the other Scouts expect you to take the responsibility of getting the job done. If you lead, they will do the job. If you don't, they may expect you to do the job all by yourself.
That's why it's important that you begin right now to learn what leadership is all about.
Wear your badge of office proudly. It does not automatically make you a good leader. But it identifies you as a Scout who others want to follow -- if you'll let them by showing leadership.
You are searching for the secrets of leadership. Many of them lie locked inside you. As you discover them and practice them, you will join a special group of people-skilled leaders.Good exploring -- both in this handbook and with the groups you will have a chance to lead.
You are not a finished leader. No one ever is, not even a president or prime minister. But you are an explorer of the human mind because now you are going to try to learn how to get things done through people. This is one of the keys to leadership. 

The Tasks of Leadership
In this section, we will consider several common statements about the people who serve in leadership positions throughout our world. After you have read the statement, decide for yourself whether you feel it is true or false and why you think it is.
Here is the first one. True or false?

only people who lead have some kind of leadership job, such as chairman, coach, king.
Leadership, then, is something people do. Some people inherit leadership positions, such as kings, or nobles, or heads of family businesses. Some are elected: chairman, governor, patrol leader. Some are appointed, such as a coach, a city manager, or a den chief. Or they may just happen to be there when a situation arises that demands leadership. A disaster occurs, or a teacher doesn't show up when class begins, or a patrol leader becomes sick on a campout.In other words, you are not a leader because you wear the leader's hat. Or because you wear the patrol leader's insignia on your uniform. You are a leader only when you are getting things done through other people. Do you think that's true? Don't you believe it. It's true that chairmen, coaches, and kings lead, but people who hold no leadership position also lead. And you can find some people who have a leader's title and ought to lead. But they don't. 

Leadership is a gift. If you are born with it, you can lead. If you are not, you can't.
Some people will tell you that. Some really believe it. But it's not so.
Leadership does take skill. Not everyone can learn all the skills of leadership as well as anyone else. But most people can learn some of them -- and thus develop their own potential.
You don't have to be born with leadership. Chances are, you weren't. But you were born with a brain. If you can learn to swim or play checkers or do math, you can learn leadership skills.
How about this statement. True or false?

Leadership Develops
Everyone is somewhere between those ends!Where do you find yourself at this time? Unknowingly, you may be further up the scale than you realize. As a staff member you'll now have the opportunity to find out.Picture a long scale like a yardstick. On the low end, there are no leadership skills. On the other end, there is a complete set of leadership skills.
How Will You Know You are Improving?
Yet you can't keep track of your progress without a guide. You must know and understand what you are trying to learn. This means you have to know what the skills of leadership are.
You learn leadership best by working with groups. That is something like learning swimming best by getting into the water.

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