What Is Leadership

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Leadership is the core value of the BLT (Boy Led Troop) culture. The BLT Ops Model provides an excellent way to evaluate a scouts' readiness to lead others. Over the years several analogies have been drawn to these traits whether in the business world or scout leadership.

As adults advising, providing the safety net or as the senior scout leaders mentoring the younger scouts, our responsibility as scout and adult leaders is to search for those small "L" leaders in the troop and eventually guide them into big "L" leadership roles, which is the foundation or what sustains BLT year after year.

Here is a link to a blog entry that describes big "L" and little "L".

BLT is best supported when its leadership practices servant's leadership. Here is a good article on servant's leadership.

To form a definition of leadership for BLT, I believe Stuart Danforth, a Local columnist of the MetroWest Daily News, provides a good definition that we used with our scouts:

"Excellent leading is about giving people the opportunity to do great work. Leadership is a form of stewardship - of the organization, of the people, of the mission, of the vision. It is a protective, engaged activity that shows those who follow the leader that they have the support, resources, direction and dedication of the person leading the way" (Danforth 2008).

Above we described how we developed the definition and perspective for leadership in our scouts. When they practiced leadership, we would also emphasize the below five behaviors.

1) Leadership is not about telling a person what to do. It is about providing your team with the proper tools, training them on those tools and then supporting and serving them as they use the tools.

2) Lead by example is the best method for the Senior Scout to follow becauase "actions speak louder than words." A good way to think of this is that you don’t direct people to do something you have not done or are not willing to do yourself.

3) "Mentoring" and "Empowering" are the primary tools of a leader.

4) Show you care by caring for the needs of your fellow scouts, you as a leader will gain their respect and will be seen as caring. If a scout leader achieves this level of caring for his fellow scouts, motivating the scouts becomes secondary. The scout leader’s simple request now has someone motivated to support that request.

5)“Ask for Help” As a leader, you are constantly being challenged to plan, organize and execute tasks. The best way to have someone take on a task is to ask them for their help. In a calm and relaxed tone, the scout leader should ask his fellow scout for help. This works for the simple fact that no one likes to be told what to do but they do not mind helping out when asked.

Example – A scout forgets his water bottle on a hike. His patrol leader provides him a water bottle because he has planned ahead and brought a spare. Later in the day, a third scout is having difficulty. The patrol leader asks the scout who forgot his water bottle if he would mind helping out his fellow scout having difficulty by carrying his day pack. The scout, who forgot his water bottle gladly and without hesitating, helps out his fellow scout.

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