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What is leadership

Leadership is the way or process by which a group of people are helped towards achieving an aim. Every good leader seems to have certain abilities, many of which they use without realising they are doing so.

Functions of a leader - Group, Individual and Task

A Patrol Leader (or any leader) he has the responsibility to look after three things – the task, the Group (Patrol/team) and the Individual. Their job is to get the task done in such a way that the Patrol is kept together. This can be achieved by using the talents of each individual scout in the Patrol and, in so doing, they maintain the interest and enthusiasm of all the patrol members. By proper planning everyone understands what has to be done, how it is to be done and how each member of the Patrol can work constructively to achieve this.

Inexperienced leaders tend to focus only on the task at hand, and forget that they will be more efficient (at least in the long run) if they pay more attention to the group and individual.

The Group

  • Commitment to a common goal
  • Loyalty and pride in 'belonging
  • Group must be bound together through participation
  • Individual needs can differ
  • Need for success and a sense of achievement

The Individual

  • Recognise different talents
  • Involve each member of the group
  • Listen to everyone
  • Motivate, praise, guide, help where needed
  • Impart a sense of achievement

The Task

  • Establish objectives - what are we trying to achieve?
  • Plan the whole solution and set priorities. Have an action plan.
  • Organise all resources (equipment, other people) and communicate clearly.
  • Coordinate and control the execution. Support where needed. Follow up, review and replan.
  • Evaluate afterwards - alter the plan

Styles of Leadership

The leader makes the decision and tells the group what to do.

The leader has previously made the decision and then persuades the Group to accept it.

The leader gets suggestions from the Group during the decision-making process, then makes the final decision themself, taking into account the feelings of the Group.

The leader sets the limits, joins in the discussion, allows the Group to make the decision within the limits, and agrees to abide by this decision.

The leader delegates responsibility for decision-making to the Group, who are free to formulate their own plan. The leader accepts and supports the Group's decisions.

The technique used by leaders to adapt their style of leadership to be the most effective in the prevailing circumstances. The best style for a given situation will be determined by factors such as the experience of the group, time constraints, resources, etc. For instance, if a building is on fire, an autocratic style is likely to be most effective, while the same leader may well choose a supervisory style when taking the group to camp. A good leader needs to be able to use every style, to identify the best style to adopt in each situation, and to be equally comfortable with each.

Leadership check-list

The Patrol Leader who wants to ensure that the task, the Patrol and the individual scout are all taken into account can make use of several leadership skills. These skills are summarised in the following check list. They can be applied to any activity, programme or meeting.

The good Patrol Loader should constantly be asking themselves:

In achieving the task…

  • did I explain the task clearly to the Patrol, and establish a common purpose?
  • did I plan for it carefully with the Patrol?
  • did I allocate specific jobs to Patrol members?
  • did I continuously coordinate our efforts and evaluate how it was going?

In working with the Patrol…

  • did I share the leadership with the Patrol; were they fully involved in making and carrying out the plans?
  • did I use all the resources available within the Patrol?
  • did I co-ordinate the Patrol, so that it worked effectively as a team?
  • did I ensure that the Patrol's interests were properly represented when discussing the task with other people?
  • did I get the commitment of the Patrol to the task?
  • did I foster a pride in belonging, using us and we?
  • was the morale and Patrol spirit high?

In encouraging and helping each individual…

  • did I communicate with every member of the Patrol?
  • did I help others to learn new skills, and give help and advice to specific individuals when needed?
  • did I set an example to the Patrol?
  • did everyone have an opportunity to contribute and take part in the task?
  • did I give recognition to individuals for good work and effort?

Nine skills of leadership

In developing the ideas outlined above nine skills are implemented.

  1. Planning
    • What exactly has to be done?
    • What is the aim?
    • What equipment and people are available?
    • What are the possible alternatives?
  2. Evaluating
    • What was our aim; what did we set out to do?
    • Did we achieve what we set out to do? If not, why not?
      • What difficulties did we meet?
      • Could these difficulties be overcome in the future?
      • Can the activity (or similar) be repeated?
      • How can the activity be followed up?
      • Are there any other comments or suggestions?
      • What can we do next?
  3. Sharing the Leadership
    • Did the leader involve the Group in the decision making?
    • Did they retain overall responsibility as leader?
    • Was each member encouraged to make a contribution and participate in discussion?
  4. Resources of the Patrol
    • People: their talents and skills
    • Material - equipment, transport, money
    • Time - always a very precious commodity
  5. Co-ordinate the Patrol
    • Maintain a balance between looking after the needs of the Group, the Individuals, and the set Task.
  6. Representing the Patrol
    • At the Count of Honour
    • Patrol Leader needs a plan of action for before, during and after each meeting
  7. Communication
    • Involve as many or the senses as possible
    • Repeat and restate if necessary
    • Ask questions to ensure understanding
    • Summarize from time to time
  8. Helping others to learn
    • By remembering / copying / discovery / counselling
  9. Setting an example
    • Through personally living the Scout Promise and Law

See also

Leadership links