Category Archives: Youth Leadership

Micromanaging: a bad idea

puppetWe’ve all been there, I’m sure. We’ve worked for, or with, someone who quite figuratively can’t see the forest for the trees. Someone who fusses over every small detail of a project, process or workplace and who directs even the most minute function, whether it’s something he or she knows about or not.

Micromanaging, as it’s come to be known, is the bane of corporate existence. Articles and entire books have been written about the phenomenon and what to do about it. It has even spawned a wildly popular comic strip, Dilbert, in which a typical engineer is tormented daily by his boss with inane orders, processes and obstacles to getting any work done.

Unfortunately, Scouting isn’t exempt from the micromanagers. Continue reading

Stop telling and start guiding

guide_200As adults, we sometimes feel the need to improve the flow in our troops. When this happens, it’s all too easy to tell our Scouts what to do. Have you ever directed the setup of a weekend campout, or stepped in to “help” the boys run their troop meeting?

Should we be doing these things? Continue reading

Servant leadership: Not a new concept

ServantLeadership_200As the Christian world approaches Easter, the scriptures that are read center more and more on Jesus in his final days, as he traveled and taught, working closely with his disciples and followers. A favorite reading at this time of year is the story, written by John the Apostle in his gospel, about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples gathered for the passover meal. (In those days, most travel was on foot, and the roads were dusty, meaning that a day’s labors or journey left one’s feet filthy dirty. Those who were better off had servants to give the evening foot baths.) When one, Simon Peter, protests, Jesus explains that Peter and the others don’t understand why he, the teacher and lord, is doing the work ordinarily done by servants, but soon it becomes clear:

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

Thus we are introduced to one of the earliest recorded examples of servant leadership. Continue reading

Training, advising and assisting

Afghan veterans celebrateFor the past eleven-plus years, the United States military has been engaged in warfare in the mountainous Asian nation of Afghanistan, assisting the Afghan forces in defending against the Taliban. Politics aside, many observers have been looking forward to an end to US involvement. Chiefly among them are families of our fighting men and women, many of whom were Scouts as youth.

Within the last few days, President Obama announced his intention to pursue an accelerated withdrawal of fighting forces from Afghanistan. No longer would American troops be fighting the battles; rather, most will come home, and for those who remain, their role will be one of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces as they engage in combat against their country’s insurgents. Continue reading

“My job is just to ask questions”

Restaurant ImpossibleEvery week, the Food Network runs a show called Restaurant Impossible. In the show, chef Robert Irvine makes a whirlwind two-day visit to a failing restaurant to try to determine why it’s failing and to take corrective action. His designers fix the decor while he fixes not only the kitchen and the menu, but more importantly, the staff and owners as well.

A recent episode had Chef Robert and his crew at a steakhouse which has been losing money for several years. In going over the books, he notices financial discrepancies that could be the result of mismanagement or, worse, theft. Continue reading