“If you want something done right, do it yourself”. Things are easier that way, but it’s not really Scouting is it?
As a Patrol Leader, I knew what I wanted; it was easier to do everything myself rather than explaining it to everyone else.
At first I felt successful. My Patrol was getting stuff done, going places, and starting to look like the best Patrol in the Troop.
However, when I started reading about how a Patrol should operate, I realized that my Patrol wasn’t really doing anything – it was just me!
Without delegation it wasn’t really a Patrol at all, it was a one-man-show.
In the first article in this series I wrote about “the third option”, delegation, as the way a true team works. The whole idea of a Patrol is built on the Patrol Leader delegating everything, from big responsibilities to little tasks.
It starts with the Patrol Leader asking himself “What needs to be done?” Scouting is active, not passive: so there is always something to do. Scouts are always moving forward (and having a lot of fun doing it!). There may be a competition to win, a camp out to plan, a service project to complete, a game to play, or chores to be done – there is always something happening!
Break big things down into little things necessary to make it a success. Suppose there is a camping trip to plan. That means there is a menu to plan, food to buy and pack, duty rosters to be make; games and activities to be prepared.
Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write down all the individual tasks. It’ll probably look something like this:
Once you have a list of things that need to be done, determine which Patrol member best fits each task. You may need to assign more than one Scout to a big task, or a couple of smaller tasks to a single Scout.
Consider the specific responsibilities you have assigned to each patrol member; your Patrol’s Chief Cook could be in charge of developing the menu; your Assistant Patrol Leader can work out a fair duty roster. (If you haven’t read my series on patrol jobs here’s the first article.)
Once you delegate something, don’t be like Bill, the ‘micro-manager’. Be sure your expectations are clear, then let the Patrol member complete the task in the best way he sees fit. If he’s making progress, don’t constantly interfere, even if he’s doing it in a way that you don’t think is best.
When you delegate, you’ve given someone real responsibility, not just orders. Respect that responsibility, just as you want your responsibility of Patrol Leader respected.
This doesn’t mean it’s ‘not your problem’ anymore. You remain ultimately responsible for everything your Patrol does. When you delegate, you simply extend that responsibility to the members of your team. Support them! If they have questions, do your best to answer them. Do all you can to clear obstacles out of their way.
Being a good leader takes a lot of practice! Set a goal in your mind to do a better job of delegating during each new meeting and camping trip.
If you ask your Patrol “What needs to be done?” how would they answer? Leave a comment below!