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Leadership Skills

     Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal advancement in a given situation. Thus the leadership process is a function of the leader, the follower, the goals, and the situation at the time. It is active, exerts influence, requires effort, and is related to goals. The following are a list of Leadership Skills that are excellent tools for use in Scouting activities, a discussion of each skill, and examples of everyday use of the skills. As no one skill is more important than another, they are listed below in random order to emphasize the importance of each one. Click on each skill below to see more info & an Example Scenario.



Knowing And Using The Resources Of The Group

A leader has to depend on what the members of the group can do as well as what the leader can do. In order to use these available resources a leader must know what they are. Find out what they are by observing, by asking the members as well as other leaders. When you are using the resources of the group, others will lead and the program will not be the result of your ideas alone.



As a leader you both get and give information. You must be able to do both of these well. Learn to take notes when there is a lot of detail. Ask questions after giving or receiving instructions. Get feedback to make sure the message gets through. Don't give orders; discuss things that are going to happen. Measure your success in terms of the job getting done and the degree to which instructions are followed. Good communications fosters good morale; poor communications can bring mumbling and dissent.


Understanding The Characteristics And Needs Of The Group And Its Members

When this skill is used properly a leader will give others what they need to grow -- not what the leader thinks they need. Each person has certain strengths and weaknesses. When a leader understands individual needs, everyone benefits. The patrol leaders' council applies this skill since the purpose of the PLC is to plan and run the program of the troop that will meet the needs and desires of the Scouts.



The core of a successful program is planning. A successful Scout-led program comes from planning good troop programs in the Patrol Leaders' Council. It takes a while to develop the ability of the PLC to plan good troop programs, but it is well worth the effort. You cannot achieve Scouting's aims of building character, fostering citizenship and developing fitness, without good plans. The planning process is working when the junior leaders are involved in planning and carrying out the troop's programs.


Controlling Group Performance

The purpose of this skill is to control the performance of a group so that it will be successful in doing its job and to have fun in the process. This means the troop has good meetings, activities, and camping trips. Along the way, the members have fun, are in good spirits, become better Scouts and help to build stronger patrols. Sometimes controlling group performance means you will have to stop behavior that negatively impacts the group, but everyone is happier if the group helps to control itself rather than depend on the leader to do all the controlling. Use the Patrol Leaders' Council to control the troop.


Effective Teaching

This is not a new method of teaching, Scouting has used it since 1910. The difference is today we do not assume that just because we have taught something that Scouts have learned it. The proof lies in what they can DO. If they can do something then you have successfully taught. The key is to actively involve the Scouts in the learning process by giving them choices as to what they can learn, and by checking constantly to see what they have learned. Find out what they know, put them into a situation where they recognize the need to know, then offer them the opportunity to learn. Place the emphasis on the learner, not the teacher.


Representing the Group

This skill is the Patrol Method in action. Patrol leaders take the ideas and problems of the patrol members to the Patrol Leaders' Council (PLC) and then will bring back the decisions of the PLC to the patrol. Success can be measured when each Scout feels he has a part in troop decisions.



Evaluating should be done both during and after every activity. Each activity should have a definite goal with Scouting's Aims and Methods used as the guideline.


Counseling (Listening)

A leader must be able to counsel Scouts in order to help them. Listening is the most important key to counseling. Be careful not to give advice, instead use questions to help the individual arrive at their own solution to the problem. Feel free to give factual information, but cautious about giving advice. A person grows if he is able to think problems through for himself. Be a facilitator, not a manipulator.


Setting the Example

What you are speaks louder than what you say. The old saying "Do as I say, not as I do" will not work. You will lose valuable influence if you do not live up to the standards that you recommend, or the Scout ideals that you teach. This ranges from simple things like wearing a complete uniform to your behavior as an individual. Scouts need a model to follow, their leaders may be the only good example they know.


Sharing Leadership

With the responsibility of leadership goes trust. The effective leader must adjust his leadership style to fit the situation without giving up the responsibility for the welfare of the troop. The secret is to share the leadership, allowing everyone to join and share in the responsibility without giving up the role as a leader.