Leading makes use of many skills….

Controlling Group Performance

George is a senior patrol leader. At a camporee, the troop was packing its gear, getting ready to leave. The equipment was spread out on the ground, and each of the five patrols was assembled around its equipment.

The senior patrol leader was barking out instructions: "Trail Chef Kit — first, the large pot." In turn, each patrol leader would shout to his patrol to come up with the large pot.

Seeing each patrol leader with the large pot in hand, George would bellow out the next order:

"Four aluminum plates in the bottom!" Then each patrol leader would respond, the plates would be found and inserted, and the next command would follow. So it went through the folding of the tents and the storing of all equipment. The task was finally completed, and everything was in its proper place. But long before the job was finished many of the Scouts were horsing around, learning nothing about camp housekeeping or, for that matter, responsibility.

In managing the job this way, George had the task under control but not the troop. He had lost sight of the people while he got the job done. How might he have done it?

At the patrol leaders’ council meeting he should have reminded the patrol leaders of the task of putting away equipment properly. When the time came to do it, he should have been casually observing the patrols as they went about it. Where it was being done quickly and well, he would comment on the good job being done and go on. If he found problems, he would offer to help, give the patrol leader a hand, or perhaps note how it might be done better. If he encountered disagreements about how to do it, he would resolve them.

So we see that control is not being a dictator. Rather, it is using good sense and skill to get the job done and keep the group together. Briefly stated, control consists of:

  • Observing the group.
  • Making instructions fit the situation.
  • Helping where necessary.
  • Examining the completed work.
  • Reacting to the quality of the work.

Your next patrol or troop activity will give you a chance to try this system. How will you know how successful you were? Ask yourself these questions afterward: Did the job get done on time? How do you feel about it? How do your group members feel? Did you help those who needed it? How did others react? Will the group do better because of this experience? Why?

Successful control gets the job done at the right time, at the right place, and in the right way. But more, it encourages the group to do better next time.

"Leading makes use of many skills…." is adapted from Patrol and Troop Leadership, the handbook on leadership development written for Patrol Leaders and published by the Boy Scouts of America in 1972.

Much of the original leadership development material contained in the Handbook, including the eleven skills of leadership, remain at the core of today’s leadership experience in Scouting. Patrol and Troop Leadership covered nine of the skills presented at the Council Junior Leader Training Conference and other leadership development programs in Scouting.

Knowing and Using the Resources of the Group
Setting the Example
Representing the Group
Controlling Group Performance
Sharing Leadership
Effective Teaching

  "Learning About Leadership" is adapted from Patrol and Troop Leadership, the handbook on leadership development written for Patrol Leaders and published by the Boy Scouts of America in 1972. It provides some excellent background and insight into the BSA’s approach to the subject of leadership.
  From 1990 to 1993, the Junior Leader Training Conference program received an intensive review. A new Junior Leader Training Conference Staff Guide was published in 1993. Comments on the 1995 Revisions takes a close-up look at the most recent changes published in the 1995 printing.
  The Troop Leader Development Staff Guide (1974) presented a short history of leadership development and how elements of the White Stag program were incorporated into the leadership development efforts of the BSA in The Historical Background of Leadership Development
  Since the first experimental leadership development courses at Schiff and Philmont in the 1960’s, the National Junior Leader Instructor Camp has set the standards for Junior Leader Training courses in councils across the country. A unique experience in leadership and learning, NJLIC leads the way by providing the most up-to-date training for those junior leaders selected to lead their local council courses.
  Conducting a Council Junior Leader Training Conference. Offered for the first time this year at Philmont, this program covers all aspects of conducting a successful Junior Leader Training Conference. It will be conducted during the Boy Scout Conferences, from June 22-26, 1997.

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Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 9:37 PM on 4-19-97