Don’t sabotage the boys, or yourself

A recent article by reinvention guru Jim Mathis got me to thinking about how often we sabotage ourselves and those we lead by a tendency to be a control freak.

You all know what I’m talking about. You find it necessary to keep your finger on every aspect, every decision, and every process, and you find it easier just to do a task yourself than let someone else do it. Maybe you’re a control freak and can’t stand to let someone else have authority. Maybe you are uncomfortable if it isn’t done right now so you do it yourself to save the anguish.

What’s worse is when we get impatient with the boys. They aren’t meeting your adult expectations in a variety of ways: troop meetings appear out of control, things aren’t getting done at PLC meetings, the campsite is a mess or the meals aren’t getting cooked promptly or correctly, and you feel the urge to jump in and rescue them.

To quote Bob Newhart in a SNL sketch spoofing his own Bob Hartley psychologist character:  Stop it!

By being obsessive-compulsive, a control freak, or otherwise not letting go, you are limiting the performance of your organization to no better than your own level of performance. You may think of yourself as the expert, knowing the best way to do any given task, but you can’t be an expert at everything – and you don’t need to be. People want to be valuable and to contribute their abilities, so trust in them and let them do their best. It may not be your view of what’s best, but it will give them ownership of the task and a sense of accomplishment.

In the case of the boys – well, why are we here? This is Boy Scouts, after all, not Adult Scouts. Our job is to train the boys to lead their troop, not to run it for them. We’ve said it before – boys do not learn leadership by watching adults lead.

From another SNL skit: Look at yourself. Do you see the signs of a control freak? Is your troop missing out on excellence because of it? If so, stop it!

Image: Danilo Rizzuti /

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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One Reply to “Don’t sabotage the boys, or yourself”

  1. Well said, and absolutely true. It is often difficult to let go and watch those young men do what needs to be done – especially when we are itching to see it done our way. But if we don’t let them, then they don’t really learn.

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