Many observations from management training can be adapted in several ways so we can use them within Scouting. Perhaps this is why Wood Badge is so successful on both fronts: it’s an excellent training program for Scouters but it also helps us in our work and home lives.
Recently, Dan Rockwell wrote in his blog Leadership Freak about a new book by Bob Hancox and Russell Hunter, Coaching for Engagement, and pointed out ways that managers can become coaches and move from managing the process to managing the people and letting the people work with the process. It’s become a ubiquitous educational buzzword, but by using a form of “guided discovery,” managers are urged to engage with their team members in a constructive way, helping them to bring out their own resources and guide them to the answers they need. He advises managers to “let go” of their people and let them come up with solutions and processes. More specifically, he writes:
Employee engagement begins when you stop giving answers and start asking questions. Your knowledge is dangerous when it motivates others to look to you for answers. Your knowledge, on the other hand, enables you to craft wise questions that lead others to find their own insights. You heighten engagement by engaging others.
Not only is this good practice when working with Scouts (as Scoutmaster Clarke Green explained in one of his podcasts), but it works as a way for a Committee Chair to work with his or her committee members. I’ve found success by having open-ended discussions about projects, tasks and situations, and asking others on the committee to take ownership of them, rather than making the decisions and passing them down.
Rockwell goes on to explain four more steps that managers can take to become better coaches, and four ways that these managers score a win for their team by doing so. Go ahead and read the article and think about ways you can apply his advice to your situation, whether you are a Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Committee Chair or serve as a Commissioner or at the district level.
As you become a better manager-coach, in what ways will you enable those whom you work with to experience success?