I doubt there’s anyone who hasn’t felt frustration at how poorly or inefficiently our Scouts go about doing tasks at one point or another. We all know how to set up a tent – and could beat almost any Scout in a competition – how to cook in the outdoors, how to lead a meeting, plan an outing, pack a trailer or shop for groceries for a campout.
All too often, adults feel the need to take over some of these jobs so they’ll be done “right”.
But is that the point? Sure, we’d like to have a well-run troop meeting or a campsite set up neatly. But our role is not to ensure these things – our role is to support the Scouts in their efforts to learn how to do so.
This phenomenon isn’t just for Scouting. Business leaders often fix up work done by their subordinates, rather than giving them the resources to do things right the first time. Business consultant Mike Figliuolo would call you an enabler, for encouraging substandard performance from your team members. He says that the longer you go on fixing others’ lousy work, the less motivated they’ll be to do it right. Figliuolo encourages leaders to help their people learn the right way and to practice until their performance approaches the desired level.
We can do the same with our Scouts. Don’t do things for them because you can do it better, but don’t let them flounder either. Show them the skills – or encourage those youth leaders who know to show their fellow Scouts – and recognize them for improvement without expecting perfection.
They’ll never have the advantage of many years of practice that you do, but with coaching and mentoring, their skills and confidence will improve – and your workload will shrink. Don’t enable poor performance – enable success!
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