Committee Chair is an important role – indeed, the unit can’t function properly without one – but there are ways in which a person new to the position can get off to a great start without going crazy.
Hopefully, one of the first things you’ll do is read the position description in the appropriate handbook. For the pack committee chair, that’s found in the Cub Scout Leader Book, and for the troop committee chair, read the Troop Committee Guidebook. As chair, you should have a copy; if not, head for your council’s Scout shop at your earliest opportunity and pick one up (along with the position patch for your uniform, if your unit doesn’t provide you with one).
Much has been written about unit committee functions and the role of the chair including here on Bobwhite Blather. If you haven’t already, you might want to go back and read some of them when you have time:
- “So, what is it that you do?”
- The captain of the ship
- The series on effective committee meetings
- Five important skills
There’s a lot to learn right off the bat! And if you’ve never chaired a committee before, it can seem daunting. It doesn’t happen all at once but there are some ways you can add the “be” aspect to the “do” and “know”.
A recent article by Carolyn Knight in the blog of Mike Figliuolo’s* leadership training firm thoughtLEADERS, llc describes five steps for new leaders to take as they approach their new position. Knight advises new leaders to cultivate and use your influence, rather than forcing or declaring what to do; be honest and transparent; listen to others and encourage them; and don’t try to do it all yourself. The article gives great examples and advice on how to set these steps in motion for yourself. It’s great reading for those new to a leadership role as well as review for experienced leaders or those changing to a new role.
Of course, if you only do one thing, be sure you take the online Troop Committee Challenge training. While this training offers more dimensions in learning when taken in person, the online version delivers the essential facts in a short period of time. Troop Committee Challenge will teach you the function of the troop committee and the roles of each of its members, in addition to the ways in which the committee supports the troop.
In future articles I’ll go more into what the committee chair does and how to attain a high-performing committee that serves and supports the boys well.
*Mike Figliuolo is also the author of One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership, which I mentioned in an earlier article, Scouting’s “One Piece of Paper“.