Monday, August 27, 2012

The essence of leadership

I just got back from the first weekend of Wood Badge. This is my second time on staff and has been so much more relaxing than the first time. I was supposed to be a troop guide again, but we didn't have enough participants for me to have a patrol to guide. So I've been helping out wherever needed and enjoying myself.

While there I had a thought keeps coming back to me. It's a scripture in Luke chapter 22, verse 32. At the last supper, Christ tells Peter "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

The thought I had was that this is the essence of Leadership. The job of the leader is to strengthen those who follow him so their faith won't fail. That's self-explanatory in a religious sense, but it could also mean faithfulness, willingness to work, reliability, etc. The leader strengthens the follower so that he is eventually "converted" and can act on his own. The strengthening and conversion comes through inspiring followers with a vision, helping them develop a plan of action, and giving them the tools necessary to follow that plan. Of course, a great leader will also be praying for those he leads, recognizing that the best help comes from above.

Finally, the purpose of leadership is to develop other leaders who can then go out and strengthen their brethren in the same way they were strengthened.

That's what we do at Wood Badge. We inspire Scouters with a vision. We help them develop a plan of action (the ticket) so that they can go out and work to accomplish their vision. We give them tools they need to do so. And then when they are converted, we ask them to strengthen those they work with by sharing the knowledge they gained. Hopefully they will eventually serve on the staff of another Wood Badge course to continue strengthening others.


  1. I would love to staff a Wood Badge (or multiple). Would just love an invite (he said coyly hoping someone from Capital Area Council is reading this. hint. hint.)

    1. Why wait for an invite? Go down to your local service center and ask who will be the Scoutmaster for the next course in your area. Then call him up and volunteer.

  2. As I sat on Saturday down with one of my participants to help him fill out 4 of his final write ups for his tickets, we were struck by the inspiration that put us together. We in fact discussed how their whole patrol was inspired to be together as a group. He then told me that when old WBers had asked about his tickets they had told him they would have never agreed to his tickets. But the key to his tickets - they don't know him. They hadn't spend time with him and get to know him. Leadership means getting to know who you lead.

    I hope to staff again soon so I can feel more relaxed. Trust me, this time was crazy because, just like WB, I was trying to drink from a fire hose.

  3. You are not going to believe this!! 3 minutes after my post I got a call to serve on another WB course!! AWESOME!!!!