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.