LEADERSHIP SKILLS      Many years of experience in Exploring have shown that good leadership is a result of thecareful app...
• Consider the resources—equipment, knowledge,             Keeping the group together—  skills, and attitudes.            ...
How do you counsel?                                           In some cases the leader must represent the post’s          ...
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  1. 1. LEADERSHIP SKILLS Many years of experience in Exploring have shown that good leadership is a result of thecareful application of 11 skills that any post leader or officer can learn to use. With practice, theseskills can become a part of the adult’s or youth officer’s leadership style and will prove helpful inExploring and all other leadership situations.UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS AND gain experience and improve skills. They also developCHARACTERISTICS OF THE POST a positive attitude toward using a skill. • Keep the post’s program capability inventory up-to-Each individual participant of the group has certain date and use it in planning.needs and characteristics. • Understand the purpose and resources of your par-1. A leader should understand his or her own needs ticipating organization. and characteristics. • Survey the participants’ parents; include them in your2. A leader should understand the needs and charac- program capability inventory. teristics of each participant of the group. This helps • Find out your post participants’ skills, interests, and the leader to deal with each person as an individual, resources. to treat that individual with respect, and to help the person grow.3. This understanding helps in planning the program COMMUNICATING and in getting things done.4. This understanding creates trust and builds confi- To improve your skills in getting information: dence among group participants. • Pay attention and listen carefully.Through conversation and informal surveys of post par- • Make notes and sketches.ticipants, try to find out: • Ask questions and repeat your understanding of• Why they joined your post what was said.• What they expect from the post’s program To improve your skills in giving information:• What their major interests are • Be sure others are listening before you speak.• What their plans for the future are • Speak slowly and clearly. • Draw diagrams, if needed. Ask those receiving infor-KNOWING AND USING THE mation to take notes.RESOURCES OF THE GROUP • Have the listeners repeat their understanding of what was said. Encourage questions.Resources include all those things necessary to do ajob. Resources also include people, because peoplehave knowledge and skills. Knowledge is what a per- PLANNINGson learns through familiarity or experience—what youknow. Skill is the ability to use what you know. Attitude Planning is an important part of everything we doincludes the desire to do something—motivation—and in Exploring. The following is a simple process forthe belief that you can do it—confidence. planning:When the leader uses the knowledge and skills of • Consider the task and objectives. What do you wantgroup participants to get a job done, the participants to accomplish? LEADERSHIP SKILLS 1
  2. 2. • Consider the resources—equipment, knowledge, Keeping the group together— skills, and attitudes. • Were relationships between group participants• Consider the alternatives. Brainstorm. helped or hurt?• Reach a decision, evaluating each option. • Was participation equally distributed among group participants?• Write the plan down and review it with the post. • Did the group enjoy the activity?• Execute the plan. • Did the group handle conflicts well?• Evaluate the plan. SETTING THE EXAMPLECONTROLLING GROUP PERFORMANCE Setting the example is probably the most importantA leader influences the performance of the group and leadership skill. It is the most effective way to showindividual participants through his or her actions. Why others the proper way to conduct themselves, and isis control needed? even more effective than verbal communication. With-A group needs control as an engine needs a throttle— out this skill, all the other skills will be useless. Oneto keep it from running itself into the ground. A group way to think about setting the example is to imagineworks together best when everybody is headed in the yourself as part of a group and think about how yousame direction. If a plan is to be properly carried out, would like your leader to act.someone must lead the effort. Control is a function thatthe group assigns to the leader to get the job done.Control happens as a result of recognizing the differ- SHARING LEADERSHIPence between where the group is and where the groupis going. The leader is responsible for developing a While there are various ways to exercise leadership,plan to help the group get to its goal. the goal of Exploring leadership is exemplified in a quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu:Setting the example is the most effective way of con- “But of a good leader . . . When the work is done, histrolling the group. When working with post participants, aim fulfilled, they will say, ‘We did this ourselves.’ ”do the following:• Continually observe the group. Know what is hap- The Exploring leader wants to give post participants pening and the attitude of the group. the skills he or she possesses, not to use those skills in ways that keep the post weak or dependent. He or she• Make your instructions clear and pertinent. offers leadership opportunities to post participants and• Pitch in and help when necessary. teaches them the skills they need.• Quickly deal with disruption. Guide the post toward self-discipline. COUNSELING Counseling is importantEVALUATING • To help people solve problemsEvaluating helps measure the performance of a group • To encourage or reassurein getting a job done and working together. It suggestsways in which the group can improve its performance. • To help an Explorer reach his or her potentialThere are two basic categories of evaluation questions. Counseling can be effective when a person isAfter any event or activity, ask these questions: • Undecided—he or she can’t make a decisionGetting the job done— • Confused—he or she doesn’t have enough informa-• Was the job done? tion or has too much information• Was the job done right? • Locked in—he or she doesn’t know any alternatives• Was the job done on time? LEADERSHIP SKILLS 2
  3. 3. How do you counsel? In some cases the leader must represent the post’s decision exactly; in other cases, he or she must use• First, try to understand the situation. Listen carefully. independent judgment. You will need to solicit and Summarize. Check the facts. Paraphrase to make analyze participants’ views and attempt to represent sure you understand. those views within the guidelines of your post, your• Second, help list as many options as possible. participating organization, and Exploring.• Third, help list the disadvantages of the options.• Fourth, help list the advantages of the options. EFFECTIVE TEACHING• Finally, let the person decide on a solution. The counselor’s role is to give encouragement and infor- Effective teaching is a process to increase the knowl- mation, not advice. edge, skills, and attitudes of the group and its partici- pants. The focus is on learning, not teaching. For teaching to be effective, learning must take place.REPRESENTING THE GROUP The steps of effective teaching includeWhere do you represent the post? Post leaders repre- • Choosing the learning objectivessent the post at post committee meetings, Advisors’ • Providing a discovery experience that helps themeetings, officers’ meetings, and planning confer- learner understand the need for the skillences, and to the participating organization. • Demonstrating or explaining the skillThe leader represents the post in two situations: • Allowing the learner to practice the skill• Without consultation—when he or she doesn’t have • Evaluating the process the opportunity to consult with post officers about a decision• With consultation—when he or she can meet with post officers about the issue LEADERSHIP SKILLS 3