Where can I learn to be a leader? The best kept leadership secret is……….? I bet you think it is a Harvard MBA! It is true that more Fortune 500 CEOs have Harvard MBAs, but that is not it. Here is a hint. It does not cost much and there is no entrance exam. There are many opportunities to learn how to become a leader, but you have to work at it!
Some of the best leadership training is the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with 4.5 million youth members in its age related divisions. The BSA goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development and self reliance through participation is a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and at older age levels, career oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.
The Girl Scouts of America have 2.3 million youth members in its age related divisions. Girl Scouts help develop full individual potential, relate to others with increasing understanding, skills and respect, develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills and cooperation with others. Leadership can be a lifetime of small acts according to the Girl Scouts of America.
A Leader Can Be…
- A clarifier listens, summarizes, and makes things clearer.
- A coach encourages others to develop their skills.
- A facilitator helps the group set goals, make decisions, choose directions, and evaluate progress.
- A delegator helps each group member apply her talents and interests to the group’s goals.
- An initiator gets things moving.
- A manager helps coordinate the parts of a project and keeps an eye on progress.
- A mediator helps resolve differences.
- A networker connects people with people and people with ideas to move the project forward.
- A problem-solver suggests solutions and ways to get things done.
- A visionary sees creative solutions, new directions, and possibilities.
Scouting is an impressive institution that does not have a long list of requirements to overcome to join. Scouting provides opportunities for ordinary kids through enriching experiences, such as field trips, sports, skills building, community service projects, cultural exchanges and environmental stewardships. Young people develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision making and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills and cooperation with others.
What is leadership? A leader is a person who guides or directs a group. Leadership is so much more than that. Part of our problems in society is there is not enough good leadership. I want leaders that are creative and innovative. We need leaders who have the ability to quickly identify solutions for problems which do not even exist yet. Boy or Girl Scouts have programs that match young boys or girls interests/capabilities and grows as they develop critical thinking skills. These programs encourage them to work on something they are passionate about. They learn leadership collaborating and enlisting others to create solutions.
Organizations like Boy and Girl Scouts are very important to shape our future leaders. The skills they learn and practice in a variety of situations will come in handy as they grow up. The program provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps overcoming them through the advancement method. The steps in the advancement system help boys and girls grow self-reliance and in their ability to help others.
Reaching the highest levels of scouting is Eagle Scout for boys and Gold Award for girls. My daughter was a Mariner Scout when she received her Gold Award. Many of her fellow scouts achieved the Gold Award as well. As an adult, she is in a leadership role in a multi-billion dollar company. There are many distinguished successful adults who were either Eagle Scouts or Gold award recipients. Recipients range from astronauts, politicians, medical doctors, news anchors, business executives, professional athletes, Supreme Court Justices, and President of the United States. A leader is not born, but they learn the skills in various ways!
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