By Dave Pack
Oct 17, 2013

What is Leadership?

patrolScouting aims to help boys develop into well-rounded young men. Every aspect of Scouting is designed to create a foundation for a boys’ development.

One of the methods designed to accomplish this is leadership. But what is leadership in Scouting?

Leadership should be centered around the boys. Similar to when a boy makes blackened scrambled pancakes (see article), when a boy does something himself – he likes it. He not only likes it but he learns from it and is able to develop and grow his own leadership skills.

Too often as adults and leaders we think we have all the answers.

When a boy makes an attempt at something and does it differently than we would do it, we want to direct him toward how we do it. But there are multiple ways to do something and sometimes multiple solutions to a problem. As adults and leaders we need to sit back and let the boys explore their options, let them learn from their own actions.

I like this quote by Lao-tsu:

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!'”

Eagle LeaderBoy Scouting should encourage boys to learn and practice leadership skills. Every Scout has the opportunity to participate in both shared and total leadership situations. Understanding the concepts of leadership will help a boy accept the leadership roles of others and guides him toward the citizenship aim of Scouting.

There is not one single definition of leadership. Likewise, there is not a right or wrong method of leadership. Leadership is what the boys are trying to figure out. Scouts should be encouraged to ask themselves, “What kind of leader do I want to be?”

Every Scout should be an active leader. Scouts should plan their activities with the help and support of their leaders. Scoutmasters need to provide examples of good leadership for the Scouts to model.

Author: Dave Pack | Scout Executive, Utah National Parks Council


1. See Leadership Now, “Leadership Quotes.”


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