Leadership Lessons from the Boy Scouts

We often make life so complicated, but in reality things are pretty straight forward.   We can almost always find simple strategies that will cause us to succeed; the basics of success, if you will.   I have found if we take those principles, and we are diligent about applying them consistently throughout our life, we will be successful.

Sometimes the lessons I write about in this blog are things I have invented, but more often than not they are things I have read, heard in a sermon or Podcast, or from some friend. Occasionally bits of wisdom picked up earlier in life and are brought back to my consciousness through a memory or a story. Today’s post is one of those latter instances.

I was a boy scout, from the time I was 11 until I was 13.  I revisited the scouting tenants this week and was surprised at how much the Boy Scout philosophy applies to success as a leader.  For those of you who were scouts, take a nostalgic trip back to your tween or teen years with me.  For those who were not, peek in with us as we revisit some lessons in leadership our scoutmasters taught us.

It should come as no surprise that I have organized them into 3R’s!

Remember the Motto and Slogan:

Motto-  Be Prepared!

A good scout and a good leader are rarely taken by surprise.  They have what it takes to survive.  Whether you are talking about preparing for a wilderness trek by bringing a good compass, knife, honing fire building skills, or developing an iron clad business plan that provides for every foreseeable eventuality that the market may throw at you, proper preparation is the key to success.

Slogan- Do a Good Turn Daily!

Do you want to take your team to new heights?  Practice this one diligently with them.  Find some need you can meet daily that is totally unnecssary and unexpected for you to do.  Are you an Exec?  Try making the first pot of coffee, change out the water bottle, or offer to pick up the take out food for the office.  Find something like that every day, not because you want to prove something, just because you want to serve well!  Your team will remember these things the next time you have to push them to meet a deadline, or work short-staffed to hit budget targets.

Resemble the Oath:  

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

This oath is comprised of three duties; Duty to God and Country, Duty to Others, and Duty to Self.  I do not think the order of those duties was random either!

The first duty also refers to the Scout Law.  Here is that law for further study:

“A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.”

Would it not be be great if we could all say…

“I am a Leader who is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.”

That is a testimony worthy of effort to deserve!

.Replenish the Wood Pile:

The final piece of wisdom I gleaned as a scout was something I heard on every camping trip.  One of the jobs on any camping trip was to gather and/or chop fire wood.  The wood was always to be stacked neatly in dry, protected area of camp away from the fire.  Not once did our troop leader ever let us leave a campsite if the wood pile was not higher than when we arrived.

As leaders we need to engrain these same principles in our teams.  The principles that we always contribute more than we take, and that we provide for those who will come after us.  If we do that, others will support our team’s efforts because they see that we are not just working for our goals, but for the greater good.

Do you ever feel like the last boy scout?  Well, you are not!  We are out here with you, so Prepare, Serve, fulfill your Duty, and we will leave this world better than we found it!


2 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons from the Boy Scouts

    • You are the second person who has said that! I copied from the site I went to research. Either they took it out, or I was not on the official site!

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