As a Group Scout Leader you support adults. You need to build effective relationships so that the quality of scouting is improved and enhanced in your group. If you are new to this type of appointment you may ask yourself how you can deal with other adults.
If you adopt the qualities of motivator, friend and colleague, relationships should be easy to build. If you wish to delegate tasks to an Assistant Group Scout Leader, such as group events and activities, it is important you have a good working relationship with them.
How can you improve relationships on your appointment as Group Scout Leader?
Firstly, it is important to review what existing practices have been like in the group and if you can make any improvements. What is the relationship like between your section leaders? What do people expect of you?
The more regular contact you have with leaders, the more it will increase your credibility and improve your working relationship. The more you offer people, the more they will give.
You might find some people expect you to prove yourself before they will work effectively with you. Do not be alarmed at this as it is part of the natural process of team building. You can help and speed up the process by offering to help and support leaders as required.
If you do not know the answer to a question — say so. Offer to find out, then let the leader know. This gives you the opportunity to go away to another source, perhaps the District Commissioner or the County Development Service to ask the question, receive a reply and pass it on to the leader.
From time to time you may come across situations where the relationship between you and an individual is poor, maybe because they have an inbuilt prejudice against the managers in scouting in general. They may have had a bad experience in the past. Try, in the first instance, to apply the reasonable process of encouragement and friendship; if this does not work and you get little response from the leader, try another approach. Gather facts together about the individual and identify exactly what the problem seems to be, then talk to a suitable person, such as the District Commissioner or another colleague in your group. Go through the facts and then, hopefully, come to a solution for approaching the difficulty.
A point of caution worth noting is to be wary of taking other people’s direct advice because they are not involved personally. No-one else can ever be ‘in your shoes’, so the only thing you can do is discuss the problem, possible solutions and probable consequences of your actions. You need to decide the action, yourself.
Alternatively, there may be opportunities to use the leader to work with you on a group event. Ask them to undertake a task which you believe they will readily accept. Let them see that you are giving them support, yet the freedom to use and demonstrate their own skills and talents.
Dealing with difficult people at meetings is another situation in which you might find yourself. If you are aware that someone has a strong point of view and is expected to cause trouble at your meeting, it is worthwhile spending some time beforehand discussing with that person the points of view they have, so taking some of the ‘sting out of their tail’. Try to understand their point of view and explain your own.
It is not easy to form effective relationships with everybody — you will find some people easier to get on with than others, but you need to support them all.
Be patient and persevere. Support and help is available from your colleagues – other GSLs and members of the wider district team. If you are ever in doubt, just ask.