Leadership: Leading from Behind

Patrols, line up, single file, behind the blue line.

Patrol leader, stand at the front, on the blue tape.

There are several styles of leadership. You want to use each style depending on the situation, your own skills as a leader, and the skills of your patrol members. 
Standing in the front of your patrol, we'll call this leadership style “leading from the front."

What does the patrol leader do? 

From the front, the patrol leader sets the example. He gives orders and instructions and models how to work hard and get things done.

What do the patrol members do? 

They Listen, learn, and follow.

Most of you start your leadership journey in this position. Leading from the front has its merits. But there are limitations. For example, when a patrol leader is cleaning up after a meal while his patrol members are running around, leading from the front isn't working.

Patrol leaders, move the back of the line. Everyone else stay in position. 

This is called “leading from behind."

What does the patrol leader do? 

From behind, the leader drives the patrol's goals and makes sure members are on-task. He can see his whole patrol and keeps the big picture in mind.

What do the patrol members do?

They take the initiative to execute the patrol's goals. They apply their collective skills, experience and manpower to get things done. 
Patrol leaders, sit down. It would be better if I had a hammock and you could really relax. 

Sitting down, what example are you setting for your Patrol? Can you guide each Patrol member? This is NOT a position of leadership. 

You can relax and enjoy campouts, but when there’s work to be done, sitting on the sidelines isn't leadership. Whether you are engaged or not, campsites need to be set up or broken down, food and cooking fires to be prepared, and scout craft needs to be taught. 

You need to be engaged – leading from the front or behind.
“For now and into (the) coming decade or so, the most effective leaders will lead from behind, not from the front. Leaders can encourage breakthrough ideas not by cultivating followers who can execute but building communities that can innovate.”
Leadership is not easy. But you will learn it over time and experience – and it will serve you well throughout life. Make the most of your leadership experience in Scouts.