Re: Young Eagles and Leadership
Timothy J O'Leary (tjo@CPTCHR.AFIP.MIL)
Wed, 11 Sep 1996 10:36:47 -0700
I am not going to get on my soapbox about Eagle age, either way.
I AM going to get on my soapbox about leadership, though:
Leadership is about having a vision, sharing the vision, and achieving the
vision. Management is about the details.
I can easily envision a young man or woman having a vision - to build a
playground, for example, and the ability to share the vision and "sell it"
to a group of others - adults and youth alike. The adults may end up
getting the permits, and even supervising some of the work - and, in my
opinion, this youth would have demonstrated leadership. I can also see a
youth getting a project - say trail repair - from the local park, and
convincing his troop to fix it as part of its usual fall service project.
This is also leadership. The latter is, IMHO, not demonstrating any
greater leadership than the former, even though the former enlisted the
assistance of adults.
The leader does not need to tell folks how to do the job. He does need to
figure out what jobs need to get done. If he can convince Joe Smith,
Master Carpenter, to help out on the project, then he is an absolute idiot
if he does not take advantage of Joe Smith's superior knowledge. This is
not abrogating leadership - it is exercising prudent leadership.
The important thing, it seems to me, is in the vision. The youth should
have had a vision, and gotten the help he needed toprogress towards it.
The help should have come because the vision was worth sharing, and not
because Dad envisioned his son's Eagle ceremony.
In the end, we must bring the focus back to the boy - not the project. If
that boy can look you in the eye - with pride - and tell you that he is
proud to have helped make the vision possible, then he has truly performed
and Eagle project. If he gives most of the credit to others, more power
to him - that's what truly great leaders usually do.
If we exppect the Eagle to show leadership - doing the right things, then
let's look for leadership. If we want him to show management skill -
doing things right - then let's look for that. Perhaps we want them both,
but we shouldn't confuse them.
Timothy J. O'Leary
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City