A patrol leader is an interesting challenge for 14 year old kid. I stumbled into the role almost by accident when after a few years of being in a troop was then called out by my “seniors” to lead a group of 12 people. I had no skills and questionable aptitude to handle this role. There are a few interesting challenges we faced as we faced a trial by fire, which I now draw direct parallels with the job I’m doing:
- You are responsible (and by responsible I mean responsible for everything) for your team
- Your team is a group of 12 or more. This is a mixed bag (more so a motley crew) of varying personalities, ages, cultural background and experience – ranging from the weather beaten to the inexperienced first timers
- Every Saturday morning involved 6 – 10 hours of intense competition between patrols vying for first place – which was based on the accumulation of points won through showcasing skills in various activities through the day all of which had to be done as a team – the ultimate goal was to win the Best Patrol of the Year which was based on both quantitative and qualitative scores
- Financially we had to manage a budget for our patrol to ensure money was spent on the best possible investments for the team
- We had a monthly meeting to report back to the other patrol leaders and the leaders of the overall group (We called it a Troop) as to the progress of the team
Sounds familiar to any of you managers out there? These are the 8 things I took away from the training I got over the crash course of a year.
Lesson 1: Know your team. Know their likes / dislikes / families / know them as well as you know your folks at home
Lesson 2: Never give into the temptation of doing something yourself even though it might be faster
Lesson 3: The best team is one that you are redundant in
Lesson 4: Be infinitely more organised than your team. Have a Plan A – Plan B and any number of plans to make sure you have adequate backups
Lesson 5: Know the job of those directly in your reporting line pretty damn well
Lesson 6: Invest in training for your team
Lesson 7: Laugh under pressure. Have fun!
Lesson 8: Discipline your team intelligently
I will expand on each of the above points in the coming weeks. Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!