Joint Base Charleston


Scout's Honor

By Tech. Sgt. Matthew Ancell | 373rd Training Squadron assistant first sergeant | August 27, 2013

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- I spent most of my childhood participating in scouting. To this day, there is a copy of the Boy Scout Handbook on my desk. Below are three lessons I learned from scouting that have helped shape me as the leader I believe I have become.

Good judgment
Judgment, like leadership, must be practiced to improve. In front of my students, I speak about judgment the same way I learned in scouting; by using the rings of an old tree. Each ring represents a period of growth that would strengthen the tree as it ages. Throughout my career, I have drawn the most strength from the lessons I learned as a result of poor choices. Are you, as a leader, giving your subordinates the latitude to positively learn and grow from the choices they make?

Looking and listening
My dad would always say that if you sat on the porch on a quiet night and listened, you could hear the corn grow. I laughed it off, until the night I heard it for myself on a camping trip. Afterwards, it took practice to clear my mind and focus my attention to detail. During your day, how often are you stopping, clearing your mind, and truly looking and listening to the world around you? What you see and hear may amaze you.

When faced with my first test as a troop leader, I was intimidated by the amount of work that went into a camping trip. In hindsight, the hardest task was just getting started. When the other members of the troop noticed that the kid in charge was working hard, they began to help accomplish the overall goal. Are you leading from the front? It's hard to take time away from our administrative duties, but it's absolutely necessary if you wish to be visible.

Help develop the leaders of tomorrow by sharing these lessons with those you lead today. You won't be disappointed with the results ... scouts honor.

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