Over the past few weeks, we’ve been discovering the many layers of teamwork and leadership. In the first part of our Leadership and Teamwork mini-series, find out what happened when the Guides (aged 10-14) were left in charge of EVERYTHING.
The first Guide to turn up was named the Leader for the night. This Guide is not one of our Patrol Leaders, so she is usually not responsible for anyone but herself. She had free reign on how to run the meeting – she could make all the decisions, or ask the group for input. The only rule was that all unit traditions had to be kept, so the Guides still had to raise and lower the flag to start and end the meeting, they had to complete their weekly duties as per the duties schedule, and they had to use the plan-do-evaluate method. Other than that, for 90 minutes, the world was their oyster.
So they played a game. As a group, they decided which game they’d most like to play. And after that, they played another game. During that second game, the group leader approached me and asked,
“Are we allowed to just play games all night?”
I reminded her that she was in charge, and there was only one rule. It intrigued me that this was how the Guides most preferred to spend their time. As an adult, I silently questioned what they would achieve by playing games all evening. But then it occurred to me that their days are full of scheduled classes, followed by scheduled homework time and scheduled after-school activities. Their weekends are likely scheduled by their parents. A night of unscheduled fun games could be just what they need most…
As it happened, the fun of a games night wore off after 70 minutes so, with 20 minutes left of our meeting, they pulled out some craft materials and glued, tied, collaged and decorated their way through the rest of the night.
Right at the end of the night we had the ‘evaluate’ component of the plan-do-evaluate method. I asked them all a few questions to find out if any lessons could be learned from their experience.
Did they enjoy the freedom? Yes! Without a doubt. Almost all of the Guides excitedly volunteered to be Leader of our next meeting!
What happened to the original plan of playing games all night? Quite simply, they got bored. I’d say perhaps they do need some small sense of accomplishment after all.
How did the Leader feel about being in charge of everyone? She enjoyed it, although she reported that it was a bit frustrating when people talked over her, or didn’t listen. I think all Guide Leaders can sympathise with this frustration!
Why did the Leader ask the group for input, rather than just making all the decisions herself? She involved the group in the decisions because any decision that was made would impact them too. What a great leader!
This activity confirmed to me, as a unit leader, what I already knew. The Guides love to be (and always should be) involved in the decisions about their program. However, it’s not enough for just me to know this – they need to know it too. They need to know why we ask for their input and why we constantly challenge them to challenge themselves. Our Guides should always understand that we don’t ask for their ideas because we can’t be bothered to think of anything ourselves.
It’s for them. For their entertainment. For their education.
For their development.
Read Part 2 of this series!