10 tips for being a better patrol leader

Communicate well. Be consistent but flexible. Ask for help when you need it.

Those are a few of the essential takeaways from the excellent list of 10 tips for patrol leaders found below.

As a former patrol leader myself (in the late 1990s), I can attest to the value of this advice. But I can’t take any credit for it.

The tips were lifted directly from the Patrol Leader Handbook, which is full of must-read suggestions. 

1. Keep Your Word.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-1

Don’t make promises you can’t keep.

2. Be Fair to All.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-2

A good leader shows no favorites. Don’t allow friendships to keep you from being fair to all members of your patrol. Know who likes to do what, and assign duties to patrol members by what they like to do.

3. Be a Good Communicator.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-3

You don’t need a commanding voice to be a good leader, but you must be willing to step out front with an effective “Let’s go.” A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands what’s going on.

4. Be Flexible.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-4

Everything doesn’t always go as planned. Be prepared to shift to “plan B” when “plan A” doesn’t work.

5. Be Organized.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-5

The time you spend planning will be repaid many times over. At patrol meetings, record who agrees to do each task, and fill out the duty roster before going camping.

6. Delegate.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-6

Some leaders assume that the job will not get done unless they do it themselves. Most people like to be challenged with a task. Empower your patrol members to do things they have never tried.

7. Set an Example.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-7

The most important thing you can do is lead by example. Whatever you do, your patrol members are likely to do the same. A cheerful attitude can keep everyone’s spirits up.

8. Be Consistent.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-8

Nothing is more confusing than a leader who is one way one moment and another way a short time later. If your patrol knows what to expect from you, they will more likely respond positively to your leadership.

9. Give Praise.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-9

The best way to get credit is to give it away. Often a “Nice job” is all the praise necessary to make a Scout feel he is contributing to the efforts of the patrol.

10. Ask for Help.

Patrol-Leader-Tips-10

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. You have many resources at your disposal. When confronted with a situation you don’t know how to handle, ask someone with more experience for some advice and direction.

Your tips?

What’s left off the list? What advice do you give patrol leaders to enable success? Leave a comment below.


Photos by Walter P. Calahan, AJ Mast, W. Garth Dowling

About Bryan Wendell 2904 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.