A Scout asked, ‘What makes a good leader?’ Your responses are legendary

They won’t learn it on YouTube, in a classroom or even in a blog post.

If a young person wants to become a great leader — a skill they’ll use throughout their lives in boardrooms, break rooms and living rooms — they need Scouting.

Scouting creates great leaders the only way that actually works: by placing teenagers in positions with real responsibility and genuine consequences. But unlike a managerial role at the office, leadership positions in Scouting have a safety net. You won’t get fired if you mess up as senior patrol leader, but you will learn a lesson for life.

So that’s how Scouting produces great leaders. But what exactly makes someone a great leader?

That was the question on the mind of Lucas Hodgson. “What makes someone a good leader for Scouting and other activities?” Lucas asked us by email.

So we opened up Facebook and asked the Scouting magazine community. The responses, unsurprisingly, were pure gold. We’ve included 11 below.

As you read, remember that volunteers like you play a crucial role in preparing young people to become leaders. They can’t do it without you.

“A good leader for Scouting is made — not found,” says a commenter named Cj Guevara. “What makes a good leader for Scouting is a great leader who mentors and coaches them.”

What makes a great leader?

A role model
“Someone that acts as a role model to his fellow Scouts and Scouters. That has always been my quote in my troop.”
— Ashton, a Scout from Pennsylvania

“A good leader is trusted. That trust was earned by listening and following through on promises.”
— Matthew, a volunteer from Canada

A good person
“Someone who listens to others and can also listen to their own head and heart. Don’t be pushed around to do things that go against your own values.”
— Nicole, a volunteer from Ohio

A servant leader
“I told my son when he became a patrol leader that you lead by example. If your patrol is assigned the latrines, be the one with the toilet brush in hand and use it. Any time you need to lead, especially if it is a volunteer situation, you are far more respected by participating than just telling people what to do when you sit on the sidelines.”
— Jamie Leigh, a volunteer from Texas

“Let me use a football analogy. Have you ever noticed that the Army Cadets football team has no names on the back of their jerseys? That’s because the name on the front — ‘Army’ — is more important than the name on the back.”
— Les, a volunteer from New York

“Someone who works alongside the Scouts that they’re guiding. Don’t hike ahead, hike with.”
— Martha, a volunteer from Oregon

“A good leader is at the same level as those who are led. A good leader is not better than anybody else, but rather knows how to delegate tasks while also doing important tasks themselves.”
— David, a volunteer from Virginia

A good observer
“A good leader notices when someone is left out or not fitting in and makes an effort to find out why and bridge the gap.”
— Ann Marie, a volunteer from New York

“Know those you lead and be a good listener. Get everyone involved. Be respected for the person you are, not the patch on your shirt.”
— Chris, a volunteer from New York

A humble person
“A good leader recognizes that others may be better suited to lead the project/task and step back to a supportive role, assisting with authority whilst exercising freedom of leadership.”
— Neil, a volunteer from South Africa

“Someone who guides and encourages. Not someone who says their way is the only way.”
— Nancy, a volunteer from Delaware

Now it’s your turn

What else makes someone a good leader? Let’s keep this going in the comments section below.

About Bryan Wendell 3117 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.