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Function and leadership

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Function and leadership





Viktorija Ščiukaitė PV 3-1-2 gr.

Adviser: K. Griciūtė


2006 m.


Principles of Leadership 3

Leadership and Leaders: the Direct Approach 3

Defining Leadership Objectively 3

The Leadership Curriculum 4

Leadership Can be Learned 5

The Focus is on the Learner 6

The Leader’s Function 7

What the Leader Must Know 8

Can a Group Have Several Leaders? 8

Principles of Leadership

This section describes why leaders exist and what knowledge, skills, and abilities are important to manage learning. We know, to begin, that leaders exist because man is a social creature. The leader in our society iis responsible for the essential tasks in the collections of groups that make up civilization.

In most traditional or conventional training events, because of a lack of systematic programming, most of the emphasis is focused on attempts to change people’s perception. Little time is usually allocated for practice and even less to measure changes in performance during the training situation. The White Stag method puts a strong emphasis on individual and group participation and practice long to ensure sufficient habit-formation dduring the training situation. We also systematically evaluate the participants, staff, and the overall program. We take a direct approach to leadership development.

Leadership and Leaders: the Direct Approach

Final campfire in the dining hall area.

The leader is the central pperson who guides the group toward it’s goal. No single trait has been found which separates leaders from non-leaders; nonetheless, leaders usually have more drive and determination and probably a greater concentration of positive qualities than non-leaders.

Research over many years, some of which formed the basis for the original conceptualization of the White Stag program, has revealed that leaders commonly share a definite set of skills, or competencies. We do not believe in „born leaders;“ we believe the leadership is a skill, ability, or competency that can be acquired. In White Stag, our functional definition of competence is: knowledge, understanding, way of thinking, skills and disposition. Our program is designed to affect all of these qualities.

The idea of bborn-leaders has become outdated. The founder of White Stag, Bela Banathy, in his research for his Master’s thesis on leadership, compiled a list of over 80 behaviours that authorities in the field described as „leadership.“ The key notion here is that these behaviours are skills that can be learned.

For many years, leadership in traditional Boy Scout of America junior leader training programs was referred to only indirectly, by example and inference.

White Stag does not depend on happenstance or luck ffor leadership training to take place. This „indirect“ way of training for leadership is what the White Stag method challenges and transforms into a „direct approach“. The skills of leadership are specifically described.

Defining Leadership Objectively

The direct approach is oriented toward a specific leadership behaviour which is clearly and objectively defined. The elements of leadership behaviour are isolated as specific learnings which are systematically programmed into a long-term developmental process.

The direct approach ensures that appropriate and sufficient time is given the development of leadership skills, to bring about the desired change in behaviour and to achieve leadership competence.

The SECOND concept is that, rather than being some nebulous characteristic which one has to be born with, leadership can be defined as a set of competencies which can be learned. Some eighty aspects of knowledge, skills, and attitudes have been taken into account in our research which have been clustered into competencies. To sum it up. an understanding of the concepts described here has helped us to bring into focus that the acquisition of leadership competencies should occur by plan and design, rather than by accident. Although leaders may emerge – as they do today – as by-products of group processes, tthis is neither an economical nor an effective way of developing leadership. Based on the concepts described above, in our experimental program:

Specific competencies of leadership–relevant to Scouting–have been identified.

The Leadership Curriculum

Scouts cool off after a strenuous day of hiking.

Banathy condensed his 80 descriptors into eleven competencies that now comprise the curriculum of White Stag Leadership Development. Much research has been done since then to supplement, amend, and above all, keep the knowledge base current.

The eleven competencies are part of the overall leadership development design. The framework of competencies provides a consistent reference base for all members as they gain increased knowledge. Instead of learning greater and greater numbers of competencies, members reach higher „plateaus“ of knowledge within the existing schema. The objectives within each competency will eventually be so discrete that selective groups of objectives may be chosen by the manager of learning that reflect exactly the needs of the learners.

Knowledge of or the ability to manage the learning of any or several of these competencies does not a leader make. What makes a leader is the degree to which the competency is an integral characteristic of an individual and the degree to which it influences tthe individual’s behaviour (and by inference, his values).

A competency of primary significance is communication, or „Getting and Giving Information.“ Nothing else can happen until communication, on one or more levels, has been established. Identification of and with group norms and group goals leads to the maintenance of group membership; the ability to call on group members’ knowledge, skills and abilities insures that the task can be tackled. „Knowing the Needs and Characteristics of the Group,“ and „Knowing and Using Group Resources“ are the next most important.

The need among program participants for them to learn more about these competencies is made plain to them in a number of ways. Specific learning activities are conceived and executed that draw their attention to the group dynamic and the role of leadership among them.

One of the most important talents a leader needs is empathy; that is, an appreciation for and understanding of others’ needs. (Empathy includes both the ability to uncover needs and sensitivity to those needs.) The empathic leader is one with the group, is helpful; he is willing to face problems, and has at his disposal a variety of problem-solving tools.

Some other behaviors that indicate positive qualities of leadership are

cheerfulness, enthusiasm, alertness, integrated character, deliberate will control, risk-taking, and absence of suspicious anxiety.

Leadership can be developed by acquiring the competencies described below.

Leadership Can be Learned

Leadership competencies cannot be acquired in a few training sessions or in a single training course, but only as the result of a long-range development process over a number of years. Leadership development must begin during the formative years of youth, and is a life-long process that never ends.

The acquisition of leadership competencies occurs bby plan and design.

[It is a] process with a purpose. It is a process of the learner moving from a state wherein he cannot yet perform as the described purpose of the training to a state where he can demonstrate such performance. This move is what training is about. Training is the making of specific arrangements in the environment of the learner which provide him with experiences by which he can confront and master the learning task, by which hhe can be transformed to the state where he can perform as desired.

Leadership development cannot be perceived as a single training course or as a one-shot event, but must be a continuous seqence of closely chained and systematically organized llearning and experience-building opportunities.

Developmental psychologists postulate that each child passes through a series of specific stages; White Stag addresses each youth in terms appropriate to his particular stage of development and levels of need. The program is structured in three tiers, or „phases,“ each designed to meet the needs of developing adolescents. (Refer to Chapter 4 – „Organizational Structure“ for more information.)

We understand that organized learning opportunities like the White Stag program are not for every youth, and that many youth grow into fine, mature adults and leaders in their communities without participating in organized youth groups.

However, participants in the White Stag program strongly feel that the program helps young people realize their full potential, assists them iin developing positive concepts of self esteem, self evaluation, and the ability to get along with others in the widest variety of situations. The White Stag program plants a seed in some who then grow it themselves; others return to partake again and again of the distinctive spirit which nurtures growth, that is marrow to the bone of White Stag.

Growth in leadership capacity does not happen in isolation as a member or learner in the program. The support and uunderstanding of peers and adults in the youths’ home environment is critically important. The opportunity to apply what he has learned, to experiment, is essential if the leadership competencies are to be transferred out of the White Stag program. It is at home, in the school, in their church or temple, in the community, and at work while helping others grow, that the youth applies the leadership competencies and captures the White Stag Spirit.

The Focus is on the Learner

We have shifted our attention from instruction to learning. This does not mean that we minimize the importance of instruction or the role of the instructor.

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