30.04 20160

Being Constructive

“At the beginning of the day you started with a pile of boards. At the end of the day through the work of your own hands and by working as a team you have benches that people can use.” My comments were to a group of youth who took a Saturday out of their lives to help my son build garden benches for a community garden for his Eagle Scout project.

There were no professional builders in the group but a lot of willingness and effort. At the end, all of the boys were invested in making the benches a reality. This is what happens when people focus outside themselves and work for positive outcomes with guidance and support. That is being constructive. It is empowering, and it moves the world forward to build things rather than tear down.

As an adult, too many times I witness the desire to tear down or take away something that exists from someone else. We believe that there is not enough to go around, or that we should be critical of ourselves or others before someone else is critical of us. These are defensive and destructive behaviors and do not add to the world. It is only through building and building up that we can move the world forward to a better place.

This is what I love about the scouting program. It teaches youth how to be constructive even during challenges. What is needed to set up an environment where people build instead of tear down? It takes the internal motivation of all people present to focus on a good outcome. It takes people who step outside of their own interests to see the greater good. It takes believing in yourself and those around you.

As adult leaders in the world, here are some take aways that we can learn from this youth leadership experience…

1. Set up the environment for success -offer up front training to promote confidence and lean out work flows to try to prevent extra movement of people and supplies to lessen the chance of conflicts and to improve productivity.

2. Be willing to adjust your plan due to availability of people and problems with supplies. Have a plan but adjust it to the current circumstances. Not all people will be available when planned…not all supplies will be ideal.

3. Answer questions and guide through experience and expertise but don’t let your own expertise prevent you from using other people’s lessons learned or team members’ ingenuity.

4. Remove roadblocks for the teams– as a leader your primary goal is to observe and assist …don’t do the work as this slows the learnings and slows the process since you have only one person working verses many, but don’t be afraid to step in and assist when things go awry. Good leaders always help out their teams.

It is one of the great joys in life to build and be constructive …offering knowledge and skills to the world’s benefit. I write this to you out of the same desire I had for those boys working on the project. It is a genuine desire to see you succeed in the good that you are trying to do in the world.

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