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Thread: Power Freaks

  1. #1
    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    Power Freaks

    I have posted this in the lounge because my aim is a humorous chat.

    I was just going to make a post along the lines of HQ are power freaks for forcing Compass through when I stopped and thought about it. I know a few GSLs who are power freaks. What I mean is they try to do everything themselves, everything has to be done in their way and at their pace. You hear stories like kit being reorganised by the leaders so they can find it only for the GSL to put it back to the apparently disorganised heap that was there before. They will only accept a new idea if they can take it away for a few weeks/months and then bring it back as if it was their own idea. In effect they hold the group back. So I am wondering, are there a lot of power freaks in scouting? Does scouting attract power freaks? Does scouting management training create power freaks? Any related amusing stories?
    Last edited by Kev; 23-01-2015 at 10:57 AM.

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    Senior Member Ihatecamping's Avatar
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    I like Harry S Truman's quote, "It's amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."

    Scouting is something I do, not what I am, so if it matters more to someone else that they get the credit for a good idea, then crack on.

    If I'm being pushed down a road I will not go down, then I have better things to do. I have encountered a few power freaks in Scouting. Most can be safely ignored or laughed at from my lowly position, it's the ones from HQ that cause the real irritation.
    The long march through the institutions is nearly complete.

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Apparently I don't want explorer scouts to be group based rather than district based because then I'd lose my "empire". I *think* they were joking. Someone else suggested at the weekend I was the "least autocratic person they knew". I'll take that.

    I've known leaders say they aren't going to run summer camp the next year, and then at the next meeting state that "there isn't going to be a summer camp", presumably on the basis that if they aren't doing it, then no one can/will. That riled enough other leaders to get one definitely happening just to spite that leader. All healthy stuff.

    I've had kit subsumed into group kit as it was "in a cupboard at the hut". That'll be the cupboard you said we could put explorer stuff in.

    None of it very amusing I'm afraid. But yes, I've known one or two power freaks. I don't think scouting attracts them particularly, but when they do, they like being GSL or DC.

    Ian
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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    I find when people have had 5 or more different appointments over their scouting lives, they are certainly power freaks. Even just in 5 years I think I've encountered two people who, through various actions have nearly brought a group and a district to their knees

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    I've known a few. I think they are few and far between, but they do exist. A certain former CC in this part of the world springs to mind.

    Frustrating though they are I've found two things;

    They are best dealt with by the passive aggressive approach. yes boss, no boss, three bags full boss. Then ignore everything they say. I was once told by a DC that my YLs would have to move to another group every 12 months. No groups argued with it. They just quietly forgot all about it. My YLs are stil with me!

    Second, what goes around comes around. I have a 73 year olds ASL who has spent most of his 50+ years as a leader quietly getting on with being a section or assistant section leader. He had a two year stint as GSL and hated every second of it. He's the one that regularly has people approach him in the street or in Sainsburys to say hello and remind themselves to him. Your average power freak will probably never have that.

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    We had a DC once who was a power freak.

    It was about the time that girls were being introduced to sections other than Venture Scouts.

    Even though it was just after HQ had decided that you no longer needed both a male and female Leader he decided that you did. He also decided that if your HQ only had one toilet that was perfectly good enough for male members along with both male and female adults, it was not good enough for female youth members.

    He told the District at a meeting that he was going to get HQ to change POR to what he thought. He also argued that if adult leaders in Scouting were to be paid he would be on 5 donuts and section leaders were one 1 or two.

    It is still talked about by some leaders evven now and in another District that he went to after us.

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brownbeaver1991 View Post
    I find when people have had 5 or more different appointments over their scouting lives, they are certainly power freaks. Even just in 5 years I think I've encountered two people who, through various actions have nearly brought a group and a district to their knees
    On your first point, sometimes they're just twonks, and it just takes a while to find the right place where that group of people are happy to put up with their behaviour, or their behaviour doesn't cause problems for some reason. There was a scouter who managed to fall out with nearly half the groups in the district in various section leader roles before they found a role that suited them.

    On your second point, yes, I've seen people go into a group, or district, and there was open rebellion and votes of no confidence and all sorts before they got the hint that their approach seemed to be not quite all it could be.

    Touch wood, thankfully, our district seems currently relatively free of power crazed loons.

    Ian
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

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    I can see "he's a right 5 donutter" becoming common slang

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    Sparks Sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    I have posted this in the lounge because my aim is a humorous chat.

    I was just going to make a post along the lines of HQ are power freaks for forcing Compass through when I stopped and thought about it. I know a few GSLs who are power freaks. What I mean is they try to do everything themselves, everything has to be done in their way and at their pace. You hear stories like kit being reorganised by the leaders so they can find it only for the GSL to put it back to the apparently disorganised heap that was there before. They will only accept a new idea if they can take it away for a few weeks/months and then bring it back as if it was their own idea. In effect they hold the group back. So I am wondering, are there a lot of power freaks in scouting? Does scouting attract power freaks? Does scouting management training create power freaks? Any related amusing stories?
    I know of one who thinks he is Beaver, Cub and Scout Leader, only he knows how to camp, but refuses to do patrol camping. He took over Compass because he is the only one who is able to do anything, but his computer skills are severely lacking. Yes he is a power freak, and I think that there are a lot of them around.

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    The new breed tend not to hang around. They get appointed, have lots of fun on social media with each other and think that a meeting at gilwell is the best thing in the world...

    then they move on when they realise that it is actually a pretty awful task and requires a longterm plan and success through a thousand tiny steps... not one or two big events and a media team.

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    Senior Member Matt Styles's Avatar
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    I think people with this personality exists at all levels really. I've known Assistant Section Leaders who have run the whole show and upset people through not asking for advice or opinion as much as they could have. I suppose part of the difficulty is that it's different working with adults than it is working with say Cubs. One involves more telling, the other more asking, and that changes with different situations.

    I actually think that while I'm not a 'power freak', I do need to reign in my enthusiasm at times. Part of it is that I've just started a role in a new District/County and I want to jump straight in. I think it can come across differently when you're on the receiving end of an email from me with a PLP I've done myself because I've been a TA before, especially when I forget in the email that AESLs do have DESC as their line manager, not ESL, so I'm keen but make [non-critical] mistakes. For example, currently I'm doing almost all the admin work for the Unit, but we did agree that someone else would deal with keeping contact details, registers, etc up-to-date. But then when I'm the one who receives all the documents and emails from people (volunteers, parents, and Explorers), it's hard to remember to forward something on to someone else instead of just updating a spreadsheet myself (which takes barely any extra time). I'm a young'un as well, 23, so I reply to emails very quickly, which perhaps gives the impression that I'm a super admin person, which might not be the case. I don't think any of our AESLs are doing it for the credit/kudos. Quite the opposite, one of my New Year's resolutions is to congratulate and thank other people more.

    So yeah, 'power freaks' exist, but some of them might not try to be - they could just be implementers wanting to get things done, or could be the one everyone's turning to and communicating that people should ask someone else can be hard if that person can already help in the same amount of time.

    If I came across somebody who I thought was doing more harm than good with the way they make decisions or get things done, I'd start a conversation with them about it - directly say, "It's alright, I'll do that.", or, "I'll ask the parents what they think.", or set up a committee/forum to discuss things. It'll go down better with some people than with others, but you don't know until you try.
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    a quiver full of barbs merryweather's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brownbeaver1991 View Post
    I find when people have had 5 or more different appointments over their scouting lives, they are certainly power freaks. Even just in 5 years I think I've encountered two people who, through various actions have nearly brought a group and a district to their knees
    hello and good morning! how are you this fine day?

    let me just count up the appointments i've held over my time in scouting: 1, 2, 3..........6, 7, 8.

    oops forgot to read your comments carefully!!! you said 'different appointments' didn't you? right so for me that makes.......8. yes, 8 different appointments. no two are the same appointment but in different groups, i.e. i'm not counting a CSL in one group, and a CSL in another group, as two appointments.

    now if add on the 4 'acting' appointments - 3 the same level, 1 different - held at the same time as others in the 8 above, so that makes 12.

    guess what? i've just applied for yet another appointment, or two, or three. so i could be up to 15 fairly soon.

    does that make me 'certainly' (three times over) a triple power freak?

    i have often brought people in my group to their knees....it's called prayer time by some.

    so with all these power freak appointments, how do i address/describe myself: sir, lord, god, or do i consider myself some benevolent scouting deity? or am i just the guy who at the end of the night puts the toilet seats down, empties the bins, washes the plates/cutlery, switches off the lights, and locks the door?

    just how 'certain' are you of my being a power freak?

    cordially yours, TM

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    Senior Member 4thDarwin Akela's Avatar
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    Seen them come and seen them go.. but want say if we have any as they see all and know all............

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    My old boss used to say ' There's some funny folk about'. Well he didn't say folk... I realized a long time ago, there's a lot of funny folk in Scouting. Maybe we attract them?

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    Senior Member alirainsbury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post

    They are best dealt with by the passive aggressive approach. yes boss, no boss, three bags full boss. Then ignore everything they say.
    Both in Scouting and at work, I've always lived by this. The idiots have come and gone, but I'm still here.
    CSL 1st Marple Bradshaw Cubs

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