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Being a PL

Being a Patrol Leader

“It is up to the Patrol Leader to take hold of and to develop the qualities of each Scout in his patrol. It sounds like a big order, but in practice it works”. Lord Baden-Powell, Founder of the Scout Movement


When you accept the position of a Patrol Leader, you agree to provide service and leadership to your patrol and the Troop. Take this responsibility seriously, but you will also find it fun and rewarding.


Patrol meetings may be held at any time and place. Many patrols set aside a portion of some evening meetings for its patrol to sit together and talk. Others encourage patrols to meet on a different evening, possibly at the home of a patrol member. Meetings should be
well planned and businesslike.  Assistant patrol leaders bring the meeting to order, and the PL reports on the issues discussed at the Patrol Leaders Council, now called the Troop Leaders Forum.

Decisions reached at these meetings should be brought to the attention of the Scout Leader, whose responsibility it is, together with Assistants and PLs to make up a suitable programme.

Tips for Being a Good Patrol Leader

  1. Keep your word.  Don’t make promises you cannot keep.
  2. Be Fair to All.  A good leader shows no favourites. Do not allow friendships to keep you from being fair to all members of your patrol. Find out who likes to do what, and assign duties to patrol members by what they like to do best.
  3. Be a Good Communicator.  You do not need a loud voice to be a good leader, but you must be willing to step out in front with an effective ‘Let’s go for it!’ A good leader knows how to get and give information so that everyone understands what is going on. No-one can read your mind.
  4. Be Flexible. Not everything goes as planned. Be prepared to shift to ‘Plan B’ when ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work.
  5. Be Organised.  The time you spend planning will be repaid many times over. Take notes; keep records.
  6. Delegate.  Some leaders assume that a job will not get done if they don’t do it themselves. Wrong! Most people like to be challenged with a new task. Get your patrol to try things they have never done before. Do not try to do everything yourself. Sharing jobs and fun is a much more rewarding way.
  7. Set an Example.  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. “Laugh, and the world laughs with you….”
  8. Be Consistent.  Nothing is more confusing to a young Scout than a leader who stands on his/her feet one day, and on his/her head the next. If your patrol knows what to expect from you, they will be more likely to respond positively to your leadership.
  9. Give Praise.  The best way to get credit is to give it away.  Often a “Nice job” remark is all the praise necessary to make a Scout feel he/she is contribution to the efforts of the patrol.
  10. Ask for Help. Never 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 guidance.  They too will learn much from you.