Scouting magazine

Tips for reining in a grumpy volunteer

Answer the next question and your advice could appear in an upcoming issue.


A volunteer in J.S.’s troop is so negative that no one can stand to be around him. J.S. asked what the troop should do with its sourpuss. 

REMOVE OR REASSIGN
Your committee needs to review the need for this leader and perhaps find a position that better suits his talents. If that doesn’t work, the committee chair may need to talk with the chartered organization representative and remove the problem.

Committee Chair B.E.
JOLIET, ILL.

DIG DEEPER
What do you mean by “so negative”? Is it life in general or Scouting specifically? If it is life in general, he may have depression problems and need medical attention. Encourage him to seek help. If it is something specifically about Scouting, there may actually be a real problem that needs attention. Investigate the problem and see if it can be improved. If the problem is either imaginary or unfixable, you may have to ask the person to resign, or replace him.

Unit Commissioner D.B.
MESA, ARIZ.

A SCOUT IS CHEERFUL
Not every adult application is a good one. Sometimes you have to close a few doors. Do it gently and say thank you, but remember that a Scout is cheerful. If you can’t uphold that, this isn’t your trail.

Skipper T.S.
GAINESVILLE, VA.

TAKE A BREAK
The unit committee should step in and suggest that the leader needs a break from active involvement. If the person is truthful with himself, he will do the right thing when it is suggested. Frequently these timeouts result in a newly energized leader.

Chartered Org. Representative S.T.
OLD BRIDGE, N.J.

SHOW AND TELL
Negativity is not always a bad thing, but it has its place and time — not every time your mouth is open. Find someone he respects to have a talk with him and show him how much better positive attitudes work.

Assistant Scoutmaster P.A.
OLD HICKORY, TENN.

GET A SECOND OPINION
Ask your unit commissioner to help you talk to him. That’s what we’re here for. Perhaps he doesn’t realize the situation, needs more training or would do better in another position in Scouting.

Asst. District Commissioner G.W.
HAMILTON SQUARE, N.J.

START, STOP, CONTINUE
Use the “Start, Stop, Continue” evaluation process after any event or outing. Ask that all leaders give input for all three categories. Don’t let him get away with only providing “stops” or negative comments. Emphasize that this is a continuing process for improvement.

J.R.
SHARPSBURG, MD.

COUNSEL CHANGE
Bring the individual to the side and explain the situation. Offer a constructive solution and try not to embarrass or humiliate him. If he is not open to change or takes offense, the last alternative would be to request that he no longer participate.

Cubmaster P.O’H.
BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

RIGHT TIME, RIGHT PLACE
Let him know you need help but that negative talk makes new leaders and parents second-guess what they have gotten involved in. We all have our opinions on Scouting matters, but that is what leader/committee meetings are for.

Cubmaster K.H.
QUINTON, VA.


Answer the next question and your advice could appear in an upcoming issue.

Plus, you can share your own questions for consideration, here. If your question is selected for our print edition, you will receive $50.