Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Leading Your Former Peers

One of the common practices in camps is to hire from within. Internal candidates offer two advantages in that they know us and we know them.  While this makes the selection decision easier, it does present a challenge once the former front line staff member moves into a leadership role. Now they are thrust into the often difficult task of supervising their former peers. How do they successfully navigate the challenges of leading their former peers? 

Signal the transition - Make everyone, former peers, new peers and your boss aware of the impending change in relationship.

Tread lightly at first - You might have lots of great ideas but start slowly. Focus on your new role and relationships before proposing significant change.

Establish your authority - While you need to move slowly, you do need to let your former peers know you're now in charge. It doesn't have to be done in an aggressive, overbearing manner but it must be done. 

Try out new roles - Take some time and experiment with different modes of relating. Get feedback and continue to evolve until it feels right. 

Deal with the disappointed competitor - If one of your peers also wanted the job deal with their disappointment and potential resentment. Don't let it fester and become a bigger issue. 

Make use of the advantages - You've been on the inside, seeing how things really work where the rubber meets the road. Use that knowledge to help build credibility and to avoid potential buried land mines.