team captain picking

My team for the past three years have had the current team captain and the lead mentor pick the new team captain and there is usually only one student that has the ability to lead but this year there are 3 student that have the ability to lead but the entire team as far I can tell and been told only really like one of them and the current team captain and does not want them to be the next team captain so my question is how should we pick our feature team captain.

The grammatical issues in your post make it quite hard to understand what you’re asking, is there anyway you could clean it up?

I think you’re saying that there are 3 viable team captains and you’re asking how they should determine who will be the team captain. (?)

The way that our team (and many other teams) choose this is through having a democratic election where individuals of the team vote for who they would like to be the team captain. If you’d prefer it to be anonymous, just simply have everyone write down who they’d like on a piece of paper and tally the votes.

I am honestly a bit confused about your questions, so if I haven’t answered it, feel free to ask again. When you post though, please try to double check your grammar and avoid run on sentences: the easier it is for members to read your post, the more likely they can help.

Different teams have different approaches to choosing leaders. Most teams use the input of students, mentors, and/or alumni; the specific weights of each vary by team.

If your team is happy with your current system (current captain and lead mentor), and would like to keep it, then they can pick between the three candidates for the one they feel will be the best for the team. Otherwise, a discussion of how an alternative selection process may help. We also have a voting system where each student votes for their favorite candidate, and then a group of mentors reviews it later.

My team has no team captain, but a Leadership team composed of students, mentors, parents, and teachers. During leadership meetings, the group discusses the past and future week and other relevant topics, assigning tasks and making decisions as a group. Individual students are encouraged to lead these meetings on a rotational basis, and everyone provides equal input.

As far as I see it (currently), the role it too big for any one student.

We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week…
…but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting…
…by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs…
…but by a two thirds majority in the case of…

I hope you see the humor…
points for those that know where this comes from…

I believe that I gathered from what you posted is:

  • There are three viable candidates as far as leadership ability.
  • Your traditional model is for the “retiring” team captain and lead mentor to choose.
  • A significant number of team members do not like two of the candidates.
  • The current team captain does not feel that the candidate who is liked by the team is the best choice.
  • You have not said anything about the lead mentor’s opinion on the matter. As you are asking the question, I would infer that the lead mentor does not have a strong opinion, and also that you are the lead mentor, or someone whose advice is usually considered by the lead mentor.

First of all, let me preface this with a statement that there are probably no two teams that do things exactly the same way, so YMMV.

Unless you already have a history of a team vote for captain and are happy with it, this is about the last selection method I would use. Democracy is a messy enough system for deliberative societies - for teams it’s usually unworkable.

Given that the outgoing captain has made a selection, the question becomes one of whether that selection is the right person to lead the team. The first thing to know is why this candidate is unpopular. Unless these reasons are incompatible with this candidate being an effective captain, I’d ratify the decision and move forward. I can think of a number of attributes of a good captain, but which ones are more important depend greatly on the team dynamics. Here are a few top reasons we use on our team, which follows a more military than bureaucratic model:

  • Is the candidate a good example (shows up consistently, shows GP, works hard, does community service, deals with people and machines and frustration well)?
  • Is the candidate respected by the team members? (Respected, not liked)
  • Is the candidate able to delegate specific authority to lieutenants and team members for appropriate tasks, then follow up at an appropriate interval?
  • Does the candidate handle pressure well?
  • Does the candidate have enough force of personality to stand up to any of the other team members when (s)he’s right, and good sense to yield gracefully when (s)he’s wrong?

Dennis, I mean Bob, I think you have found the grail…:slight_smile:

I’m bein’ repressed! Come see the violence inherent in the system!

On our team, we have a student board that mirrors the positions on our adult board. Candidates for each of the positions are elected by anonymous popular vote by the veterans of the team before build season begins. Each candidate is allowed to give a short speech, but for the most part students vote based on what they know of the candidates from being on the team with them for at least one year.

It may seem like a popularity contest if the team candidate is selected by the students, but the important thing to remember is that a student with natural leadership ability will most likely be recognized as such by the other members of their team. Students will elect the leader they will choose to follow. If mentors make a selection the rest of the team does not agree with, the team is unlikely to follow that person.

I suppose it also depends on the responsibilities of the team captain on your specific team. When our candidates give their speeches, they address how they will and have been fitting the roles they would have to for their position.

Additionally, when one or two people make a decision, favoritism and bias can intentionally or unintentionally come into play. Not only that, but students are likely to act very differently around mentors than around their peers, and a student who at first appears perfect may be rude or disrespectful to their teammates. It is best if those who will have to follow the captain are allowed to choose who they are willing to follow.

Our team has usually gone by a democratic vote for the captain for the current year, with some success and some problems over the last few years. Part of the problems were the lack of viable options and so the variance in how a team can be led was limited. Other problems were inexperienced captains being chosen because of lack of senior team members. I was chosen by our mentors at the end of build season my sophomore year, because or only two upperclassmen couldn’t fulfill the time commitment.

What I’m trying to say is that all systems have their flaws, it would just be best to figure out what works best for your particular team.

Noam Chomsky is perhaps the best known American proponent of anarcho-syndicalism in the late 20th century. He is actually better known for his work in linguistics, developing transformational grammar (TG). His book on Syntactic Structures influenced two generations of linguistic scholars.

A passage from Chomsky explaining anarcho-syndicalism:

  • The Chomsky-Foucault Debate on Human Nature, The New Press, 2006, p.38-9