Leadership Scenario

Echo

"Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves"
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When I first came in I used to think that all my negative experiences in the military were the direct result of my NCO either not giving a shit about me or that I had screwed up something. It took a while to understand that NCOs have a fine line to cross when dealing with the morale of the soldiers as well as placing the mission first. My NCO in Afghanistan (who was tabbed and just got off the trail) was the best single source of leadership guidance I had at the time. But there was two incidents that I struggle with today, especially now that I'm going to the board.

1) Three months until we leave country and brigade decides to send two new MI soldiers fresh out the schoolhouse to get a little experince in country. Eventually, my PFC forgot his ID at the gym on base and when I was on my way with him to go back and retrieve the ID, our NCO grabbed me aside and said "Where do you think you're going?" I responded with the usual I'm going to battle him and help him look for it but he didn't allow it. He explained that I cannot be a subordinates friend. He continued that the juniors are tools in my kit that I utilize to get whatever the job is done. I have to make sure my tools are sharp to get the mission completed in the most efficient manner. I struggled with this because when I was coming in I felt like I had a wall between myself and my first line and I want to make sure that my soldiers and I don't have that "wall".

2) Before the two new soldiers arrived, our team was on first name basis, big boy rules, civilian clothes, relaxed grooming standards the whole nine yards. The only thing that changed when they arrived was we now had to address rank and customs and courtesies while "inside our office". Our NCO had made the call because we couldn't allow these new soldiers to be brought up in an operational environment in these conditions. I agreed whole heartedly with his call, until I began thinking it was a double standard.

Comments?
 

Marauder06

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It's hard to say without knowing a lot more details about the dynamics of your specific team, so my comments are general in nature and are not intended to be critical of you or the way your team does business.

That said, your team is probably way, way too junior to be operating in the manner in which you described. "First name basis, big boy rules, civilian clothes, relaxed grooming standards," my first question would be, "why?" What is it you guys are doing- or think you're doing- that you need to have that kind of operational posture when you have a team with PFCs in it? Sounds like a recipe for disaster- or at least for unnecessary negative attention- to me.

Generally speaking, I loathe the term "big boy rules." Too often the term is a rationalization to excuse poor leadership, especially in the MI world. Big boy rules are dependent on maturity, experience, and professionalism that most Soldiers do not possess- especially young enlisted and junior officers. You will completely ruin most Soldiers by putting them in an unconstrained environment right out of the box on their first assignment. I think your NCO absolutely made the right call.

I'm not sure that a "wall" is necessary between you and a PFC at this point- what are you, SPC? You will need some separation when you become an NCO, which is one of the reasons why we like to transfer out Soldiers to other sections/units once they become NCOs. Overfamiliarity can, in many cases, be poison to military leadership.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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The first situation was probably brought on by A) you should have gotten another JR soldier to go with the PFC or B) the manner in how he saw you walking with this PFC (acting like buddies). He is correct in that it is your job to delegate duties, however wrong to explain it as “they are tools to be used”. He may have had a mission for you or wanted you to be doing something else, and was upset in that you were helping a PFC with PFC stuff (losing an ID).

The second situation is also a big issue in “new soldiers”, you need to establish standards and discipline with new soldiers. Just b/c your team has been doing the damn deal for a few years and are first name bases away from the flag pole, does not mean that this PFC will understand that. If the PFC fails to learn the ropes prior to mingling outside the team, you will find yourself on the carpet for him calling the 1Sg bro or some shit (BTDT).

Push the standards on this PFC until he demonstrates to you that he can do the right thing without you being around, when he does you can lax down and become more personal with him. If you do not, I can guarantee you he will come to a point where he will disrespect your rank directly or indirectly and at that point it will be too late. Not only too late for you to correct, but too late for the rest of the leaders in the Army b/c if he will do it to you, he will do it to a LTC.

As for the wall, it’s an imaginary thing that goes away with time. New PFC, new to the environment, new to the rules, new to the standards and new to the Army. Away from home, failing to perform, getting chewed out by his Sgt b/c his Sgt wants him to meet the standard, fellow soldiers think he sucks b/c he does and all of that while missing a girlfriend. It’s not what you are doing as a leader; it’s what the soldier is mentally thinking. That Sgt is just doing his job, those soldiers are just getting use to the new guy and the PFC is learning the ropes.

Hope this helps.
 

TLDR20

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The first person who says you are under "big boy rules" is the first person to throw your ass under the bus when you screw up... Just saying:thumbsdown:
 

Echo

"Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves"
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It's hard to say without knowing a lot more details about the dynamics of your specific team, so my comments are general in nature and are not intended to be critical of you or the way your team does business.

That said, your team is probably way, way too junior to be operating in the manner in which you described. "First name basis, big boy rules, civilian clothes, relaxed grooming standards," my first question would be, "why?" What is it you guys are doing- or think you're doing- that you need to have that kind of operational posture when you have a team with PFCs in it? Sounds like a recipe for disaster- or at least for unnecessary negative attention- to me.

Generally speaking, I loathe the term "big boy rules." Too often the term is a rationalization to excuse poor leadership, especially in the MI world. Big boy rules are dependent on maturity, experience, and professionalism that most Soldiers do not possess- especially young enlisted and junior officers. You will completely ruin most Soldiers by putting them in an unconstrained environment right out of the box on their first assignment. I think your NCO absolutely made the right call.

I'm not sure that a "wall" is necessary between you and a PFC at this point- what are you, SPC? You will need some separation when you become an NCO, which is one of the reasons why we like to transfer out Soldiers to other sections/units once they become NCOs. Overfamiliarity can, in many cases, be poison to military leadership.

Without getting too detailed about the specifics of my team due to OPSEC, I can say I was "General Support" to the manuever unit that had arrived and it wasn't rare that the SF guys on compund would come over and check if we could do some magic with some cell phones and hard drives that they came across or if we just had any info on an area that they were interested in. It was mainly a Force Protection mission but I did find myself out in Helmand conducting "tactical questioning" and "MSO". If you're familiar with HUMINT, we were two teams under a management team. All NCO and above except for me and then the two new soldiers that had just arrived. I covered down to the manuever unit as an MFT augmentee. So only spent the last 4 months of deployment on FP mission.
 

TLDR20

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Without getting too detailed about the specifics of my team due to OPSEC, I can say I was "General Support" to the manuever unit that had arrived and it wasn't rare that the SF guys on compund would come over and check if we could do some magic with some cell phones and hard drives that they came across or if we just had any info on an area that they were interested in. It was mainly a Force Protection mission but I did find myself out in Helmand conducting "tactical questioning" and "MSO". If you're familiar with HUMINT, we were two teams under a management team. All NCO and above except for me and then the two new soldiers that had just arrived. I covered down to the manuever unit as an MFT augmentee. So only spent the last 4 months of deployment on FP mission.

You should read people's profiles and previous posts a little bit prior to talking about experience in certain fields. Just a friendly heads up from one of the few friendly SOF guys on this site.. I don't like being a dick but the lack of SA you have been showing reflects poorly on your initiative and SA in general. In three seperate occasions just tonight I have said something about your lack of SA and/or research abilities. You want to be SF and your reputation begins here. Like I said not high drama yet, but others with more power are not as friendly as I am and the hammer can often fall quickly here.

Edited to add: This same advice goes to any junior enlisted dudes that come on this site. I guarantee you anyone with a green tag under there name is at least an NCO, and prolly a senior one at that, also Marauder 06, if you look at his name and some of his previous posts you would realize that he is a high ranking officer in the intel field. I have never been told this, but I know from some of his older posts(which I read when someone tells/asks me something so that I can further gauge their experience level) that he is both of the aforementioned things. Just a heads up to all the newer/younger/less experienced board members.
 

Echo

"Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves"
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You should read people's profiles and previous posts a little bit prior to talking about experience in certain fields. Just a friendly heads up from one of the few friendly SOF guys on this site.. I don't like being a dick but the lack of SA you have been showing reflects poorly on your initiative and SA in general. In three seperate occasions just tonight I have said something about your lack of SA and/or research abilities. You want to be SF and your reputation begins here. Like I said not high drama yet, but others with more power are not as friendly as I am and the hammer can often fall quickly here.

Edited to add: This same advice goes to any junior enlisted dudes that come on this site. I guarantee you anyone with a green tag under there name is at least an NCO, and prolly a senior one at that, also Marauder 06, if you look at his name and some of his previous posts you would realize that he is a high ranking officer in the intel field. I have never been told this, but I know from some of his older posts(which I read when someone tells/asks me something so that I can further gauge their experience level) that he is both of the aforementioned things. Just a heads up to all the newer/younger/less experienced board members.

Good advice. Never thought of this site affecting my career. Just know that I take all criticism positively. Thanks.
 

x SF med

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...Never thought of this site affecting my career. ...

You did not just say that, did you? :-|

If you are here and/or on PS ...and you have stated you are attempting to get in the pipeline... You have already affected your career and it could have far reaching ripples. Naivete will get you killed or compromised.

Your future instructors and Teammates are here, watching and already evaluating you. I hate to say this your evaluation probably is not looking very good at the moment. Every day is a test and the scores are cumulative. Sometimes failure is death, figuratively and or literally.
 

TLDR20

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This goes for anyone in the SOF pipeline. If you come on here and register especially if you are verified already, do you not think I can find out who you are so when you show up to SFAS/RASP/BUDs/Recon(all of which are represented on this board) and you were an idiot on here I can assess you for it. Just think about it guys.
 

Echo

"Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves"
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This goes for anyone in the SOF pipeline. If you come on here and register especially if you are verified already, do you not think I can find out who you are so when you show up to SFAS/RASP/BUDs/Recon(all of which are represented on this board) and you were an idiot on here I can assess you for it. Just think about it guys.

That was the first thing that came to mind when I considered verification. I'm not trying to offend anyone or pretend I know everything because I sure as hell know I don't. I am looking for a teacher-student environment where everyone can share and relate ideas to one another as well as help future potential SOF candidates. Didn't expect to be scrutinized so directly, but that builds character. Maybe a good thing since I've been in INSCOM the past couple years :mad: Forgot how it feels to get constructive criticism. I will re-evaluate myself, goals, do a little intel gathering before posting, and hopefully be able to build a decent source network here. Hope I haven't ruined my goals too bad.
 

TLDR20

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The point wasn't that you were that jacked up, yet. However what I was trying to do is stop a pattern of your posts, which to me was a pattern of excuses. When given criticism, espescially in the Q course a "Roger that" should really be all that comes out of your mouth. Never an explanation of why you did something. Why you did it isn't important. I honestly do not care at all that you have been in INSCOM for the last few years and can no longer take criticism, and neither will your instructors. If you read the posts that I have posted to you they were friendly and in a Teacher-Student mindset. I am just making you aware that I am honestly one of the most relaxed guys around. This thread is just some light NCOPD from me to you. There is no reason to get your panties in a bunch and stop posting, all I am saying is think before you do so, read about people/ their previous posts in order to better formulate responses.

This goes for everyone: I respect someone who when confronted says "I fucked up" alot more than someone who says, "well I would have but.." or "well they didn't give me the information so..." I and almost every SF guy I know will say the same thing. If I fuck up I will say so right away. I bet X SF MED and SurgicalCric are the same way. Bad information never gets better with time, the same goes with continuing a post by making excuses. Once again this is just some friendly NCOPD, not an ass chewing.
 

Echo

"Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves"
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The point wasn't that you were that jacked up, yet. However what I was trying to do is stop a pattern of your posts, which to me was a pattern of excuses. When given criticism, espescially in the Q course a "Roger that" should really be all that comes out of your mouth. Never an explanation of why you did something. Why you did it isn't important. I honestly do not care at all that you have been in INSCOM for the last few years and can no longer take criticism, and neither will your instructors. If you read the posts that I have posted to you they were friendly and in a Teacher-Student mindset. I am just making you aware that I am honestly one of the most relaxed guys around. This thread is just some light NCOPD from me to you. There is no reason to get your panties in a bunch and stop posting, all I am saying is think before you do so, read about people/ their previous posts in order to better formulate responses.

This goes for everyone: I respect someone who when confronted says "I fucked up" alot more than someone who says, "well I would have but.." or "well they didn't give me the information so..." I and almost every SF guy I know will say the same thing. If I fuck up I will say so right away. I bet X SF MED and SurgicalCric are the same way. Bad information never gets better with time, the same goes with continuing a post by making excuses. Once again this is just some friendly NCOPD, not an ass chewing.

Roger
 

x SF med

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I am looking for a teacher-student environment where everyone can share and relate ideas to one another as well as help future potential SOF candidates.

Not gonna happen there Sparky. Task/Condition/Standard Demonstrate/Walkthrough/Practice/TEST/PASS (ther is no fail). In SFAS you get Task. This ain't TRADOC or INSCOM - no touchy feely high school make sure you pass crap - do or don't that's it. Call me Brother before you graduate the Q and I will cause great grief to be visited upon you and your family - no threat, a promise. If you make it to the Q then you might be able to ask for my help/guidance, SFAS is the pre-test, the gut check, you don't get to pledge until after you get selected. I don't have to be fair, my instructors were legends who brooked no shit. You want the epitome of an SF Soldier - google Robert L Howard, MoH.

Didn't expect to be scrutinized so directly, but that builds character. Maybe a good thing since I've been in INSCOM the past couple years :mad:

You will be scrutinized so hard from the minute you open your pie hole and say I want to go to SFAS until you quit, fail or graduate that you should think ants are constantly crawling up your ass. If you graduate, it only gets worse. You better have Character, Honor and Integrity long before you start this climb - you will lose if you don't start with them fully intact and armored.

Forgot how it feels to get constructive criticism. I will re-evaluate myself, goals, do a little intel gathering before posting, and hopefully be able to build a decent source network here. Hope I haven't ruined my goals too bad.

You will get criticism - you need to self correct, because some of the criticism is meant to hurt, to make you angry, to make you fail. Yeah - the instructors may be trying to make you quit. The evaluators in SFAS watch, no help, no advice, no criticism - TASK (see above).

Go in prepared - but just STFU and get your mind right - SF guys can smell each other, it's all heart you may have to fail a few times - but if it's in you you'll make it
 

Echo

"Be wise as serpents but innocent as doves"
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Googled "A Message to Garcia" and read it. Interesting read. I think there are endless lessons to be learned from this and some that people will probably dispute. The beginning seems to be "mission given and acted upon with no questions asked" type of theme. The middle part of it seemed to relay the fact that people tend to question instructions when given. I can attest to that because I remember when I was a PV2 I used to also ask myself "Really, you want me to do that? Cant you do it yourself?" Years passed and now I understand the role NCOs play as well as Jr enlisted. More than likely he had other more important duties to accomplish without having to worry about these menial tasks. I continued to see this with the newer soldiers and I would pull aside as many as I can to "ease the growing pain". Look back and I should've stayed out and let the NCO handle his squad. Not my lane. Sorry if I ranted but it seemed like a personal experience was applicable. Then it goes on how many people apply for a job knowing damn well they don't possess the skills for the mission (if that's right, that's my fav). Then they find someone who is skilled in a craft, but would be useless if he couldn't get to the location in the first place. If he did, he wouldn't know what to do. "Survival of the fittest. Self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best" (Self explanatory) The end of it is too easy. Do what your told and act on the absence of orders. No questions asked. Do the right thing EVEN WHEN YOU THINK NO ONE'S LOOKING. The world does need more of these people.
 

TLDR20

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Definition of "character," who you are when you think you're operating in the absence of consequences.

Exactly! That and self reliance are what I gathered from reading this. I re-read it again tonight for prolly the 100th time. Everyone at some point struggles with all the things listed here. Everyone is not perfect, I will ask stupid questions from time to time. The point is that you should strive not to.

Another thing to add to this is work ethic. You will see in the Q course your peers who do not want to work. That shit does not fly on a team. I do not just mean sleeping on your fourth day of patrolling(everyone falls asleep eventually) I mean not helping unload the truck, never volunteering to carry a little extra, always sinking to the back when volunteers are asked for. These are the people that you need to peer out, or if you are one don't come here. When you are on a team everyone works. The team sgt helps unload the truck after the range the same as the cherry ass E-5. Same goes for the CPT and the Warrant. No one goes in and cracks a beer till everyone is done working. These are things that are hard to understand until you have been on a team. On another note if you show up to a team you will know jack shit about nothing. You also won't know a freaking person in group(and in group it is all about who you know). You will be given "menial tasks" by your team daddy, and you will have no idea how to accomplish them, but you will be expected to do them. You will figure it out or perish. Life is not at all glamorous when you show up to group, in fact it fucking sucks. You do every shit job/detail that comes down. But you suck it up and drive on, because every dude in that hallway has done the same stupid shit.

Alot of dudes expect a different life when they show up to a team then they really receive, you will realize that you can drive through it to no thanks, no good job, and nothing but maybe the eventual "Insulation" phase of being a new guy. That is a good day when one of the old dogs finally sticks up for you. It is a great day.

Echo: Your next assignment is to edit the spelling and punctuation of your above posting, attention to detail is important, as is your ability to communicate effectively.
 

x SF med

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Definition of "character," who you are when you think you're operating in the absence of consequences.

Except... there are always consequences. We do not operate in a vacuum- morally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. Character is made up of those parts. Honor is how they fit together in your character.
In physics: For every action, there is an equal yet opposite reaction.
In Economics: Everything has a cost -whether it is financial, temporal, mental, emotional or physical.
Morally: The effect may be to others or to yourself, but there is an effect of your actions, be those actions right or wrong.
I will leave out my takes on emotion and spiritiuality - they are personal and less concrete than the others. Know your emotional limits, and be right with your God are good generic ways to phrase it.

The difference between sheepdogs and wolves is that the sheepdogs are willing to die for sheep they will never know, wolves will only die for their pack.
 
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