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Sabre

Pulling Rank is the Holdout of the Weak

Rating: 5 votes, 5.00 average.
I have been asked recently why I lead the way I do. I figured there would be no better place than to discuss it in my very own CadetWorld Blog. I encourage constructive

DISCLAIMER:

Regardless of your opinion of the PERSON, always respect the RANK. Ranks are absolute. Address anyone by thier title, salute the officers, and if you don't have something CONSTRUCTIVE to say, keep your trap shut. I do not encourage, endorse, or enjoy disrespect. In fact, that's the opposite goal of this entry.

MY OPINION

Rank is not equal to respect. Ever. I have more respect for some Lance Corporals than I do for some Officers. It's all about how you treat people, and how you behave.

MY METHODS:

I never, ever, pull rank in a situation that can be resoved by calm reasoning. I will always ask politely the first time, explain the reason the task is being done, and usually nobody cares about my rank. I give complements publicly, and criticism privately (as much as is possible). I rarely have to raise my voice (except calling drill). I will always voice my opinion, either to give a superior my plans to solve a problem, or to inform them of another option than their own. I will always do what I say I will do, or I will have serious, detailed explinations of the reasons I failed.

OTHER METHODS:

I frown upon two kinds of senior cadets:

1. The kind that just yell and boss their way thorough everything. It kills morale, and it kills any respect you have from your troops. Respect is earned thorough actions and words, not stripes and crowns. Be respectful to your troops, and they will have your back when you need them.

2. Suck-ups. Senior cadets that follow orders without question. I always, ALWAYS, let my superiors know what I think of an idea. The key to this is, again, respect. If you blatantly disobey the orders of your CO in front of the troops... that's not good. If you calmly ask to speak to them privately, then discuss your issue in a reasonable tone, they will often be very understanding. Officers are people too. They make mistakes too. And they will appreciate it (usually) if you catch their mistakes for them, so long as you do it privately and respectfully. Senior cadets are often afraid of doing this, simply agreeing with the superior so they "don't get in trouble". This is a mistake, and if the superior has made a mistake, then things will go wrong. If things go wrong, they will blame their subordinates, and that is... you. Save yourself the trouble, speak your mind, and catch mistakes early, because I would rather have a Mcpl who is always on the ball, than a WO who does nothing but agree with me.

SIMPLE RULES TO FOLLOW

1. Rank is not equal to respect. Ever.
2. Give what you want to receive.
3. Always speak your mind. Politely and Privately.
4. Be dependable, be reliable, be accurate.
5. Fortune favours the bold.

C/WO Chadwick Cairns
Company Segeant Major
3125 Calgary Highlanders

Updated 6th February 2011 at 00:34 by Sabre

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Comments

  1. DrillGOD822 -
    DrillGOD822's Avatar
    Totally agree with your opinions. A similar situation happened but this one was over rank vs. position (parade wise). If I'm talking to someone or giving my opinion on something I would remain neutral in any given situation. Pulling rank isn't ALWAYS the top option
  2. Grunt -
    Grunt's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by DrillGOD822
    Totally agree with your opinions. A similar situation happened but this one was over rank vs. position (parade wise). If I'm talking to someone or giving my opinion on something I would remain neutral in any given situation. Pulling rank isn't ALWAYS the top option
    Except in rock paper scissors. Rock paper rank.
    Or if someone calls shotgun and is a lower rank, just say your rank and take it.
  3. AdventBlade -
    AdventBlade's Avatar
    This is good. In fact, very good. There's a lot of thought that went into this. I'm afraid though, that most of the time my junior cadets in my squadron would presume that I'm too harsh on them since I'm usually the loudest one correcting. On the other hand, your simple rules to follow are excellent. I wish that most of the NCOs in my squadron were like you
  4. CWO Russell -
    CWO Russell's Avatar
    Its a good point. Using your rank as the only basis for your cadets following you implies that they are following the Crown on that arm and not the person wearing it. I understand you should be honest with your superiors about a decision, and give your honest opinion regarding it, but there a few things you should never lose sight of:

    - One is this. Your superiors owe you the courtesy as a Senior NCO that they should listen to your opinion. Your superiors don't owe you the obligation of agreeing with your point of view, or changing their perspective because you have a different one. At the end of the day, feel free to be sour if your superiors don't offer you the oppurtunity to have your two cents, but whether if your two cents dosen't alter, influence, or affect their decision in anyway, you must respect that decision, adapt and overcome, or call it a cadet career.

    - Command and Leadership are two very different concepts. A method of principle I've always taught my seniors is that the idea of Leadership is met with the concept of "Getting someone to do what I want, because you want to do it", while the concept of Command is met with the concept of "Do as I say because of my rank". I've always taught my cadets that Excersizing leadership is your primary tool as a senior cadet, but you WILL have to excersize command. I can promise you, that etheir at the home unit or the CSTC you will have to excersize command at some point. Sometimes in order for progress to be made, you will have to excersize command.

    - Remember, your opinion can't influence everybody. A key concept is that you need to make the cadets, more specifically the seniors feel valued. But an issue you see nowadays is that the cadet is made to feel like their opinions should have an immediate impact on every member of the unit. The best things you can do is understand that as a subordinate to someone, you have impact on the superior directly above you. It carries though, Opinion of the Section 2IC impacts the Section Commander, just like the RSM.'s opinion impacts the CO's, and the CSM's opinion impacts the RSM's. The worst thing you can do is set up unrealistic expectations of not so much how much their voice will be heard, but who their opinion will impact. To be a Section Commander and expect a large DIRECT impact on the RSM is an unrealistic expectation.


    I'm not saying you weren't aware of these things, but its food for thought, and some key points I've learned about while I was a cadet. I like the blog however, it really highlights the importance of excersizing command as a last resort if its needed, but Leadership should be your first tool.
  5. Teh_Jackson -
    Teh_Jackson's Avatar
    Great blog. I really wish more people had your attitude. the other CPO2 at my corp almost exclusivly relies on command over leadership, needless to say it causes problems.
  6. Sabre -
    Sabre's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CWO Russell
    Its a good point. Using your rank as the only basis for your cadets following you implies that they are following the Crown on that arm and not the person wearing it. I understand you should be honest with your superiors about a decision, and give your honest opinion regarding it, but there a few things you should never lose sight of:

    - One is this. Your superiors owe you the courtesy as a Senior NCO that they should listen to your opinion. Your superiors don't owe you the obligation of agreeing with your point of view, or changing their perspective because you have a different one. At the end of the day, feel free to be sour if your superiors don't offer you the oppurtunity to have your two cents, but whether if your two cents dosen't alter, influence, or affect their decision in anyway, you must respect that decision, adapt and overcome, or call it a cadet career.

    - Command and Leadership are two very different concepts. A method of principle I've always taught my seniors is that the idea of Leadership is met with the concept of "Getting someone to do what I want, because you want to do it", while the concept of Command is met with the concept of "Do as I say because of my rank". I've always taught my cadets that Excersizing leadership is your primary tool as a senior cadet, but you WILL have to excersize command. I can promise you, that etheir at the home unit or the CSTC you will have to excersize command at some point. Sometimes in order for progress to be made, you will have to excersize command.

    - Remember, your opinion can't influence everybody. A key concept is that you need to make the cadets, more specifically the seniors feel valued. But an issue you see nowadays is that the cadet is made to feel like their opinions should have an immediate impact on every member of the unit. The best things you can do is understand that as a subordinate to someone, you have impact on the superior directly above you. It carries though, Opinion of the Section 2IC impacts the Section Commander, just like the RSM.'s opinion impacts the CO's, and the CSM's opinion impacts the RSM's. The worst thing you can do is set up unrealistic expectations of not so much how much their voice will be heard, but who their opinion will impact. To be a Section Commander and expect a large DIRECT impact on the RSM is an unrealistic expectation.

    I'm not saying you weren't aware of these things, but its food for thought, and some key points I've learned about while I was a cadet. I like the blog however, it really highlights the importance of excersizing command as a last resort if its needed, but Leadership should be your first tool.
    Everything you have said is very true. I have run into several situations where my leadership has not been enough, and I was forced to resort to command. I never like doing it though, because this organization is, by definition, a volounteer one.

    I also understand quite well that my opinion might not have the desired effect on my peers and superiors. But it is always better to try then to not try. If you succeed, you succeed, if you fail... at least you have the fact that you gave it every reasonable effort to keep your karma clean.

    I always listen to both sides in a dispute, regardless of how bad it may seem. I always ask for the input of my subordinates and my superiors. It doesn't always influence my descision, but at least all of my people leave at the end of the day feeling like they had some input. That's important for morale.

    I quote:

    "Grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to be able to tell the difference." - Anonomous
  7. CWO Russell -
    CWO Russell's Avatar
    One often leads to the other. A senior cadet who can provide proper leadership often is able to achieve the effect of command with the right degree of respect. Once you've established yourself as a leader that others can respect and follow, those in your charge will often follow on the basis you've proven reliable before. Sometimes the concept of Command is effect when applied in the right area's. Command is best excersized with the enforcement of things that truly are standardized to hell. Things such as

    - Drill (Drill has one standard, and one standard only. Emphasising command here impresses upon cadets that "This is how its done")

    - Certain aspects of Deportment such as the Rank and Name rule. When I was a Sergeant at the home unit, I was once called Russell by a Corporal. This is the conversation that followed:

    "My first name is Sergeant, Corporal Bloggins. I'm sure you know that by now."


    Command proves its most effective when excersized in small amounts, in regards to things that are very rigidly standardized, like the two examples cited above.

    But Command and Leadership can easily work hand in hand. Now remember just because you would rely on one before the other (ie. Leadership first, followed by Command) dosen't mean one proves more important. There are always some risks in losing that balance, let me explain those to you right now.

    Leadership: Excersize constant leadership with no Command presence, and you may wind up with a group of subordinates who lose sight of the fact that you are an authority as well as a leader. Your "orders" may quickly become "suggestions" and while your seniors might respect you, when command is needed they may have lost sight of the rank on your shoulder.

    Command: Excersize command with no Leadership presence, and you suddenly become unapproachable. Communication becomes difficult or maybe even non-existant because your subordinates feel uncomfortable passing information to you. Also, those who excersize command often find themselves having no room for error. Now by all means, every leader tries his best to avoid error, but nobodies perfect and it will happen that the ball won't nesecarilly be dropped, but maybe fubmled a little. But to one who excersizes constant command on his followers and drops hammers on them when they make errors, when that senior drops or fumbles the ball, they won't find their followers thinking "Chief Bloggins never drops the ball, so a little mistake is okay", he'll get "That hypocrite. You would've tore into me for that".


    Now by no means did I have less than the best for my seniors. When I was RSM, I passed NO faults, but when you rely on command to achieve that sense of "Perfection" for lack of a better word, you'll soon discover that command without leadership might achieve that until you yourself make a mistake.
  8. Dubois N -
    Dubois N's Avatar
    Great article WO Cairns, I agree with most things said and I agree with Russells opinion as well. All the rules listed are great examples to follow for any cadet, and officer even.

    Congrats on the promotion by the way.

    c/MWO Dubois
  9. Sabre -
    Sabre's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by CDT_Dubois
    Great article WO Cairns, I agree with most things said and I agree with Russells opinion as well. All the rules listed are great examples to follow for any cadet, and officer even.

    Congrats on the promotion by the way.

    c/MWO Dubois
    I agree with Russell as well. I wrote this to be informative, and I don't know everything. Other opinions and extra information are always welcome.

    Thank you.

    Meow
    Updated 8th February 2011 at 09:54 by Sabre
  10. nielsenk -
    nielsenk's Avatar
    very good blog entry!
  11. sam.shepherd2379 -
    sam.shepherd2379's Avatar
    I agree to nearly everything that you've said regarding respect, leadership over command, and calmly dealing with situations fairly.

    However I do disagree with your philosophy regarding questions seniors. It's good to question, yes, because it can turn situations better. But that doesn't mean you question everything you disagree or don't see eye-eye with.

    Now forgive me if I'm being too military in my idealism and not quite 'Cadet' enough, but my view is that you should only question a senior if you feel that they truly are making a mistake with serious consequences, that could affect safety or seriously injure the respect for that individual.

    If it's a minor thing that you feel could be done in a more productive way, then keep your mouth shut. In the military (as I'm sure you've heard) some seniors get their troops to paint rocks. Why you may ask? To get their troops to do as they're told without question, because in the field this is vital to survival that you follow orders. Now this is done on the idea that these seniors know what they're doing. The same can not be said for all cadets NCO's. I've met quite a few useless seniors in my time, and even as a Corporal I knew more than them. But that didn't/doesn't matter. They're higher, and unless it's going to hurt someone else, let them make their mistakes. You learn from your own mistakes better than someone else advising you against it.
  12. chelseaallen -
    chelseaallen's Avatar
    This is probably the most real post i have seen in CW...
    I just saw last night a Coxswain of a different Cadet Corps discipline his senior hands over a status on Facebook, and his reasoning was "I am the Coxswain, I will do what I want, and if you don't like it, get out or shut up"

    There is no reason to be disrespectful to people, and there is no reason to yell at them. I really don't understand why people say "That's yes chief and do it!."
  13. Thesite2 -
    Thesite2's Avatar
    This is really an awesome way to lead, and I will always remember those rules as I move on in my cadet career. Thanks!
  14. ThatPerson -
    ThatPerson's Avatar
    This is a great way to look at "Rank" and leading! I'll be sure to always keep this in mind as I move forward In my cadet career.
  15. StealthMaestro -
    StealthMaestro's Avatar
    All, I ran across this BLOG today and would like to add a couple of comments to the string, hoping to spark it back to life for future debates.
    First and foremost to WO Cairns (likely no longer active in the cadet system) great job in putting these notes down and sparking the debate, very well written with some fine examples, seems you have a decent grasp on leadership.
    That said, leadership doesn't always link directly to the rank a member holds. I've witnessed many junior personnel leading personnel of higher rank than them, it all comes down to how you approach and treat them.
    Regarding questioning all decisions - as a senior leader, it is imperative that you have the ability to work within the Command Team and fully understand the intent of your Commanders' orders. Providing input is definitely necessary but not always required in every instance.
    Hope this addition the BLOG gets it going again for current serving members so they can add a little more knowledge and leadership to their tool belts.
    Again, great job on this BLOG and best of luck to all in your future endeavors.
    CPO1 Steve Wist
    Royal Canadian Navy