Toxic Leadership

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by bobthebuilder, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. bobthebuilder

    bobthebuilder Member

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    I'm talking generalities here, but it seems like certain immature cadets view leadership as putting themselves ahead of others, bragging, and putting on a show, constantly talk about themselves with TMI etc. Their main purpose is self serving, to be the best at all costs, and to make sure everyone knows they are better. There are other cadets that are modest that are in fact better than these individuals, and are good positive leaders. They positively influence those around them, develop and motivate others etc. Unfortunately, those individuals in the former category get encouragement from cadre (I'm not criticizing cadre, they probably don't see this) further ingraining their toxic behavior. They tend to be teacher's pets with the cadre, whom don't necessarily see that side of their behavior.

    If this is their behavior in ROTC, it is likely to translate to their career as an officer and difficult to reverse. Individuals such as this typically end up on top, and anyone that interferes have little to gain. If someone told him to tone it down, he would probably just tell them to shut up or cast them as being jealous. Perhaps this can just be chalked up to lack of maturity, but plenty of people never grow out of it. What is the solution?

    Also, to be clear, there is nothing wrong with excelling and working hard to be the best at something. It is just the way one goes about doing it and the intention.
     
  2. DoctorShrinker

    DoctorShrinker Member

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    Probably just about being young. People change, people's views shift.

    Highschool and you could say even the application processes for many SAs inadvertantly promotes self-service. It's all a big competition to see who can come out on top, for some people, especially those who want to get into a prestigious school. Not everyone can have an officer or presidential position- only those elected, and those elected are typically the most qualified. Not everyone can be a varsity captain, only those qualified and so on...

    Over time, it probably wears off. Cadets understand that the more important things in life are getting the job done and doing it as best you can.
     
  3. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American 5-Year Member

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    That's a rant. Try focusing on the good people rather than obsessing about the substandard ones.

     
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  4. parentalunit2

    parentalunit2 5-Year Member

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    Welcome to life, and the workplace.
     
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  5. unkown1961

    unkown1961 Member

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    It's gets bad at Field Training as well. One hopes that these people are sorted out because they'll make the worst leaders since they'll be expecting the same butt kissing they gave to commanders, and this shuts down independent thinking or letting the emperor know he has no clothes.
     
  6. billyb

    billyb 5-Year Member

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    Your best takeaway from this is to understand their leadership style and not mimic it yourself. You can learn there is a wrong way to do things and a right way. Log their behavior as wrong. Also, in the real military a lot of that stuff gets flushed out. Kissing butt doesn't make up for not top performance. Hang in there and keep on doing things positively. Others will notice it and will mimic your behavior.
     
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  7. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    There will always be a couple like this in every unit, it will frustrate the heck out of you, and yes they will get the same kudos from leadership that they received from their cadre again frustrating you. The best you can do is be the best leader "You" can be.
     
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  8. Humey

    Humey Member

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    Interesting topic. When my son was a pitcher on his High School baseball team. For whatever reason, his coach who he had played for the last last 2 years, took a dislike to him(this occurred senior year) . The coach's main problem with my son (according to the coach) was that when my son was in the dugout, he basically sat there and didnt cheer on the team. There were plenty of players who stood up and cheered loudly supporting the batters. My son never did that. This bothered the coach because it gave him the impression that my son didnt care. What the coach never saw was when some of the players screwed up (especially the other pitchers) and were down on themselves with some even crying, it was my son, who calmed them down and gave them the pep talk to realize it wasnt the end of the world. That is my son, he doesnt like to be in the center of attention (funny for a pitcher) but was always there for his teammates when they needed help. He wasnt going to be the guy screaming like other others guys during the game. My point is that there are many different ways to lead. This may not work in the Air Force, but I know that when my son helps it is from his heart and not because someone told him to cheer.

    When he went to Air Force Field Training, they told him that when he was put into a leadership position, he did a great job. What they wanted to see more from him was when he wasnt in a leadership position, to more a leader.
     
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  9. billyb

    billyb 5-Year Member

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    Humey- what your son has is called Quiet Competence. His soldiers will know benefit from it and in the end, so will he. Good luck to him!
     
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  10. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe 5-Year Member

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    I can give you an example from my older son's experience.

    Son was a Platoon Leader of an OH-58 Kiowa Troop, there were several new LTs that were new PLs. The Commander had his favorites as sometimes happens. When my son had his first OER as a PL he was flat out told that by the Commander that he had 3 LTs that he would be giving top blocks. Son was told that he did not have an aggressive enough leadership style (Didn't yell enough) and that the Warrants in his Troop liked him too much, this sort of well, pissed him off a bit, he told me that not being hated was something he could live with. He laughed and said that when he would sometimes walk into a room of Warrants he would hear then joking about ways to maroon their PL out in the wilderness.

    I asked him about his relationship with his Warrants and enlisted, he said they all got along great and he never had any issues getting them to do what needed to be done, he said he would not have it any other way. He said that one of his Warrants once told him that they knew just how far they could push things because they would see his eye twitch and they knew at that point just to do what was asked, son said he only had to raise his voice about twice and even then it was nothing like he heard from some of the other LTs.

    Now the interesting thing about this is that my son was the first LT in his Year Group to make Pilot in Command, while in Korea they had a company wide competition during a large field exercise, Son's Troop got First Place with top scores across the board. Did all this without having the "Aggressive Leadership Style" While not getting the Top Block ratings on his OER, his leadership style and personality is what got him selected during the Civil Affairs Selection Course, one of the LTs that did have that coveted aggressive style, well he was not selected.

    In the end what he accomplished while a PL followed him and he is now in a much better place. You'll run into this from time to time, but as I mentioned before just be the best you can be and stay true to your own style.
     
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  11. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    Not really sure what the OP is asking of us. Your prior posts indicate you have just completed your first year of ROTC. Whether in the military or private sector, you will most likely interact with a wide variety of personalities and behaviors. I would focus more of doing the best you can and not get side-tracked when you happen to interact with some who aren't conducting themselves the way you think they should.
     
  12. Humey

    Humey Member

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    What I have always found interesting is the concept of leaders. Now, for the military academies and ROTC, I get that leadership abilities is important because as soon as they get commissioned they are going to lead men and women. It is part of the job requirement. However, the leadership idea extends into the civilians schools in both leadership ability and how the student will change the school. I always thought that concept was ridiculous. Not the concept but that colleges are so interested in this. First because most people arent leaders and secondly there is old saying "Too many Indian Chiefs and not enough Indians". I cant image any school working where everyone acts or thinks they are a leader. If someone is going to lead, someone has to follow. And yet the school acts like the perfect student candidate is someone who spends all their time in leadership positions. That other concept that civilians schools always talk about is how the student will benefit the school. I dont know about you but I highly doubt that my son is going to make any change to how his 50,000 student campus works. Yet, every college and university seems to harp on these ideas. I am not saying that these concepts are bad, but the reality is that most schools want their students to pay their tuition, go to class, attend school sponsored events, promote the school and have their parents make donations to the school when the school calls.
     
  13. Full Metal Bulldog

    Full Metal Bulldog 5-Year Member

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    1. Don't be a jerk. Ever.
    2. If you don't know, ask. For some reason everyone forgets this. Your Platoon Sergeant is there to help you learn the technical and tactical things to, not just enforce your plan.
    3. As a LT, if your Commander is a jerk, and your Platoon Sergeant doesn't know the answer, ask Top. And if that doesn't work, every unit has a whole bunch of staff sections and even a Sergeant Major or two floating around. Ask for help. People want you to succeed.

    I see my peers being so afraid of appearing incompetent that they mask any possible ignorance with aggression, with the expected results and mental picture. Everyone knows you're brand new. Asking questions shows trust in peers and subordinates and openness to teamwork. Your soldiers will never "respect you less" if they see you working with your PSG, Chief, or another NCO willing to help to come up with a plan.

    I'll get off my soapbox now. Just a subject I'm passionate about after 4 years of an SMC and a year and a half of Active Duty. Some of these guys/gals are just need to chill and work with others more. Everyone already knows you're in charge.
     
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  14. Sled

    Sled Member

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    Be the leader that you want to be and do your best not to worry about others. Sometimes that trait will wear off with time and sometimes it won't so much. I know that if I had that attitude as a new LT, I would be put in place very very quickly. So let them experience that themselves I guess.
     
  15. nofodad

    nofodad 5-Year Member

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    Don't focus on the bragging jackoffs, they're everywhere, not just the military. Awesome people rarely tell you how awesome they are...be true to yourself, that will help you be the best leader possible.
     
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