Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Praxis: Small Unit Leadership

This just in from Dr. Enigma:

For those that aspire to be a "leader" the following items have helped form and maintain effective organizations throughout the years. It doesn't matter what size your group is--these principles work.

1 - Lead by Example! Actions will speak much louder than your words. Remember your own role models and know that as a leader, you will be a role model for those you lead whether you like it or not. You will be known and remembered as either effective or worthless. It's totally up to you to determine which category you fall into. You must exhibit the following strengths: Courage (the ability to act in spite of your fear); integrity; accountability; authenticity, humanity, and sound judgment.

2 - Communicate! Help your people understand individually and as a team how their skills, abilities and even their presence contributes to the success of your mission. Everyone brings something to the "table"; each man is viewed as too valuable to lose. Trying to make people quit is not conducive to group cohesion. Even if some don't agree with an assigned mission/task, understanding that mission will help them help you complete the mission. Remember, disagreement within a group before a decision is made is not disloyalty!

3 - Trust Your People and Demonstrate They Can Trust You! This is not so easy sometimes, but you as the leader must extend trust first so that your people will come to trust you. Hand over responsibility and delegate authority to your subordinate leaders and even those who don't have a "title". Allow failure during training (provided it does not compromise your mission) because learning occurs by doing something until it's done right. Keep confidences; don't 'blab' to others when another confides in you. This does not mean to take problems you can't handle to the next higher level or to a more expert person; rather, it means that private things should stay private.

4 - Salutes Don't Mean Shit (usually)! If you have pursued leadership because you like "being the boss" and having people "salute" you in various ways, do everyone a favor and fire yourself! Any leader who requires courtesy and respect has never learned or has forgotten that courtesy and respect are things to be earned. I've said this before, but we will have NO "FMJ DI's" in the MPA! Men follow courage, intellect, and someone they know will do whatever it takes to keep them alive. Look for results, initiative, dedication, and enthusiasm from your men. These are much more valuable than having your ass kissed. Value the unsolicited 'salute' from your group, whether it's a pat on the back, an offer of a cup of coffee, or the traditional greeting between warriors. It's 100 times more valuable than a Pavlovian conditioned responses to a "Needermeier".

5 - Take Calculated Risks! Evaluate the risks to ensuring what you and your men do achieves maximum result. Don't worry or wait for the "guaranteed result", because if you do, someone will take the initiative away from you and kick your ass off of Pt A, let alone stop you from getting to Pt B.

6 - Standard Operating Procedures are BASELINES of Performance, NOT engraved in STONE! View all SOP's as a guideline that can change as rapidly as the situation develops. Encourage everyone in your team to come up with new and better ways to do something, and, after trying it out and 'proofing' the idea, share it with the rest of the group.

7 - LISTEN to your People! Make every effort to understand what you're being told. Some folks are more hesitant than others to say what needs to be said. Ask for clarification, and NEVER shoot the messenger! Encourage your people to tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

8 - Discourage Stagnation! Encourage growth in your men. Discuss, debate, learn, force the mind outward. Why? It makes the team stronger! Someone wants to be a HAM? GO FOR IT! Someone wants to learn SAR (Strategic Asshole Removal aka 'long range shooting'), GO FOR IT! Just ensure that everyone on the team maintains their current skill requirements because everyone is a RIFLEMAN first, last and always, and then everything else is gravy!

9 - Develop Group Loyalty! Never punish personality; never deal with "attitude" (this is an intangible thing), but NEVER allow unacceptable behavior, practices, or performance in your men. You can be as firm as you'd like on performance, just remember: Correct in private -- Praise in public! Never hold back well-earned praise from men who deserve it. Even when they act like they don't like it.

10 - Allow Stress Relief! Otherwise known as "grabass" on occassion when it's apparent to you your men need to "let off some steam"; just keep it under control so the mission is completed.

11 - NEVER FORGET what it's like to be LOW MAN ON THE TOTEM POLE with a self-absorbed, demanding JERK for a Boss! (Self explanatory.)

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