28 June 2008

LEADERSHIP 101: Who makes a good leader?

From the Soldier & the Cop side: Having been a cop for about 29+ years and a soldier for about 20, one question that also pops up in these jobs (besides "how many people have you killed") is:
What is the most difficult part of either job?
Well, I like both my cop job and what I do for the Army National Guard. I think, most of the time I do both jobs well. However, the one common point that has come up, that not only frustrates me, but makes either job much more difficult is - Bad Leadership!

Please don't get me wrong. In both jobs I have had some really good leaders. Some I would go anywhere with and trust to take care of me. There are a few others who are at the top of my list of what I call "useless pieces of shit." These "leaders" were, or still are, out for themselves. One big difference between police work in California and the Army in general, in police work they do psychological screening. I always thought that the military would be so much better if they required this type of screening before a person could get promoted above a certain rank. Think about this for a minute--- do you think we have some people leading lots of troops with lots of guns and things that could kill and destroy who have a mental problem? I'm certain of it.

Here's a case in point.... if you haven't noticed, almost all people who have some kind of mental illness are only concerned with one person in life- themselves. When a person is placed in a leadership roll in either police work or the military, they must take care of their troops. How can a selfcenteredpieceofshit do that? They can't.

Fort Irwin, Summer a few years after the First Gulf War was over: My National Guard Engineer company was out in the desert playing with the regular Army. We were in armored vehicles (M113s) about 20 miles from the main post. During this training, all vehicles were equipped with the new MILES gear. This was an expensive "laser tag" device that would register when a vehicle was hit with a blank charge by the enemy "OPOR."
The vehicles were also equipped with a tracking device, so the graders could monitor the movements of each unit. This could be digitally played back later to show what was done right and what was done wrong.
During the Field Training Exercise (FTX) we were out in the desert for several days in a row. We had nothing to eat but MREs and the water we carried on our vehicles. I had a portable stove to make coffee for my guys in the morning. But we had to struggle to even get enough water each day.
Then there was one SFC, Sergeant First Class (E-7) who had his own Humvee. One morning he decides to get up early and drive his truck 20 miles back to the main post. He didn't know that the observers could follow the movements of his truck and they watched him drive all the way back to Burger King.
Now, if it was me, I would have picked up breakfast for my guys and coffee for anyone who needed it.
The SFC pulled into the drive up window and the observers hit the "KILL" button on his truck and all the flashing strobe lights and tones went off. He had to drive all the way back with the lights and noise.
What did he bring back? 1 breakfast sandwich and 1 cup of coffee for himself.

After that, nobody had any use for that asshole. He was not a leader, he was out for himself. We had a few "leaders" like him in Bosnia and Iraq. The difference in Iraq is people like this would get troops killed for no reason. It's bad enough fighting an enemy, we should never have to suffer from bad leadership. I'm sure everyone in uniform knows a few. Useless leaders out for themselves.

(Now this SFC could have easily gone to "Hero" status if he had just brought back coffee for the rest of us.)

1 comment:

J said...

from Lincoln's Lyceum Address,
1838:

"If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher."

Self-serving, bad leadership can be more destructive than a foreign enemy. We're just attacking ourselves from within.
That goes for all walks of life...family, military, whatever.