20 April 2011

Small Team Leadership 101

Some old guy I know has put togeather a short book in the Kindle on Small Team Leadership. If you don't have an Amazon Kindle, you can download the software for free and read it on a computer, I-Pad etc.


04 April 2011

A few good Leaders....OIF 2005

From the Soldier side: I should start my thoughts on leadership by first talking about some of the BEST leaders I’ve had in my jobs. I know it’s so easy to forget the good ones and remember the horror stories of the bad leaders.

In 2005 when I was a little over half way through my one year tour in Iraq, I got slightly injured. I wish I could say the injury was from something exciting and all, but it was only a strained back from falling on my ass in a Marine Am-Trak when the driver did a very hard turn.

So I was back in Baghdad and the doctor told me to stay on light duty for at least a few weeks. Since there was a shortage of experienced NCOs who were doing my type of work (mess kit repair) they had to find a replacement for me. One of my old buddies who I had deployed to Bosnia with was stuck in the Operations Management Team office, and he asked if he could take over my team for awhile. I was glad to have him do it and the boss approved it.
Getting trucks ready for the Morning commute to work

But I was soon to learn that the office I was taking over as the NCOIC (Non Commissioned Officer in Charge) was more than dysfunctional. Not screwed up because of my friend, but some of the junior officers they had stuck in the office to keep from doing too much damage. They had replaced (fired) at least 3 officers and I was there with the worst. The worst turned out to be pregnant and got sent home after only being in Iraq for 3 weeks!!! WTF? Oh well, it was best for all she went home.

So who did they send in to be the OIC (Officer in Charge)? A really great WO 3 (Warrant Officer 3) who had been doing our business for many years and was extremely good at it.

The WO 3, whom I called “Chief” was very laid back, but he was an expert. If ever I didn’t know what to do, I could ask him and he ALWAYS had the right answer.

One day, one of the teams who went out into Baghdad 5-6 days a week had returned to camp. The team leader was very upset and so were some of the others. I noticed the team leader get out of his Humvee and start kicking the tires and he looked very mad. I let him vent for a bit, then walked up to him and asked what was wrong.

He told me about the dumbass gunner and what he’d done that day. (The gunner was mentally challenged and did something stupid on a daily basis.) I asked the team leader if he wanted to take care of the discipline or he wanted me to do it. He said: “I’m an NCO now, I will take care of it, but can you give me some advice on what I can and cannot do?”

Sure. Don’t kill him or beat him where it shows.

The problem was taken care of in a professional manner at the lowest level. Later that night, the Chief (who knew everything that went on) asked me if he needed to do anything. I told him: “Chief, it’s NCO business….all taken care of.”

He said: “Good, that’s what NCOs are supposed to do.”

He knew exactly what the problem with the dumbass gunner had been and he had even figured out how the team leader had corrected the problem and was good with it.

(in this case, the gunner had to dismount and cover the team on a foot movement. However, the gunner had gotten too damn fat and couldn’t keep up with the team –only walking a few Klicks…so the team leader took fatass out every morning and ran with him until he was back in shape.)

In this case, the team leader did good, the Chief did good and the problem was fixed without it going on the gunner’s record.

01 April 2011


From the Cop & Soldier side: A while back, somebody suggest that I write a book on military/ law enforcement leadership. Who the hell would read it. If I did write such a book, it would not be some pretty fluff crap that foo foo cops and soft soldiers could use in a leadership course. It would be the kind of book that those who lead small teams or groups would want to read to make sure they got the job done.

In all the leadership duties I was put into under critical times, I NEVER demanded to be in charge. They way I ended up in charge and un-fucking things was, my boss put me in charge without askin’ or I jumped up and took over before things really turned to shit. (see, that’s how I’d have to write the book, so no official leadership course would allow such language.)

I never thought as either a soldier or a cop I’d become a leader. Not just a leader, but I actually lead troops in combat and hostile area. I’ve lead cops into deadly events, and lots of daily stuff that we just took as part of the job. My leadership skills are not perfect. But I worked for some really good leaders (who I took ideas from) and really shitty leaders (who I made damn sure I didn’t do anything like that did.)

The best leaders are those who put the mission and their troops first. The worst are those who put themselves first, mission second and their people last. I’m sure if you are, or ever have been a cop or in the military, you can picture what I’m talking about.

I've done some stories in the past and I plan on doing a few post on some of the best leaders I’ve worked for and some of the worst.

Standing by for comments….CI Roller Dude