Sunday, September 5, 2010

Leadership - Bring Your A-Game!!!

I've spent the past two years in AFROTC taking orders, and I've gotten quite used to it. I enjoy being assigned a task, and doing well at it. It's always easier than a college alternative such as another math test.

This summer, I went to Field Training, AFROTC's version of boot camp.  As with all intense military training, there was plenty of yelling and on-the-spot correction. As you stand at attention with your back to the wall, listening to cadets around you get chewed out for minor errors (and get some words your way too), you start to think that the senior cadets yelling at you really have it made. Honestly, who wouldn't want to spend a few minutes as a drill seargent?
(I'm back right.  Can't you see I'm having a boatload of fun?)

It's not all yelling in AFROTC. Most time is spent in calmer training modes. And as I have spent two years in this training, I have noted positives and negatives of the cadets over me. So after Field Training, I wasn't really wanting to yell at the freshman and sophomores. I wanted to be a good quality mentor/trainer, taking the years of experience that I have and giving them quality instruction. Trying to implement continual process improvement in AFROTC training.

It's harder than it seems. We're two weeks into drill instruction, and it's been an eye-opening two weeks.

You take something as simple as drill and ceremony. You can't just instruct it how you learned it. While you are learning from someone else, you just have to track with them and follow what they say. You have to go with their flow, and react to what's going on around you.

When the tables turn and everyone is looking at you for instruction, you have to create the flow. You have to create the training environment, from the ground up. You have to look at the faces of those you are instructing, and read them to see if they are catching on to what you are saying, and when you see their blank stares, you have to adjust to meet them where they are.  At times you stumble for words and race in your mind to remember a regulation or procedure.

Three drill sessions in, and I am starting to get my footing. I have had three groups of cadets who need remedial drill instruction before they join the rest of the cadets in practice. I have worked with other experienced cadets to provide quality instruction for them, and each time I have gotten a little more confident in my new leadership capacity.

There comes a time when everybody gets to move up the ladder of power and authority. Just so happens, its a LOT less stable the higher you climb.


If you're going to lead others, bring your A game! It's harder than it looks!

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