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Thread: Leadership can be toxic (catch all)

  1. #61
    Council Member Commando Spirit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFAT View Post
    Interesting article on leadership, discipline, and the morale of fighting men.

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/ar...MobAppShare_EM


    Can some it up in a few of my own words from recent experience:

    10 years ago Leaders were punished and reprimanded for looking the other way when deficiencies were observed; Today, leaders or more likely to be punished for doing just the opposite.

    In the “Toxic leadership” age, leaders are constantly having to look over their shoulders and in continuous fear of subordinates ganging up on them with threats of IG complaints and pulling the “toxic” card. It’s a damn shame leaders worry more about what an underachieving subordinate will do after an ass chewing, rather than how said subordinate will adapt and overcome.

    Leaders young and old have forgotten the witchery of small unit leadership. This, I think, directly contributes to the downfall of discipline and morale.

    Whilst I agree that the current "toxic leadership" issue is of concern, the article does not concern me overly. I'll expand.

    If the leader has evidence that a subordiante (I'll come onto this term in a moment!) is underachieving then the "ass chewing" can be rightly defended should the need arise. This, in my mind, is simply one aspect of good management (not leadership).

    The leadership should come into play long before the need for the "ass chewing" in the first instance. A function of command, and therefore leadership, is to develop our subordinates and so when one is found to be wanting in a given area the necessary remedial trainng should be made available. Don't get me wrong, where a subordinate, following remedial training, or coaching, or mentoring, or a misture of all three is found to be below the required standard then said "ass chewing" is well deserved and should not be avoided but delivered with gusto!!! I think we, as leaders, have a duty to develop those we lead first and foremost and save the "ass chewing" for those rare moments when it genuinely is deserved, otherwise who will they go to for advice and guidance when they have a realtime issue?

    If the aggrieved individual then chooses to try to throw some dirt, make a claim, or bleat and cry about it then at least the leader can demonstrably prove they did their best to develop the individual in question.

    (I am aware that I may be coming across as a slight tree hugger here which is amusing me because I'm far from it!)

    The term subordinate is one that causes much discussion in many domains and so, not wishing to ambush or derail this thread, I commend the assembled council members to consdier this definition of leadership which brings into debate the term of followership:

    "Leadership is a reciprocal relationship between those who choose
    to lead and those who choose to follow." (Kouzes. & Posner, 1993)

    Finally (at last I hear you cry!), the article is simply presenting an issue that we have been well aware of for decades; that is the old adage that a soldier is not happy unless they are complaining! These surveys simply give another stage within which to do it; it used to be in the NAAFI, or the crew room or the smokers room/shed/area but now it is via online surveys...

    Perhaps it is this that we should be more concerned about; the fact that we feel the need to have such surveys??
    Commando Spirit:
    Courage, Determination, Unselfishness, and Cheerfulness in the face of adversity

  2. #62
    Council Member Commando Spirit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commando Spirit View Post
    ...training...mixture...
    Speed typing was never my strong point - please excuse the spelling errors and my current setup (at work) will not allow me to edit!!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-18-2012 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Fix quote
    Commando Spirit:
    Courage, Determination, Unselfishness, and Cheerfulness in the face of adversity

  3. #63
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Narcissism and Toxic Leaders

    A Military Review January 2013 article that appeared today via Twitter, it starts with:
    Why would a leader in the Army or in any organization choose to micro-manage subordinates; show a lack of respect for them; choose not to listen to or value their input; or be rude, mean-spirited, and threatening? Most leaders would not. Most people do not choose to act like this. However, it is clearly happening in the uniformed services and in society as a whole. The Army recently released a study reporting that 80 percent of the officers and NCOs polled had observed toxic leaders in action and that 20 percent had worked for a toxic leader. This problem is not new.
    Link:http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/Military...228_art012.pdf
    davidbfpo

  4. #64
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The opposite of toxic

    Found when researching an antidote to the thread's theme, from Australia and set in he early 1950's:
    I recall as a young Cadet on a night navigation exercise in the Canberra area. After becoming geographically embarrassed, namely lost, a classmate and I decided that a few quiet beers in the private bar at the Ainslie Hotel would be far more to our liking than trying to find navigation markers on a very cold night in the hills of Canberra.

    As the hours slipped by very pleasantly, we eventually adjudged it time to return to the College and so we commenced our long walk back. Around about the Russell Offices area we were getting quite weary and thought it best to further conserve our energy by flagging down the next passing car heading in the direction of Duntroon.

    Soon the lights of an approaching vehicle loomed large and I stood in the middle of the road and flagged it down. It stopped, and it was not until my classmate and I had made ourselves comfortable in the back seat, that the unpleasant realisation hit us, that there in the driver’s seat was none other than the Director of Military Art, Colonel Hassett.

    ‘Good morning boys’ he said. ‘Good morning Sir’ we said. ‘What have you been doing?’ he asked. ‘Night navigation exercise’ we squeaked. ‘Umm’ said the DMA, totally unconvinced. He drove us to our company lines without further comment or conversation.

    We thought we were gone; 21 days confinement to barracks and 84 days stoppage of leave at least; possible dismissal loomed large in our minds. But nothing happened, nothing at all.

    We sweated for weeks on the consequences of that fateful evening, however it never came. Years later as a very junior General, when I asked why we were never reprimanded, Sir Francis replied with a smile ‘I knew that in waiting for the sword to fall, you were punishing yourselves far more than I ever could’. So true and so typical of his leadership style.
    Link:http://www.gg.gov.au/speech/eulogy-g...rancis-hassett
    davidbfpo

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