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Sergeant eNYgma
04-23-2015, 01:24 AM
Anyone seen this?


I’m a Master Sergeant.

My job is not to be part of the fucking Top 3, or preen and lick my coat so that Colonels and CMSgts like me, or to carefully consider how to earn a “5”.

My job is to take care of my airman, and motivate + inspire my Staff and Tech Sergeants to do the same.

They aren’t as wise as me yet, because they haven’t seen as much, but if I do my job I will expose them to situations where they will begin to acquire that wisdom.

My job is to protect my people and let them truly understand what ‘taking owningship in an organization means’ while at the same time holding them accountable to the high standards I set, exemplify, and enforce.

I shouldn’t have a perfect career history or life, because that gives me no clue how to talk to a junior enlisted who is having troubles. If I’ve never gotten in trouble, what the hell am I supposed to say to Airman Smith who is getting an Article 15 or a Letter of Reprimand?

“Sorry man. You should have been more like me.”

No. Fuck that.

“Sorry man. I’ve been there. I did something stupid too. But I didn’t let it stop me. I picked myself up and dusted myself off.”

That is the real danger of the one-mistake Air Force. We are robbing our organization of the most powerful force in human history: the ability to learn from our mistakes. Instead we staff it with a bunch of crumb lapping lap-dogs whose only concern is some stupid stratification or some worthless certification they are supposed to have because “someone told me I’m supposed to have it”.

What about people? If you spend so much time buried up your own ass, you forget why you are here in the first place. Your purpose is not as an ego-masturbatory exercise, but as a leader of men and women and a manager of teams who’s goal is to foster an organization that doesn’t trudge along to a broken and sick drum, but hums along with a precision and fury that somehow exceeds the sum of its parts.



These days we don’t even know how to create such an organization. We sometimes marvel at one when we see it, but more often than not it came about through dumb luck because we have forgotten how to be leaders. Inevitably, the next egotistical maniac will take the helm of such an organization and run. it. into. the. ground.

Why do I know this?

Because I have seen it. I have lived it. I have made my mistakes and learned from them, even when they weren’t my mistakes. I have reflected on years of a career spent trying to do the right thing, even when it cost me personally and professionally.

You know why? Because I’m not just a fucking E-7.

I’m a Senior NCO.

And my job is bigger than just me now. People don’t work for me any longer. That’s not how this works.

I work for them. They aren’t there to stroke my ego or provide me with career and EPR fodder. They aren’t there as punching bags to absorb my own shame, guilt, and frustrations. They aren’t there to do the one thousand menial tasks I invent because I am an uncreative prick.

I am there for them, to shepard them towards better careers, to encourage them to pursue personal improvement, to inspire them to do outstanding jobs (even at great personal cost), and to slowly shape them into the SNCOs that I know they will one day be.

Because that’s a family.
That’s an organization.
That’s taking care of each other.

And that’s what the US Air Force was supposed to be, and is about. And if you’re not onboard, and you care more about your own EPR than the SrA who’s wife is leaving him, get the fuck out. If you care more about the next Top 3 Meeting than your SSgt who’s work productivity suddenly plummetted for no discernable reason, get the fuck out. If you care more about impressing the wing commander than what your Staff Sergeants and airmen are saying amongst themselves, get the fuck out.

We don’t need you.

We need SNCOs.


http://www.jqpublicblog.com/msgts-epic-post-should-be-the-new-snco-charge/

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-23-2015, 05:02 AM
Anyone seen this?


I’m a Master Sergeant.

My job is not to be part of the fucking Top 3, or preen and lick my coat so that Colonels and CMSgts like me, or to carefully consider how to earn a “5”.

My job is to take care of my airman, and motivate + inspire my Staff and Tech Sergeants to do the same.

They aren’t as wise as me yet, because they haven’t seen as much, but if I do my job I will expose them to situations where they will begin to acquire that wisdom.

My job is to protect my people and let them truly understand what ‘taking owningship in an organization means’ while at the same time holding them accountable to the high standards I set, exemplify, and enforce.

I shouldn’t have a perfect career history or life, because that gives me no clue how to talk to a junior enlisted who is having troubles. If I’ve never gotten in trouble, what the hell am I supposed to say to Airman Smith who is getting an Article 15 or a Letter of Reprimand?

“Sorry man. You should have been more like me.”

No. Fuck that.

“Sorry man. I’ve been there. I did something stupid too. But I didn’t let it stop me. I picked myself up and dusted myself off.”

That is the real danger of the one-mistake Air Force. We are robbing our organization of the most powerful force in human history: the ability to learn from our mistakes. Instead we staff it with a bunch of crumb lapping lap-dogs whose only concern is some stupid stratification or some worthless certification they are supposed to have because “someone told me I’m supposed to have it”.

What about people? If you spend so much time buried up your own ass, you forget why you are here in the first place. Your purpose is not as an ego-masturbatory exercise, but as a leader of men and women and a manager of teams who’s goal is to foster an organization that doesn’t trudge along to a broken and sick drum, but hums along with a precision and fury that somehow exceeds the sum of its parts.



These days we don’t even know how to create such an organization. We sometimes marvel at one when we see it, but more often than not it came about through dumb luck because we have forgotten how to be leaders. Inevitably, the next egotistical maniac will take the helm of such an organization and run. it. into. the. ground.

Why do I know this?

Because I have seen it. I have lived it. I have made my mistakes and learned from them, even when they weren’t my mistakes. I have reflected on years of a career spent trying to do the right thing, even when it cost me personally and professionally.

You know why? Because I’m not just a fucking E-7.

I’m a Senior NCO.

And my job is bigger than just me now. People don’t work for me any longer. That’s not how this works.

I work for them. They aren’t there to stroke my ego or provide me with career and EPR fodder. They aren’t there as punching bags to absorb my own shame, guilt, and frustrations. They aren’t there to do the one thousand menial tasks I invent because I am an uncreative prick.

I am there for them, to shepard them towards better careers, to encourage them to pursue personal improvement, to inspire them to do outstanding jobs (even at great personal cost), and to slowly shape them into the SNCOs that I know they will one day be.

Because that’s a family.
That’s an organization.
That’s taking care of each other.

And that’s what the US Air Force was supposed to be, and is about. And if you’re not onboard, and you care more about your own EPR than the SrA who’s wife is leaving him, get the fuck out. If you care more about the next Top 3 Meeting than your SSgt who’s work productivity suddenly plummetted for no discernable reason, get the fuck out. If you care more about impressing the wing commander than what your Staff Sergeants and airmen are saying amongst themselves, get the fuck out.

We don’t need you.

We need SNCOs.


http://www.jqpublicblog.com/msgts-epic-post-should-be-the-new-snco-charge/

Nice. Believe it or not, there are SNCOs out there just like this one who are now Chiefs...and rightfully so. I'm glad I've had the honor to work with them!

sandsjames
04-23-2015, 11:50 AM
I've seen this but have a hard time believing this was actually a SNCO who wrote this. I'm pretty sure it was probably a E5 or E6 who got didn't get a firewall 5.

Or, if it was a SNCO, then I'm betting that these are the thoughts he keeps internal, while doing the exact opposite.

Filterbing
04-23-2015, 02:11 PM
I too am tired of this anti-top 3 BS. not that I'm all for bake sales, baby kissing, and brown nosing. I suspect too that its a E-5 or better yet someone that has just become a SNCO and thinks they are experienced enough and suddenly capable to speak on behalf of all SNCOs. I do agree with some points made but not all. The perception with these types is that those involved with the Top 3 aren't leaders in their work center and they don't care for troops. I got news for you bud, you can do both. In fact, that is exactly what is expected of you. From day one when I enlisted the expectations have not changed; excel at your job, volunteer, self improvement and get involved with professional organizations. If anyone hasn't figured this out after their first year then I don't know what to tell you.

meatbringer
04-23-2015, 02:46 PM
I too am tired of this anti-top 3 BS. not that I'm all for bake sales, baby kissing, and brown nosing. I suspect too that its a E-5 or better yet someone that has just become a SNCO and thinks they are experienced enough and suddenly capable to speak on behalf of all SNCOs. I do agree with some points made but not all. The perception with these types is that those involved with the Top 3 aren't leaders in their work center and they don't care for troops. I got news for you bud, you can do both. In fact, that is exactly what is expected of you. From day one when I enlisted the expectations have not changed; excel at your job, volunteer, self improvement and get involved with professional organizations. If anyone hasn't figured this out after their first year then I don't know what to tell you.

Careful, your insecurity is showing.

sandsjames
04-23-2015, 04:02 PM
I too am tired of this anti-top 3 BS. not that I'm all for bake sales, baby kissing, and brown nosing. I suspect too that its a E-5 or better yet someone that has just become a SNCO and thinks they are experienced enough and suddenly capable to speak on behalf of all SNCOs. I do agree with some points made but not all. The perception with these types is that those involved with the Top 3 aren't leaders in their work center and they don't care for troops. I got news for you bud, you can do both. In fact, that is exactly what is expected of you. From day one when I enlisted the expectations have not changed; excel at your job, volunteer, self improvement and get involved with professional organizations. If anyone hasn't figured this out after their first year then I don't know what to tell you.

The problem with the Top-3 is that it's become a joke. Not the people. Not the organization itself. Just all the email traffic, etc, related to it has created a certain perception for E6 and below. And, as we know, perception is everything so, if the Top-3 don't like the perception of the Top-3 then they need to do something to fix it.

Also, the "expectations" you speak of also have a perception, whether true or not. That perception is that you don't need to actually excel at your job as long as you volunteer, self improve, and get involved with professional organizations. Again, this perception is prevalent for a reason and it's up to the Top-3 and other leaders to actually do something to change the perception about the importance of doing your job.

Filterbing
04-23-2015, 04:11 PM
you had me confused for a second. I get it now, your implying that I'm some year book committee suck up that leads the cheerleading squad, and I need to justify myself. You got the wrong dude. I do attend top 3 meetings when I can. They cost me 30 mins to 1 hr max. If you can't set that much time aside a month then you suck at time management. I get involved with 2 or 3 "events" a year and that's it. I have no problem with most of what the top 3 is about. I learned a lesson at ALS, it is easier to get things done when you know the person you are working with. I meet people from different career fields like cops, supply and comm people. Anytime I had an issue I can go through them and it working. I've seen guys try to run a work center like this guys proposes. They shut themselves in, and fight like cats and dogs with anybody who tries to work with them and cause dysfunction in the process.

Filterbing
04-23-2015, 04:20 PM
The problem with the Top-3 is that it's become a joke. Not the people. Not the organization itself. Just all the email traffic, etc, related to it has created a certain perception for E6 and below. And, as we know, perception is everything so, if the Top-3 don't like the perception of the Top-3 then they need to do something to fix it.

Also, the "expectations" you speak of also have a perception, whether true or not. That perception is that you don't need to actually excel at your job as long as you volunteer, self improve, and get involved with professional organizations. Again, this perception is prevalent for a reason and it's up to the Top-3 and other leaders to actually do something to change the perception about the importance of doing your job.

I agree with you. Last unit, the guys didn't like the top 3 and stopped going. how do they expect it to change?

As for the duty performance quality vrs volunteer work. We have done this to our selves with the EPR inflation. When everyone is a 5, volunteering was how you showed you were different. hopefully this new system will fix it. I'm just tired of hearing the same ol macho BS "I'm a real leader because I don't go to the top 3" crap. It's an argue older than most and is usually regurgitated by the new SNCOs because they heard it forever. My point is that a person can do both and the expectation is that a person should do both.

The haters remind me of the jocks in highschool that didn't want to do well in school because that made you a nerd and that wasn't cool. Anything to keep you image.

sandsjames
04-23-2015, 04:40 PM
I agree with you. Last unit, the guys didn't like the top 3 and stopped going. how do they expect it to change?

As for the duty performance quality vrs volunteer work. We have done this to our selves with the EPR inflation. When everyone is a 5, volunteering was how you showed you were different. hopefully this new system will fix it. Well, I've already heard from several people that the ONLY way to separate yourself from others with the new EPR form by doing the additional stuff because everyone will have the work bullets to fill out the new form. So, really nothing is changing, though I guess we'll have to wait and see.


I'm just tired of hearing the same ol macho BS "I'm a real leader because I don't go to the top 3" crap. And others are tired of hearing that they AREN'T real leaders unless they do go.


It's an argue older than most and is usually regurgitated by the new SNCOs because they heard it forever. My point is that a person can do both and the expectation is that a person should do both. Yes, they can do both. Should they? Only if that's what they are interested in doing. Otherwise it's just checking boxes.


The haters remind me of the jocks in highschool that didn't want to do well in school because that made you a nerd and that wasn't cool. Anything to keep you image. And the joke is on us nerds because, while they were enjoying themselves, we were busy wasting time on schoolwork to get straight A's which, in the end, did absolutely nothing for us. Meanwhile, the "jocks" learned social skills, how to deal with failure, still graduated, and got laid in the process.

Rusty Jones
04-23-2015, 05:10 PM
I'd much rather deal with "Top 3" problems than CPO problems. At least as an E6 in the Air Force, an E7 is merely a guy with one more stripe than me. When I was an E6 in the Navy, I was a mere mortal and an E7 was a god to whom I was required to pay homage.

Mjölnir
04-23-2015, 05:16 PM
I'd much rather deal with "Top 3" problems than CPO problems. At least as an E6 in the Air Force, an E7 is merely a guy with one more stripe than me. When I was an E6 in the Navy, I was a mere mortal and an E7 was a god to whom I was required to pay homage.

Am genuinely sad to hear you say that, I believe respect should work both ways ... up and down the rank structure and chain of command.

Then again my USAF duty NCO mentioned last week that she was really surprised that I am courteous to the enlisted folks on my team, vaccum the area around my desk myself unless crazy busy, stand when I talk to them etc.

Bos Mutus
04-23-2015, 05:54 PM
Certainly some good sentiments in there.

It's funny...I sit in a Master's class with a lot of military folks...and every one of them tells story after story of what a straight-shooter, no BS guy they personally are...and how one day it might cost them their career, but they don't care... yada yada yada.

In fact, I bet if you interviewed every AF enlisted person...not a single one would admit to being Politically Correct...but every one of them would swear they are one of the few who aren't.

sandsjames
04-23-2015, 06:09 PM
Certainly some good sentiments in there.

It's funny...I sit in a Master's class with a lot of military folks...and every one of them tells story after story of what a straight-shooter, no BS guy they personally are...and how one day it might cost them their career, but they don't care... yada yada yada.

In fact, I bet if you interviewed every AF enlisted person...not a single one would admit to being Politically Correct...but every one of them would swear they are one of the few who aren't.

So true. There are very few who actually make it to the top without being that way. The few who do are the "best of the best" IMO, because their leadership attributes were so good that the lack of "conforming" was able to be overlooked.

It's not just at the SNCO level, though. It happens at every level. Airmen become NCOs/supervisors and swear they are not going to be like their supervisor, yet most turn into exactly that. The system is stacked against those who don't play the game. It's not impossible, just much more difficult.

Bos Mutus
04-24-2015, 01:01 AM
So true. There are very few who actually make it to the top without being that way. The few who do are the "best of the best" IMO, because their leadership attributes were so good that the lack of "conforming" was able to be overlooked.

It's not just at the SNCO level, though. It happens at every level. Airmen become NCOs/supervisors and swear they are not going to be like their supervisor, yet most turn into exactly that. The system is stacked against those who don't play the game. It's not impossible, just much more difficult.

Until this new board thing starts this year...making MSgt was all about taking the test. Study, get promoted. Study like a maniac, get promoted really fast. That's the only game.

sandsjames
04-25-2015, 12:57 PM
Until this new board thing starts this year...making MSgt was all about taking the test. Study, get promoted. Study like a maniac, get promoted really fast. That's the only game.

I have a feeling you are somehow disputing what I was saying with your statement about testing for MSgt when making MSgt wasn't really the point I was making. Maybe if I reverse the order of my paragraphs and change a couple words you will understand what I was trying to say. So, here goes:

It happens at every level. Airmen become NCOs/supervisors and swear they are not going to be like their supervisor, yet most turn into exactly that. The system is stacked against those who don't play the game early on. It's not impossible to make it to the top, just much more difficult

There are very few who actually make it to the top (E8/E9) without being that way. The few who do are the "best of the best" IMO, because their leadership attributes were so good that the lack of "conforming" was able to be overlooked.

Hopefully that helps.

TJMAC77SP
04-25-2015, 05:04 PM
I may be reading too much into the subject but one thought always crosses my mind when this subject is discussed. An SNCO is supposed to support his troops but that isn't an absolute condition. Sometimes troops fuck up in a major way and they should face the consequences. Those troops rarely acknowledge this obligation.

Years ago I had a former troop who committed a very serious violation (he disposed of training pyrotechnics by throwing them in the base nature walk area. They were discovered by kids on a school trip). The base commander wanted him hung (probably in his mind more literally than figuratively). My commander asked my opinion since this troop had worked with and for me in several capacities during his tour at the base. I pointed out his outstanding record and the efforts he had made which went above and beyond. I suggested that he not receive an end-of-tour decoration. I was able to sell that to the Chief and commander who in turn sold it to the base commander. Years later I found out that the same troop held a long-standing grudge because he didn't get the decoration.................

The SNCO has an obligation to his troops but he/she also has an obligation to the unit and the mission. It is a balancing act. I had to publically support a lot of decisions made by command that I didn't agree with while protesting them to command to the point where was told the STFU. So, was I a careerist or a good SNCO?

Again, I may be reading too much into this but sometimes I get the feeling that the expectation is that the SNCO support his/her troops regardless of their behavior and its outcome. Much in the way I have seen unions fight for an employee when facing disciplinary action or termination. I don't see that as being the SNCO's duty.

BOSS302
04-26-2015, 10:52 PM
On this "MSgt Rant"...everyone likes to think they are "old school," as the cliche goes.

LogDog
04-27-2015, 08:33 PM
I may be reading too much into the subject but one thought always crosses my mind when this subject is discussed. An SNCO is supposed to support his troops but that isn't an absolute condition. Sometimes troops fuck up in a major way and they should face the consequences. Those troops rarely acknowledge this obligation.


Again, I may be reading too much into this but sometimes I get the feeling that the expectation is that the SNCO support his/her troops regardless of their behavior and its outcome. Much in the way I have seen unions fight for an employee when facing disciplinary action or termination. I don't see that as being the SNCO's duty.
I agree that SNCO support for troops is conditional. Whenever I arrived at my new duty station I'd tell my troops if they're correct on what they did I'll support them fully. However, if you're wrong or screw-up it's best to bring it to my attention as quickly as possible so we can work to lessen the severity of whatever action will result. This policy let them know my support wasn't unconditional and they had to accept responsibility for their actions. I rarely had any problems with my people.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 09:53 PM
I may be reading too much into the subject but one thought always crosses my mind when this subject is discussed. An SNCO is supposed to support his troops but that isn't an absolute condition. Sometimes troops fuck up in a major way and they should face the consequences. Those troops rarely acknowledge this obligation.

Years ago I had a former troop who committed a very serious violation (he disposed of training pyrotechnics by throwing them in the base nature walk area. They were discovered by kids on a school trip). The base commander wanted him hung (probably in his mind more literally than figuratively). My commander asked my opinion since this troop had worked with and for me in several capacities during his tour at the base. I pointed out his outstanding record and the efforts he had made which went above and beyond. I suggested that he not receive an end-of-tour decoration. I was able to sell that to the Chief and commander who in turn sold it to the base commander. Years later I found out that the same troop held a long-standing grudge because he didn't get the decoration.................

The SNCO has an obligation to his troops but he/she also has an obligation to the unit and the mission. It is a balancing act. I had to publically support a lot of decisions made by command that I didn't agree with while protesting them to command to the point where was told the STFU. So, was I a careerist or a good SNCO?

Again, I may be reading too much into this but sometimes I get the feeling that the expectation is that the SNCO support his/her troops regardless of their behavior and its outcome. Much in the way I have seen unions fight for an employee when facing disciplinary action or termination. I don't see that as being the SNCO's duty.

It is absolutely conditional. The problem is those who give the "STFU, it's what we were told to do" as the ONLY response that is the issue.

Stalwart
04-27-2015, 10:04 PM
It is absolutely conditional. The problem is those who give the "STFU, it's what we were told to do" as the ONLY response that is the issue.

One of the principles of leadership is to keep your personnel informed. That said, there may be times you cannot tell them what is going on, there may be times you don't really know yourself and you are executing your orders. There are multiple better ways to convey that than saying "STFU and do as you are told" ... That is a tact of those who lack leadership skills.

sandsjames
04-27-2015, 10:27 PM
One of the principles of leadership is to keep your personnel informed. That said, there may be times you cannot tell them what is going on, there may be times you don't really know yourself and you are executing your orders.

There are multiple better ways to convey that than saying "STFU and do as you are told" ... That is a tact of those who lack leadership skills.

Someone doesn't actually have to say "STFU" for the troops to infer. I'd never follow a "leader" who toed the line because that's "my job". I've never understood why everyone thinks an explanation of "why" something needs to be done is such a bad thing. That doesn't mean the troops have to like the explanation, but getting it helps. Examples:

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why"?

NCOIC "Don't ask why, just do it" or "Because that's what the Commander wants".

That's the wrong way.

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why?"

NCOIC "Because it's dirty"

That's a good answer

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why"

NCOIC "Because I'm tired of seeing you sit around"

That's also fine. It's not an explanation the troop is going to like, but it's an explanation. Now the troop understands your expectations.

TJMAC77SP
04-27-2015, 10:42 PM
It is absolutely conditional. The problem is those who give the "STFU, it's what we were told to do" as the ONLY response that is the issue.

I was speaking of command leadership (specifically unit commanders) who told me that they understood my objections voiced (repeatedly) in private but were not heeding my advice or opinion. Sorry if I was confusing on that point.

No commander actually ever told me to STFU.

Reminds me of advice I gave a peer once who was getting very bad 'guidance' from another office on base. I told him to tell them to fuck off (explaining what the problem with their guidance was). He said "oh I couldn't tell them that". I knew at that point he wasn't going to be very effective in his job...........he wasn't.

Bos Mutus
04-27-2015, 11:39 PM
I may be reading too much into the subject but one thought always crosses my mind when this subject is discussed. An SNCO is supposed to support his troops but that isn't an absolute condition. Sometimes troops fuck up in a major way and they should face the consequences. Those troops rarely acknowledge this obligation.

Years ago I had a former troop who committed a very serious violation (he disposed of training pyrotechnics by throwing them in the base nature walk area. They were discovered by kids on a school trip). The base commander wanted him hung (probably in his mind more literally than figuratively). My commander asked my opinion since this troop had worked with and for me in several capacities during his tour at the base. I pointed out his outstanding record and the efforts he had made which went above and beyond. I suggested that he not receive an end-of-tour decoration. I was able to sell that to the Chief and commander who in turn sold it to the base commander. Years later I found out that the same troop held a long-standing grudge because he didn't get the decoration.................

The SNCO has an obligation to his troops but he/she also has an obligation to the unit and the mission. It is a balancing act. I had to publically support a lot of decisions made by command that I didn't agree with while protesting them to command to the point where was told the STFU. So, was I a careerist or a good SNCO?

Again, I may be reading too much into this but sometimes I get the feeling that the expectation is that the SNCO support his/her troops regardless of their behavior and its outcome. Much in the way I have seen unions fight for an employee when facing disciplinary action or termination. I don't see that as being the SNCO's duty.

This is right on.

One man's "supporting the troop" is another man's "coddling the troop"...and you can hear both crititicisms about every action.

If you kicked a troop in the ass...then he's gonna tell everyone you kissed up to the commander and didn't support your troops.
If you don't...then someone else will say you were a weak leader who coddled your troops and were afraid to make hard decisions.

It's exactly like the whole Chief vs E-9....there is not a Chief that ever served in the AF that has not been accused of being an E-9 and vice versa.

"But, I would not feel so all alone...everybody must get stoned" ~Bob Dylan

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 12:09 AM
Someone doesn't actually have to say "STFU" for the troops to infer. I'd never follow a "leader" who toed the line because that's "my job". I've never understood why everyone thinks an explanation of "why" something needs to be done is such a bad thing. That doesn't mean the troops have to like the explanation, but getting it helps. Examples:

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why"?

NCOIC "Don't ask why, just do it" or "Because that's what the Commander wants".

That's the wrong way.

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why?"

NCOIC "Because it's dirty"

That's a good answer

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why"

NCOIC "Because I'm tired of seeing you sit around"

That's also fine. It's not an explanation the troop is going to like, but it's an explanation. Now the troop understands your expectations.

True fact, I can tell someone to STFU without actually using the words verbatim.

We do have to keep in mind that sometimes the situation doesn't allow for an explanation, thorough or otherwise; sometimes folks just have to execute ... RIGHT NOW. When that has been the case I have gone back and explained, but it happens.

I would argue that saying "that is what the Commander wants" is wrong on two counts:

1. as you said ... is a veiled "STFU".

2. it diverts ownership of the order. As a SNCO I never went to my platoon and said "the LT wants [this]" or "the LT has ordered [that]" ... for the folks executing the mission it didn't matter who was making the order or passing the guidance ... it also can (depending on delivery) infer that the SNCO thinks the order is BS (which he/she may) but it isn't my place to disagree publically with the Plt Commander, Company Commander or Battalion Commander either.

Bos Mutus
04-28-2015, 12:12 AM
True fact, I can tell someone to STFU without actually using the words verbatim. .

It never seems to work in the MTF though

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 12:15 AM
It never seems to work in the MTF though

Just STFU already ... :)

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 02:22 AM
True fact, I can tell someone to STFU without actually using the words verbatim.

We do have to keep in mind that sometimes the situation doesn't allow for an explanation, thorough or otherwise; sometimes folks just have to execute ... RIGHT NOW. When that has been the case I have gone back and explained, but it happens. And what situations are these? None I know of in the Air Force, that's for sure. The other services (Army and Marines) in battle require it at times. Can't speak for the Navy cuz I have no idea, but I never encountered one time in the Air Force that couldn't handle talking to the person like an adult, unless that troop is being insubordinate.


I would argue that saying "that is what the Commander wants" is wrong on two counts:

1. as you said ... is a veiled "STFU".

2. it diverts ownership of the order. As a SNCO I never went to my platoon and said "the LT wants [this]" or "the LT has ordered [that]" ... for the folks executing the mission it didn't matter who was making the order or passing the guidance ... it also can (depending on delivery) infer that the SNCO thinks the order is BS (which he/she may) but it isn't my place to disagree publically with the Plt Commander, Company Commander or Battalion Commander either.Not publicly, but I don't consider talking to my troops in my shop "publicly". I preferred bosses who would tell me when they thought something was bullshit. Didn't mean we didn't still do it. Didn't mean we didn't know the difference between the right time and place to bitch about stuff. What I have a hard time doing is trusting a boss who feeds me stuff that I know is BS, that I know he knows is BS, but he does it as if it's not a problem. It's dishonest and patronizing and I wouldn't want that guy leading me in an important situation.

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 02:24 AM
True fact, I can tell someone to STFU without actually using the words verbatim.

As can most bosses. What's funny, though, is for some reason they think that the person they are telling doesn't realize what they are saying...and that's just not the case.

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 02:38 AM
And what situations are these? None I know of in the Air Force, that's for sure. The other services (Army and Marines) in battle require it at times. Can't speak for the Navy cuz I have no idea, but I never encountered one time in the Air Force that couldn't handle talking to the person like an adult, unless that troop is being insubordinate.

In the Navy, orders to the helm (as long as properly phrased) are to be executed immediately, without question ... even if the Officer of the Deck or Conning Officer is ordering the ship onto a collision the helm is to execute while repeating back the order as confirmation.

I once had to literally drag a USAF PAO/Photographer type off the flight deck of our ship while we were conducting flight operations after telling him to clear the flight deck and he started to explain that he was out there to get some photos ... literally just grabbed his collar and started walking. Explaining to him on the flight deck how unsafe he was being, endangering both the flight crew and himself was not a conversation to be had on the flight deck.

From the Marine Corps, in many cases combat: "silence that machine gun" shouldn't be followed with a "why?"

In general though, when things are dangerous and keeping someone from hurting or killing themselves or others or severely damaging equipment are the kinds of situations that come to mind.

**Edit: keep in mind that at least in the Navy (as a Surface Warfare Officer) I was particularly trained that a questioning attitude is good and often provides a forceful back up to the OOD or the CO; but how you provide that questioning can be important.


Not publicly, but I don't consider talking to my troops in my shop "publicly". I preferred bosses who would tell me when they thought something was bullshit. Didn't mean we didn't still do it. Didn't mean we didn't know the difference between the right time and place to bitch about stuff. What I have a hard time doing is trusting a boss who feeds me stuff that I know is BS, that I know he knows is BS, but he does it as if it's not a problem. It's dishonest and patronizing and I wouldn't want that guy leading me in an important situation.

Not something I would do, as a SNCO with the junior folks in my platoons; it would undermine the Plt or Company Commander and like it or not when you are the Plt Sgt, if your Plt Commander fails (professionally), you have failed, that is the one of the significant differences between being an NCO and a SNCO. In the Marine Corps anyway, the relief of a commander is also tracked / annotated in the records of the 1stSgt or SgtMaj. Now, in reality if a commander is relieved for a DUI or something there isn't much the senior enlisted could do about it; if a commander is relieved for command climate, fraternization or other professional vice personal things it is regarded as a failure of the senior enlisted as well.

Again, it could be the difference between the service cultures / combat unit and non-combat ones where disobeying or questioning the Plt Commander or Plt Sgt is an erosion of discipline.[/QUOTE]

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 02:39 AM
As can most bosses. What's funny, though, is for some reason they think that the person they are telling doesn't realize what they are saying...and that's just not the case.

Oh, when I have done it, it isn't like I am trying to hide it ... I just don't use those words (STFU) specifically.

Rollyn01
04-28-2015, 03:07 AM
Oh, when I have done it, it isn't like I am trying to hide it ... I just don't use those words (STFU) specifically.

Sadly, this is fcuked up. Man up and execute!

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 03:17 AM
Sadly, this is fcuked up. Man up and execute!

I have made a really concious effort to curb my profanity at work, mostly cause I can't shift gears too easily and my 4 1/2 year old is at the 'repeat everything she hears' phase, and to be a bit more professional; this way when I let fly the F-bombs folks know I mean it :)

Rollyn01
04-28-2015, 04:26 AM
I have made a really concious effort to curb my profanity at work, mostly cause I can't shift gears too easily and my 4 1/2 year old is at the 'repeat everything she hears' phase, and to be a bit more professional; this way when I let fly the F-bombs folks know I mean it :)

Too funny, that is awesome. As for kid, I'm sure at some point, you'd swing your head around when she drops it for the first time. After which, you'll naturally laugh and tell her not to do it again.

Rusty Jones
04-28-2015, 12:26 PM
Someone doesn't actually have to say "STFU" for the troops to infer. I'd never follow a "leader" who toed the line because that's "my job". I've never understood why everyone thinks an explanation of "why" something needs to be done is such a bad thing. That doesn't mean the troops have to like the explanation, but getting it helps. Examples:

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why"?

NCOIC "Don't ask why, just do it" or "Because that's what the Commander wants".

That's the wrong way.

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why?"

NCOIC "Because it's dirty"

That's a good answer

NCOIC "Go sweep the floor"

Troop "Why"

NCOIC "Because I'm tired of seeing you sit around"

That's also fine. It's not an explanation the troop is going to like, but it's an explanation. Now the troop understands your expectations.

For me, it's all about the gist I'm getting behind the questioning of "why." If I feel that they really want to know what the end goal is, so that they can take their own initiatives to get there rather than simply doing what they're told... I'll be more than happy to explain why. But if I feel that they're trying to negotiate their way out of doing the task, in particular, that they're going to think that they don't have to do the task if they think the reason I give isn't good enough for them... then, yeah, they can expect a STFU in response.

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 01:31 PM
For me, it's all about the gist I'm getting behind the questioning of "why." If I feel that they really want to know what the end goal is, so that they can take their own initiatives to get there rather than simply doing what they're told... I'll be more than happy to explain why. But if I feel that they're trying to negotiate their way out of doing the task, in particular, that they're going to think that they don't have to do the task if they think the reason I give isn't good enough for them... then, yeah, they can expect a STFU in response.

Agree. That's what makes it conditional. I think that most people work much better with knowing the end goal. It's a motivating factor.

UncaRastus
04-28-2015, 06:33 PM
USMC bootcamp is so structured as to train recruits to instantly comply with orders. While serving as a DI, I never once had anyone ask me why.

A Marine can ask why, but the asking is done after completing doing what they are ordered to do. If it is just someone grumbling about having to do something that they just didn't want to do, that Marine's questioning of authority would be remembered when it came to promotion time, if that Marine was in the habit of questioning authority.

Not to mention when it came time to assign someone to guard duty or KP.

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 07:39 PM
USMC bootcamp is so structured as to train recruits to instantly comply with orders. While serving as a DI, I never once had anyone ask me why.

A Marine can ask why, but the asking is done after completing doing what they are ordered to do. If it is just someone grumbling about having to do something that they just didn't want to do, that Marine's questioning of authority would be remembered when it came to promotion time, if that Marine was in the habit of questioning authority.

Not to mention when it came time to assign someone to guard duty or KP.

And I can absolutely understand why that's necessary for Marines. But for non-combat career fields (the majority of the Air Force) it's not that big of a deal. An explanation of why I need to re-complete a CBT when I just did it 30 days ago and it's good for 365 days seems like a valid thing.

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 08:07 PM
And I can absolutely understand why that's necessary for Marines. But for non-combat career fields (the majority of the Air Force) it's not that big of a deal. An explanation of why I need to re-complete a CBT when I just did it 30 days ago and it's good for 365 days seems like a valid thing.

The services are little subcultures to themselves. My example of the USAF photographer who was standing on the edge of our flight deck with a helicopter coming in to land -- and then him wanting to explain to me why he was there is an example of the cultures maybe not aligning (DDG flight deck is very small, helo blades extend over the edges on 3 sides -- NOONE stands on the flight deck with a helo coming in or taking off.) I wasn't trying to be a jerk by grabbing him and kinda dragging him, but the situation did not have time for an explanation. In all likelihood if he had been out there when the helo landed the rotor wash would have thrown him over the side ... then we would have had to recover him -- could have used that for our monthly required man overboard drill though.

Stalwart
04-28-2015, 08:09 PM
Too funny, that is awesome. As for kid, I'm sure at some point, you'd swing your head around when she drops it for the first time. After which, you'll naturally laugh and tell her not to do it again.

I was surprised at how much with her speech still coming along (she had to have her lip and mouth repaired -- born with a cleft) that "truck" sounds like "f**k) ... yeah ... the head swung around.

sandsjames
04-28-2015, 08:31 PM
The services are little subcultures to themselves. My example of the USAF photographer who was standing on the edge of our flight deck with a helicopter coming in to land -- and then him wanting to explain to me why he was there is an example of the cultures maybe not aligning (DDG flight deck is very small, helo blades extend over the edges on 3 sides -- NOONE stands on the flight deck with a helo coming in or taking off.) I wasn't trying to be a jerk by grabbing him and kinda dragging him, but the situation did not have time for an explanation. In all likelihood if he had been out there when the helo landed the rotor wash would have thrown him over the side ... then we would have had to recover him -- could have used that for our monthly required man overboard drill though.

I have that same issue with my students when it comes to training. When they are doing a performance objective, I brief them before hand "If I grab you, slap your hand away, etc, during this it's for your safety." Simple explanation, they then understand what's going on and don't take it personally when I have to pull them away in an "aggressive" manner.

I guess I could just not say anything, grab them or slap their hand away, and cause an issue where they are surprised by it and react or they become less confident and don't want to continue, but by offering the reasoning they are perfectly clear on what's happening and there has never been an issue.

Rainmaker
05-05-2015, 08:39 PM
I have that same issue with my students when it comes to training. When they are doing a performance objective, I brief them before hand "If I grab you, slap your hand away, etc, during this it's for your safety." Simple explanation, they then understand what's going on and don't take it personally when I have to pull them away in an "aggressive" manner.

I guess I could just not say anything, grab them or slap their hand away, and cause an issue where they are surprised by it and react or they become less confident and don't want to continue, but by offering the reasoning they are perfectly clear on what's happening and there has never been an issue.

What about when you grab her ass?

AFKILO7
05-06-2015, 06:34 PM
As an instructor I have never been asked "why" so many times. At first I chalked it up to the "generation" of students. Then I began to think about why they were asking the questions. They weren't coming to me with their questions to be smart asses, or to be insubordinate, they were coming to me because they were genuinely looking for answers. As a supervisor I now catch myself thinking more about why I am being asked a question when giving instructions to my subordinates.

I can't remember who brought up the different subcultures, but you are spot on. Throughout my experiences in PME I can attest that these subcultures are not much different in the different subcultures one would find outside of the military. There are plenty of AFSC's who do not operate in environments where acting before speaking is vital to mission success. But, I believe it is important for all Airmen to at least understand that there are differences in each Airmen's Air Force experience.

sandsjames
05-06-2015, 06:38 PM
As an instructor I have never been asked "why" so many times. At first I chalked it up to the "generation" of students. Then I began to think about why they were asking the questions. They weren't coming to me with their questions to be smart asses, or to be insubordinate, they were coming to me because they were genuinely looking for answers. As a supervisor I now catch myself thinking more about why I am being asked a question when giving instructions to my subordinates.

I can't remember who brought up the different subcultures, but you are spot on. Throughout my experiences in PME I can attest that these subcultures are not much different in the different subcultures one would find outside of the military. There are plenty of AFSC's who do not operate in environments where acting before speaking is vital to mission success. But, I believe it is important for all Airmen to at least understand that there are differences in each Airmen's Air Force experience.

Spot on....