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Thread: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    I think the death of the CoC made most NCOs indecisive. When Chiefs and other SNCOs started making the calls for shops the NCOs no longer had a need. Hell, if my troop acts up and I try to discipline him, there is a good chance someone up the chain is going to micromanage and make me ease up on the punishment. Seen it too many times. Kind of makes NCOs irrelevant.

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    Default Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    After reading a few of these threads I notice a common complaint from some of the more senior members here. In the Basic Training Campus thread 20+ Years said this:

    As a first term Airmen, I was a low performer. However, I NEVER would have spoken to my flight Capt without going through my NCOIC. You just didn't go to the Capts office. Now days, how do you think that works with the Airmen when they want something?
    I am not picking on 20+ here because he is right but I think there is more to this. I only served 6 years in the AF but in that time I had the opportunity to see a lot of issues from different angles. I made SSgt at 3.5 years and I was supervising 5 troops by the time I got out. So needless to say I have been both the inexperienced NCO as well as the troop who needed help/info. During my time as an Amn I would have loved to use my chain of command but I quickly learned it simply does not work.

    Maybe I always had pretty bad supervisors but it seemed none of them were capable of even making a simple decision. I had one supervisor in particular who wouldn't even approve my leave requests without checking with his supervisor and the NCOIC. Anytime I wanted leave I would have to ask my supervisor and then wait while he asked 2-3 other people. After a few times I quickly learned it was much more efficient to simply ask the NCOIC if I can take leave and then tell my supervisor it was already approved and simply have him sign it in Leaveweb. This small issue is one thing I learned not to do when I was a supervisor. I always made it very clear that leave requests were approved by me and if I need to defend my decision to my supervisor I have no problem with that.

    So I guess my question is which came first weak NCOs or the death of the Chain of Command? In my opinion the weak NCOs killed the Chain of Command. If your only purposes in the chain is to relay my information I really have no use for you. Especially with problems of a personal nature I can imagine a young Amn skipping the entire chain and going to the shirt. Why would you want to tell your supervisor so that he can tell his supervisor who can then tell the shirt? Why not just go talk to teh shirt yourself or even the commander? My opinion of Chain of Command is that it is useless unless people at the bottom of the chain actually try to solve the problem or make a decision.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    I think the death of the CoC made most NCOs indecisive. When Chiefs and other SNCOs started making the calls for shops the NCOs no longer had a need. Hell, if my troop acts up and I try to discipline him, there is a good chance someone up the chain is going to micromanage and make me ease up on the punishment. Seen it too many times. Kind of makes NCOs irrelevant.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    I guess that is possible but alot of NCOs I have met are totally worthless at solving issues. I have no idea whether that was caused by Shirts/Chiefs taking over or if Shirts/Chiefs simply had to take over because of how inept the NCO was at solving the problem. If you had an Amn who was having issues with Finance do you think they would come to you or the shirt? Likewise if finance has an issue with your troop do you think they will go to you or the shirt? From experience I can say that very few supervisors ever actually take the time to walk into finance with their troop and tried to figure an issue out. Also how many supervisors have ever sat down with their troop and reviewed/explained their LES? How many supervisors even know how to read an LES?

    Most supervisors take the cop out route and tell the troop to go talk to the shirt. Does the shirt have some magical power to solve the issue? Nope, not at all. They simply call over to finance and ask questions about what needs to be done. As a finance technician I am just as happy to help the supervisor as I am the shirt. By supervisors taking the cop out approach the shirt is now the de facto point of contact. That means that supervisors are now cut out of the process never learn how to resolve even a simple issue. I tend to think that weak NCOs ruined the chain of command. That of course is just my experience though. Maybe I never really gave my chain much of a chance because I always had the option to skip them with no consequences.
    Very true...maybe it's a case that's opposite of my thoughts. Maybe the Shirts/Chiefs took over because the NCOs weren't doing what they need to. Though that's when someone should have forced the NCO to do it, or replace them. It's come to a point now where the NCOs are left in place as puppets instead of being taught what to do. Kind of a catch 22.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    I think the death of the CoC made most NCOs indecisive. When Chiefs and other SNCOs started making the calls for shops the NCOs no longer had a need. Hell, if my troop acts up and I try to discipline him, there is a good chance someone up the chain is going to micromanage and make me ease up on the punishment. Seen it too many times. Kind of makes NCOs irrelevant.
    I guess that is possible but alot of NCOs I have met are totally worthless at solving issues. I have no idea whether that was caused by Shirts/Chiefs taking over or if Shirts/Chiefs simply had to take over because of how inept the NCO was at solving the problem. If you had an Amn who was having issues with Finance do you think they would come to you or the shirt? Likewise if finance has an issue with your troop do you think they will go to you or the shirt? From experience I can say that very few supervisors ever actually take the time to walk into finance with their troop and tried to figure an issue out. Also how many supervisors have ever sat down with their troop and reviewed/explained their LES? How many supervisors even know how to read an LES?

    Most supervisors take the cop out route and tell the troop to go talk to the shirt. Does the shirt have some magical power to solve the issue? Nope, not at all. They simply call over to finance and ask questions about what needs to be done. As a finance technician I am just as happy to help the supervisor as I am the shirt. By supervisors taking the cop out approach the shirt is now the de facto point of contact. That means that supervisors are now cut out of the process never learn how to resolve even a simple issue. I tend to think that weak NCOs ruined the chain of command. That of course is just my experience though. Maybe I never really gave my chain much of a chance because I always had the option to skip them with no consequences.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    I guess that is possible but alot of NCOs I have met are totally worthless at solving issues. I have no idea whether that was caused by Shirts/Chiefs taking over or if Shirts/Chiefs simply had to take over because of how inept the NCO was at solving the problem. If you had an Amn who was having issues with Finance do you think they would come to you or the shirt? Likewise if finance has an issue with your troop do you think they will go to you or the shirt? From experience I can say that very few supervisors ever actually take the time to walk into finance with their troop and tried to figure an issue out. Also how many supervisors have ever sat down with their troop and reviewed/explained their LES? How many supervisors even know how to read an LES?

    Most supervisors take the cop out route and tell the troop to go talk to the shirt. Does the shirt have some magical power to solve the issue? Nope, not at all. They simply call over to finance and ask questions about what needs to be done. As a finance technician I am just as happy to help the supervisor as I am the shirt. By supervisors taking the cop out approach the shirt is now the de facto point of contact. That means that supervisors are now cut out of the process never learn how to resolve even a simple issue. I tend to think that weak NCOs ruined the chain of command. That of course is just my experience though. Maybe I never really gave my chain much of a chance because I always had the option to skip them with no consequences.
    Very true...maybe it's a case that's opposite of my thoughts. Maybe the Shirts/Chiefs took over because the NCOs weren't doing what they need to. Though that's when someone should have forced the NCO to do it, or replace them. It's come to a point now where the NCOs are left in place as puppets instead of being taught what to do. Kind of a catch 22.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    Very true...maybe it's a case that's opposite of my thoughts. Maybe the Shirts/Chiefs took over because the NCOs weren't doing what they need to. Though that's when someone should have forced the NCO to do it, or replace them. It's come to a point now where the NCOs are left in place as puppets instead of being taught what to do. Kind of a catch 22.
    It is a lot more work to teach someone how to fix an issue versus simply doing it yourself. Usually the best way to force someone to learn from their mistake to make them fix it as you supervise. Of course that takes a lot of time. One time when I was an Amn I accidentally stopped a Chiefs COLA one year prior to the corerct date. It was supposed to stop in January 2007 but I entered the year as 2006 because it was January and my mind had not switched years yet. It was a dumb mistake and created a $14,000 debt. When the Chief came in he was pissed. Most supervisors would have just solved the problem and warned their troop not to do it again. My supervisor did the opposite. He made me explain my mistake to the Chief and correct the problem. He stood over my should as I explained to the Chief how I would be solving the problem and made me assure the Chief that I would keep in contact with him to let him know the status. After the Chief left my supervisor sat down with me and showed me how much work it creates when someone makes a dumb mistake like that. I learned two important lessons that day. How to fix a major issue and how bad it sucks creating those issues because of carelessness. I never made that mistake again and many of my troops learned the same types of lesson as they made similar mistakes.

    Of course teaching me that lesson probably took about 3 hours of my supervisor's time. As an experienced technician he probably could have solved the Chiefs problem in about 30 minutes. Maybe the reason issues are being solved at a highert level is because people simply do not have time to teach their troops.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Forum Admin, can you please fix the way posts are landing? It's really, really difficult to follow a thread.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    The key to success in most organizations is to empower your employees to do their jobs (after you train and equip them), hold them accountable when they don't do their jobs (whether due to skill vs will), then recognize those who go above and beyond. Leadership isn't rocket science!
    One quick thought on this: Would changing tour lengths for everyone (commanders included) solve this problem? The normal tour for a commander is 2 years. At my current base the normally rotate between UCI (unit compliance inspection) and ORI (operational readiness inspection) every two years. That normally means one commander spends his time (or doesn't) getting the unit in complaince with regulations and the next guy gets credit or blame for it. Then that comamnder spends his time getting the unit's warfighting program together and the next guy gets credit or blame for it. How can you recognize and hold people accountable when they constantly rotate. I have never been to Korea but I would imagine the entire year is always spent enjoying what the previosu guy created for you or fixing what the previous guy screwed up. The problem is that no one ever knows about the problems until after the person leaves.

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    Default Re: Which came first the death of chain of command or indecisive NCOs?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    The key to success in most organizations is to empower your employees to do their jobs (after you train and equip them), hold them accountable when they don't do their jobs (whether due to skill vs will), then recognize those who go above and beyond. Leadership isn't rocket science!
    One quick thought on this: Would changing tour lengths for everyone (commanders included) solve this problem? The normal tour for a commander is 2 years. At my current base the normally rotate between UCI (unit compliance inspection) and ORI (operational readiness inspection) every two years. That normally means one commander spends his time (or doesn't) getting the unit in complaince with regulations and the next guy gets credit or blame for it. Then that comamnder spends his time getting the unit's warfighting program together and the next guy gets credit or blame for it. How can you recognize and hold people accountable when they constantly rotate. I have never been to Korea but I would imagine the entire year is always spent enjoying what the previosu guy created for you or fixing what the previous guy screwed up. The problem is that no one ever knows about the problems until after the person leaves.

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