Leader & Led
July 28, 2016 at 11:00 pm #100035MaxKeymaster
This post is a comment brought on by observations during the last Combat Patrol Class. It is not intended as a detailed dissertation on leadership, merely comment. I do dedicate a section of ‘Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival’ to this subject.
(As noted in a number of Student Reviews, you really should read this before attending class, and then again after. The first read will help with learning at class, the second read will then make a lot more sense afterwards).
Regarding leaders and led, this is a topic that really needs to be addressed across the board. The bottom line up front is that to effectively operate in a tactical /survival environment, you have to operate as a team. The team must have persons filling positions of leadership. For you extreme anarchists, it doesn’t mean they get prima nocta on your wife, or you have to offer tribute; it simply means that they should be filling positions of leadership to allow the team to operate effectively. The people that are filling those roles need to be competent and the best ones available to do so. To form a tactical team, you have to temporarily subsume self to the interest of working together as a team, because that is ultimately in the best interests of self and your group. Bring strengths as individuals rather than tear it apart and make the team weak as individuals.
What people mainly miss about this is the flip side: to have leaders you need to have led. If you are not in a leadership position, then you need to support the leader to allow the team to achieve the mission. Tactical situations are not ones for petty bickering. Ego and false beliefs in ones own ability are two of the main bars to this working effectively.
I am a great fan of letting people do what they do best. This means that if you are good tactical leader, then you do that. If you are the best cook, then run the kitchen. Each specializes where their strengths are and commands in their own sphere. If you have a group of survivors then there will likely be someone in charge of the whole thing, for whatever reason. Maybe they are the wisest head, or own the ranch, or whatever. Think of that as your civil leadership, if you may. They in turn must put the right people to the right tasks. They could be the head of household and the overall leader, but they may be physically impaired, old, or even wheelchair bound. They may still be the wise head that provides counsel and runs the show, but others may be better at running tactical missions and retreat security. So you won’t necessarily have single leaders, as the group grows in size, but section leaders in charge of their area of specialty. If you are the tactical guy, you may at times be in charge of the guy who runs the mechanic section, when full security turnout is required. But you don’t boss him in his shop. Try bossing the women running the kitchen and see how that turns out for you!
I hear comments about prominent bloggers being leaders of the liberty cause. Perhaps not so. Just because you run a blog, doesn’t make you a leader. Or it may make you a potential political leader, or whatever. I write about tactics and run training, but I’m not leading anyone. Just because you start a ‘militia’ and call yourself a Colonel, doesn’t make you a leader. Probably the opposite!
Bringing it back down to the team level, it is important that when someone is fulfilling a leadership role, they are supported. I am not worried at this point how you get those people into a role (but I would prefer it was based on merit and ability), but once there they must be supported, particularly when out on mission. However, if someone proves incompetent then they may have to be removed. Preferably not mid-mission, but depending how people were nominated, that may have to happen. I know that is the opposite of what I just said, but clearly thought needs to be given to who is actually placed in leadership roles. If you train together, then you will start to get an idea. It shouldn’t necessarily be the loudest, the most over bearing, the oldest, the one who owns the training land, or whatever. The hardest thing is to shelve egos and take a hard look at who is good at what.
If you have the wrong people in charge, what will happen is that they will either get you killed or when the rubber hits the road, they will fail to perform. In those cases, in combat, the natural leaders will step up. If you aren’t dead yet, and they have a chance to. So the trick is to try and identify that with clear eyes in any training prior to game day. The flip side to that is that just because you have an ego, and think you should be in charge, don’t question everything that the leader(s) do. Unless you have clear reason to think they are incompetent, then let them do their job, and support them.
On tactical training courses back in the British Army, on FTX, at the end of each training iteration we would all form a hollow square and get out all the team and command gear. Command appointments would then be announced for the next phase. You may have been rifleman number 4 in 3 section, now you are going to be the platoon commander. It was called ‘getting the binos’ because you were in fact handed the command kit, which included binoculars and lensatic compass. Clearly, on exercises / training such as this, we were all peers filling roles for the purposes of training and some would of course perform better than others. You can adopt a similar practice, by getting together to train with your peers, and having different people fulfill different roles for training. You will soon identify who is good at what. This also performs the function of training for redundancy if others are trained in the leadership roles. In case of casualties.
The vital thing was that whatever your ability, when someone else was in charge, you supported them and tried your best to make the mission a success. You didn’t bicker or argue or try and make yourself look better by sabotaging them. If you felt you had advice or help to offer, you would look to do so in an way that didn’t undermine them, doing it quietly. I remember being on the final exercise at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. We were in Germany and another cadet was tasked with an area ambush some way from our patrol base. He came to me and employed me as his ‘lead scout.’ I got him to the objective area for the recce, made some suggestions as to how to lay it out, got him back, led the ambush in as ‘lead scout’ etc. I didn’t even really like the guy much, it’s just what you do.
In a similar way, we can think about the use of the Incident Command System (ICS), as laid out in this post by Leatherneck556: ‘Guerrilla Unit Command & Control Discussion – MVT Forum.’ This is taking the fire unit ICS and adapting it to response by Citizen Unconventional Tactical Teams (CUTT). In this system, someone deploys their team and is responding to some sort of incursion by enemy forces. Any action by a command center at that point is aimed at supporting the team and leader on the ground. Providing assets. When QRF shows up, they are also there to support the leader on the ground, and deploy as requested by him, until he is able to hand over the incident to a suitably qualified and trusted higher formation commander. This cannot be about ego! It must be about how best to support the mission, which is ultimately the survival of your group(s).
One of the things that drives me crazy is the sort of silly games that go on in small groups. Imagine a small boat crew, or a small team, or whatever. You know how it goes – people take offense, get upset, and they sulk, and there is gossip, and all that. I just rip the bandaid off. You have to have this stuff out. And if people are repeat offenders at the silly games, they have to go.
Now, contrast this with the type of games you see going on at incidents such as the Bundy Ranch. Or the recent experiences I had with some less than reputable tactical trainers over the MVT Rifleman Challenge. I don’t personally tolerate it, and I will rip the bandaid off. In fact, this is a large part of why I aspire to no leadership role whatsoever in the liberty movement. I am more than happy to train freemen (which, as a term, includes women, just like rifleman does) and I love doing it , for the satisfaction of doing what I love (soldiering/training) while at the same time increasing the chances of survival of the good folks who come and train at MVT. I simply cannot stand the politicking, the backstabbing, the silly games that go on. In fact, other than the small groups and individuals that I train, I have little hope for the survival of liberty should a collapse come upon us. Not considering the:
- Colossal unassailable egos.
- Lack of PT, will to PT, and general fat-assness among the self-proclaimed ‘liberty movement.’
- The lack of serious tactical training,and lack of the will to train.
Now, look at the flip side of that. False modesty aside, it is clear to me that with the facility that MVT has become, and the training that is on offer, we have something really good going on. It is within easy reach for citizens to attend a few classes at MVT, train in the intervals, and attain a high level of tactical competence. However, I run on average two classes per month capped at 12 students each. And often those classes are not full, or I have cancellations. How is everyone else getting trained? With the exception of a couple of reputable guys out there that I know of (Mosby comes to mind) the answer is that they are not. And Mosby and I are small operations. That is why I have little hope. You can tell me in comments that you are training, and fuck you Max, you ain’t the only rodeo in town. And I’ll tell you that you don’t know what you don’t know, and you are not ready.
I just put up Lee’s bio on the site and he provided me with this quote:
“I am very proud to be a part of the Max Velocity Tactical Cadre. This is bar none the best tactical training American citizens can receive before actually defending themselves in combat. It is far superior to the training that the vast majority of combat arms personnel and tactical LEO’s receive before going into the fray. Many of these lessons were learned the hard way, but through MVT can be passed on so that the next warrior will stand victorious. You simply cannot get in a month with the conventional forces, what you get in one weekend at the Velocity Training Center. This is what Small Unit Tactics always should have been.”
But again, it isn’t even lack of training, and lack of will to PT that is the issue. It is ego and the inability to operate as a team. You have to get out and operate as a team to learn the skills that make it work. And remember, you may be a leader in your field, and bring that ego, but in fact you may ‘not be the one’ when it comes to the tactical leadership. I sometimes have mixed generational groups show up and I may on occasion tell them that it is plain to me that the 20 year old should be the tactical leader, and the 40/50 year old’s need to listen up. It may be that they decide on what the mission will be, but as far as execution goes as a team leader, the 20 year old might ‘be the one.’
So remember, don’t cause drama in your team. Learn when to lead and when to be led. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason – don’t talk when you should be listening. I have seen it before – a symptom of talking when you should be listening is sometimes two black eyes.
November 9, 2019 at 12:35 am #127028MaxKeymaster
November 9, 2019 at 3:16 am #127042AWS18Participant
Good stuff 👍🏻
Heat 1 06/19
Heat 2 08/19
November 9, 2019 at 3:23 am #127043JohnnyMacParticipant
I would argue that people who make good leaders/teammates typically will be able to do so in most situations, not just a tactical situation.
A few points to add, in hopes of developing a discussion:
1) It is difficult to be a fully effective leader without having done the job you are asking of your men.
Without having some level of subject matter expertise, you will be relying on your men to provide that expertise and perspective. This is both in terms of planning and execution. This puts the leader in a precarious position. With enough time, any decent leader will be able to sort things out- who is giving them valuable input vs who is trying to sway them for ulterior motives- IF CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOW! Sometimes, it’s sink or swim, and the new leader’s very first judgments seal their fate (figuratively and literally).
2) Actions speak louder than words
This goes for both leaders and led. As a leader, do you follow through on your word? Your people will take notice and your actions will either strengthen or weaken your position. As a follower, can you execute the commander’s intent so well that you “set the new standard”? Can you anticipate what’s required before being asked to do it (initiative)? This all goes towards building trust, a bedrock of successful teams.
3) Pushing through failure
Defining moments for teams are often when they are at the brink of failure, or have in fact failed. It’s the tough times that spotlight the character of a person. Do you start pointing fingers, whining or kicking off a pity party? Those are all typical of someone who is going to be a difficult teammate (doubly so as a leader). Those tendencies are ramped up when people are tired, hungry, cold, in pain, etc. Being aware of what sort of conditions make YOU a less compatible teammate, what you can do to mitigate them, and coping strategies for when you are “in the suck”, is huge!!! As a leader, you need to be able do to that AND help your team get through those situations. This is where knowing your men intimately could mean the difference between successfully redirecting them to get them back on task vs things spiraling out of control.
…I have way more thoughts on this, but that’s all time allows…
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by JohnnyMac.
November 11, 2019 at 1:12 pm #127379DiznNCParticipant
This is a very difficult subject. Made doubly so by the compressed time frame for training classes, and the fact that folks are paying for it.
From the time that Max first hung up his shingle, the training curriculum has continued to evolve, to where he offers combat leadership courses. The mere fact that he does, speaks volumes for how far MVT has come; addressing this issue is no easy task, but a very critical one.
I am of two minds here; I believe there must be some basic material to work with, yet at the same time I do believe leaders can be developed. So I neither believe they are born or produced, rather some combination of the two.
Because of the compressed time frame, I think some prerequisites are definitely needed here. To have the proper mindset or attitude to bring to training, especially this kind of training, requires some sort of mental as well as physical prep. Especially in this day and age where folks are not exposed to anything resembling the challenges you will face. So first of all, reading about real leaders, and understanding what traits they possessed and why that’s important. This gives you a basic template of the type of person you need to be. You know, the kind of stuff that used to be taught in schools, churches, boy scouts, etc, before all these things were corrupted.
Secondly, you need to have the basics of SUT down so that when under pressure, you are not trying to remember what you’re supposed to be doing; you will be stressed enough as it is; not having the basic technical knowledge readily at hand will compound this immensely. You know, if somebody took the Ranger Manual and turned that into something we, as armed civilian could use, that would be pretty cool. You might even want to have that in your cargo pocket for reference. Call it Small Unit Tactics or something like that.
So, when finally in a leadership slot. Holy shit. What the fuck do I do. Well, you do something. It might work out great, it might be a colossal fuck up. Or something in between. Don’t take failure as some sort of divine sign that you’re not cut out for this; take it for what it is. When you do certain things, it tends to have a certain outcome. Learn from it. Find what actually works; do that instead. Don’t let your pride or ego keep you from taking a hit; grin and bear it, and then come back strong.
And just as important, when you aren’t in a leadership slot. SUPPORT THE LEADER. We are all in a learning process. Give the guy the benefit of the doubt. Strive to do the best job you can, even in spite of your leadership, as the case may be. You can have your say afterwards. Right now do your job to the utmost of your ability. Sometimes, by just watching his troops, a good leader will learn all sorts of shit, without a word being spoken. Let your actions speak louder than your words. Your turn will be coming real soon. Be the team mate you want to have.
And if it turns out, the guy just ain’t getting the job done (right now), then perhaps some mechanism is required to take someone who is obviously flailing and quietly remove him, so that he can observe others and pick things up. Perhaps another chance later in the course when the light bulb finally comes on; perhaps in another course at a later date. The point being failure does not automatically mean dis-qualification. It merely points out your deficiencies, which you have to choose whether you are going to work on, and try again, or not. Part of being a leader is discovering your weaknesses and being willing to do this. A leadership course like this will lay them bare; it’s up to you whether you want to do the work necessary to correct it. Maybe at the course, maybe after you return home.
I think this has all become harder in this day and age, simply because people aren’t being taught the basic precepts for being a good person, much less a good team mate, in just simple, everyday interactions, much less crisis situations. If you can realize this, and understand that you need to up your game, in order to survive, and thrive, GTG. If not, well, go buy yourself some more comfort food with your EBT card, and just keep playing your “Call to Duty” in mama’s basement.
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