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Practical Leadership Applications: BE KNOW DO Lessons from the Army Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Saifoda2 

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 06:48 AM

Well, it's been a while since I've been in these forums, and the Commander's section has taken a HUGE hit! What happened guys?

Well, in the past I have seen a lot of good (and some not so good) leadership theory presented by you guys, but I've really not seen much actual practical application of that theory. If you're your decisions as CO are based on your personal feelings of grand strategy, watching the History Channel, or famous quotes by successful Military commanders, then you need to take a look at what I have in here. For all you Army guys, you'll recognize this stuff. I have tailored this stuff to work for paintball, but if you guys have any suggestions for this stuff, well, this is a forum -- use it :D

If you asked me to describe how to be a successful commander in three words, I could give you an answer: Be, know, do.

If you are confused about the rest of what I'm writing, just remember those three words and go from there -- BE KNOW DO.

Okay, let's get started with that, one word at a time.


This one might not be so obvious from the beginning. You could say, well it means "be the leader." But what is that if you don't know what a leader is?

"Be" is defined as Values, and Character. This is where lead by example comes into play. As a leader you need to have a set of good values and high level of character. A common exercise for this is to write down values that you think you posses, and then write down some values you think you could work on or need to keep vigilant on yourself about. Character is more about what you do and who you are on the day to day basis, and how your values affect those attributes.

Some examples of good values (taken from the US Army) would be: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. All of those are pretty good for team players, perhaps duty should be substituted with Commitment, and then becomes some what synonymous with Selfless Service. Honor and Integrity are pretty much the same in the paintball world, so like I said -- gotta tweak this stuff to the paintball world. My team has a set of values that would be a bit much to share at this point, so we'll just continue on.

Attributes of character (again, as defined by the army) are: Mental, Physical, and Emotional. Statistically speaking, you're going to be a better leader if you're mentally tough, physically strong, and emotionally stable. If you can't think straight while under stress, you can't run do a sit-up to save your life, and you snap at people, you're not likely to be an effective leader.


Know means what you know both as a player, and how to command and what you need to do as a leader. Knowing all of the "noob" stuff might seem like it's implied, but it is important to make sure that you understand all of this stuff as well (I've had more Lieutenants that I'm comfortable with asking Privates about common Soldier tasks).

Here are the four sub-categories for "know:"

Interpersonal skills: Leadership, or Democracy as the saying goes, is not a popularity contest -- well, theoretically anyway. Actually, no, not even theoretically -- more like in a perfect world. To be a good leader and have the respect and trust of your players, you gotta be able to socialize with them and not think of them as "beneath" you. For me, this is kind of a "duh" thing, but again -- if it's not addressed, then some people might miss it.

Conceptual skills: In a sentence -- the ability to understand and apply the doctrine and other ideas to do your job. For those of you who think "being a commander isn't a job" -- you don't really have a team yet, you have a club.

Technical skills: Know how to use your equipment. Pretty simple, again, this is kind of a "you're a noob if you don't" thing, so this shouldn't be a huge thing to get down. This doesn't mean you gotta be the gun tech of the team, but you should at least have the general knowledge and skills to be able to perform basic maintenance on most of the guns your players' carry. If you're sitting there going "what's an O-ring?" then you have a lot of work to do (and don't stop once you know what an O-ring is :P).

Tactical skills: What is a commander if not a tactician? You gotta know what the right moves, at the right time, the right place, and by the right players, are going to be. This includes off the field. Like I said, you think being a commander isn't a job?


So you understand how to be the leader, and what the leader has to know. Now, you gotta do it.

This section is categorized into 3 parts: Influencing, Operating, and Improving.

The official Army definition of Leadership: "Leadership is influencing people -- by providing purpose, direction, and motivation -- while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."

Influencing: Easy -- get people to do what you want them to do. By the definition above, it is the means and method to achieve the standards of operating level through improvement (see how these words all play on each other?). The operating level is a standard that is set by yourself, really. It is one of those things that you gotta have a gut feeling on more or less. Needless to say, you can't expect to have a Semi-pro ranked team in the NPPL in your first year, at the same time though, your practices need to consist of more than just a couple walkon games and then a pizza party back at one of the guys' house. The improvement comes through recruiting, training, providing equipment (either requiring the players to do so and/or having a team "supply") and, as we're not funded by the Department of Defense, good financial skills as well. Might seem like I went onto all three categories in one, but I'll get to the others in better detail.

If you are still a little confused as to what influencing is, just look up these three words: Communicating, Decision Making (okay that's 2 words), and Motivating.

Operating: This is, of course, the primary function of the team -- go to games/tourneys/scenarios/whatever your team has set out to do. By the way, it is very important that when you form your team (or at least at some point) that you come to a clear understanding as to what the objective of that team is. You might want to write it out as a "Mission Statement." Every successful organization in the world has had a mission statement.

Three words to look up for Operating: Planning and Preparation (yeah yeah, 2 words again), Executing, and Assessing. You might think that assessing would be an "improving" thing, but it is very important that you understand that assessing needs to happen during operations.

Improving: This is what practices are for. Practices should have a very specific goal. "We suck at this, so we need to work on it" or "such and such game/scenario/tourney (a.k.a. "Operation") is coming up and we need to practice for it by doing this, that and the other." You get the idea I think. To address the assessing comment from before -- if you try to make assessments of your performance in past games during practices, you may come up with some inaccurate information and therefore may not improve as much as you could have. If you make assessments during games (or immediately after) then you do a few things -- it becomes ingrained in your mind, you have it written down, and you will remember it more clearly because of those things.

Three words for improving: Developing, Building, and Learning.

Well, I think that should be enough homework for you commanders out there. Again, this is a forum and I encourage you guys to discuss this stuff and add your own suggestions. I will be making more threads about practical leadership in the future, so watch out for them!
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#2 User is offline   platinum marksman 

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Posted 16 December 2008 - 09:26 AM

I have a few points to add on the tactical and strategical side of things. I got these out of "Strategy" by B.H. Liddel Hart. But they still apply to paintball...

1. Adjust you mean to your ends
2.Keep your object always in mind.
3. Choose the line of least expectation.
4. Exploit the line of least resistance.
5. Take a line of operation which offers alternative objectives.
6. Ensure that both plan and dispositions are flexible.
7. Do not throw your weight into a stroke whilst your opponent is on the gaurd.
8. Do not renew an attack along the same line(or in the same form) after it has once failed.

Ill add more when I have time...

Lead, and if necessary, use words.

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