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#1 User is offline   platinum marksman 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 04:17 PM

I've been commanding a team for two years now. I leave for college in a little less than three months. I need to select a replacement commander. My NCO is leaving for the summer as well. Unfortunately I see no potential in any of the other players on the team. Its one of those situations where each player is good at what he does but each temperament does not get along with another. I'm afraid that if I put one guy in charge I'd lose half the team. Prolly mostly my fault. I built the team in two separate squads. I trained the squads to be very competitive with each other. Granted the squads have become excellent at their craft, but my NCO and I are really the only mediators between the two.
Recruiting isn't a real option due to the low selection of people to play around here. Plus it takes time for a commander to earn respect. I know my team wouldn't like that either. They're very picky on who they follow. I'm afraid this might be the end of the team...Suggestions anyone?

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#2 User is offline   rcp_90 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 07:42 PM

I know your pain all too well, active duty military being what it is. I'm going to tell you what worked for me and our situation.

Basically, I didn't pass off the torch completely. My last even before I left, I rotated out some of my senior people to get some time in the hot seat. My team's "XO" did an acceptably poor job of the whole thing and I felt somewhat comfortable letting him take over in my absence. I stayed on the team though, I didn't quit or anything, because I knew I wouldn't be gone forever and I still could take leave for our big events.

While I was physically gone, I still kept in close touch with my team. Even in basic training, when I had 2 hours to wander on Sunday, I wandered to a computer lab. After making sure my bills were paid, my next stop was my team forums to check up on everything and keep things on track. My XO was having a very difficult time with everything, our team is very headstrong. He basically got told one day that he'd be in charge of 30+ people, and to top it off they're the type that if you told them to stop drop and roll, they'd flip you off... even if they were on fire. Making things more difficult, the core of my team are essentially my group of high school friends, and amongst them he wasn't the "dominant friend".

So, I kept them all in line and moving forward as best as I could through the internet. I got out of basic, they had gone to some events but weren't tremendously successful, but that's just how it is. Him and I accepted that as growing pains, a learning period. 3 months later, I was in Iraq and moreso then ever, Bill had to eat a plate full of poo sandwiches. He tried his best, but he simply didn't command respect like I did or have my organizational mind. A year passed, our events were still pretty ok. A lot of my guys told me "Bill did ok, but if you leave Help Nelson dies with you."

The biggest thing that surprised me was that the field leadership actually went fine. I was at one game, not there the next. The power gap on the field was quickly filled in, and my guys continued on.

And now I'm back, with a little less then 1.5 years left of Active Duty before I can go home. We decided that I should just lead the team from 13 hours away, because with the miracles of modern communication keeping on top of the group wasn't going to be that big of a deal. But my team and I learned a lot from the experience, and now I'm making a big push to grow confident, competent leadership. So, a quick rundown of what I learned the hard way...

- You can/should still be the spirtual head of the team, even if you're not present
- Leadership on field will spring up in your absence, so long as your people have confidence in themselves and their abilities
- Being away doesn't preclude you from making big events (how far away is your school?)
- Use this time now to "grow" leadership. Roleplay, next game tell a random person that he's in charge. Take point and let him run the squad (or whatever) from the back. Try to build him up. If you were a decent leader, and I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, then they should know what decent leadership looks like.
- Off field stuff (organization, etc) is going to be an enormous pain in the butt. Delegate it if you have to. On my team we went from 1 guy running everything, every time, to a new system. For each game, one guy handles money, one guys handles people, one guy handles the gear, another builds the fire-team layout and runs the team on the field. We just tried this system out and while there was room for improvement, it worked pretty well and made everybody feel good.
- Before I left, I ran everything. While it worked, it also meant that my senior people never learned anything about getting their hands dirty organizing stuff. So, a task that really wasn't that difficult or complicated wound up overwhelming and frustrating many of our officers. Keep in mind that my officers are all freakishly smart. I'm the dumb one out of the group and I have a 1300 SAT score (back when it only went up to 1600) To build them up, get whoever you select (or all of them) used to handling organizational stuff!
- If you can't pick a leader, fine. Rotate people, get them all used to it. You could take a vote, but that may not yield results you agree with. Or, after you've made them all run the leadership gauntlet a bit, ask them frankly, "who wants to do this while I'm gone?"

Of course, I play scenario. Our team is anywhere from 25-40 strong and we play 2-5 big games a year, with the occasional day trip. Adjust accordingly!
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#3 User is offline   rcp_90 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:13 PM

Here's two threads on this topic, both started as the same question asked by me..

http://forum.specialopspaintball.com/index...p;#entry2299262



and this one


http://forum.specialopspaintball.com/index...p;#entry1453403
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#4 User is offline   platinum marksman 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:15 PM

Thank you. Problem is I don't have any senior officers to fall back on. He takes off for the summer too...But I know what you mean. I definitely plan to stay in contact with the team. I traded my most prized possession (my beautiful A5) for a laptop to stay connected...growing up sucks sometimes...
My college is only 8 hours away, but I cannot afford to drive home every weekend, once a month at best. I was planning on trying what you tried. But I'm not too enthusiastic about my choices.
Yeah I remember those threads...I miss those guys so much...wish they'd stop by on here more often :D

This post has been edited by platinum marksman: 12 April 2009 - 08:19 PM


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#5 User is offline   rcp_90 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:26 PM

Ouch. How big is your team btw? I have to have senior people since we're so numerous, and we've been at it for 5 years now, so by and large the "senior guys" are the ones that were with us when we formed the team.

If your team is more homogenous, you could pick one person... or just pick them all. A truly terrifying squad is one where anybody can take charge. (Or do anybody else's job for that matter) That's a lot easier said then done, of course, but it's easier on the group's collective ego then picking one person to become their supreme overlord.
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#6 User is offline   platinum marksman 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 08:44 PM

Seven people total. Four is our average turn out for practices...Sad I know. But somehow we all seem to work together and get it done. I've been trying to get people trained in everyone's job. Some do it better than others...They can pretty well...
They need more of a mediator than a supreme overlord. Someone who can get them to stop bickering long enough to take out the opponents. I've trained them to think for themselves under fire. I've put them in every situation thinkable. Despite all this we seem to have a chemistry though...its weird. Now don't get me wrong. If I told two guys who strongly dislike each other to take that bunker, they would, and they'd do it well. But its finding a guy who can make that happen again is the hard part...

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#7 User is offline   rcp_90 

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Posted 12 April 2009 - 10:33 PM

I do actually know what you're saying, my own group is like that.

If your group sees you standing in front of one person, point your finger at them and say "YOU ARE IN CHARGE NOW", would they respect that? just curious
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#8 User is offline   platinum marksman 

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 07:28 PM

I believe they would. They respect and trust my judgment. If anyone had any complaints they know they can come talk to me. But they would listen.

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#9 User is offline   rcp_90 

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 02:14 PM

Then I think you have your solution. If you tell your guys "take turns being in charge", from what it sounds like, they would go with it and eventually get it. Just my 2 cents though, take what I say with a grain of salt.
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#10 User is offline   platinum marksman 

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 02:24 PM

As always...ok we'll see how it goes...I'll let you know.

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