Recon

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Scumfuck Praxis: Wearing the Big White Hat

So in the course of learning slowly and painfully how to organize a group into something resembling a coherent fighting force, I have learned a lot of things that I didn't know when I was just a starry eyed D&D nerd with too many friends and a thick helping of misanthropy. There are a couple of things about commanding the loyalty of your bannermen that I wanted to share with everyone that might be planning their own bugouts for their own groups.

First off, and before you consider anything else, remember that if you want to lead, you are going to be investing three to four hours of labor for every hour any of your people put in. Why? Because everything they do is something you have to approve of, and by extension understand well enough to approve of. And beyond that, you need to coordinate with them and help them budget time and money to actually get it done. This also includes staying on top of them to make sure it gets completed, which will be one of your bitterest duties-nobody likes to be the whip cracking overseer, but you will find that if you shirk your job, it will be easy for them to shirk theirs. So before you start making noises about leadership, be prepared to work more and harder than everyone else. If you want to wear the big white hat because you want people doing shit for you, then believe me-you don't want to wear the big white hat.

Second, your personal commitment to your gear and training must be an ideal for the others to hold up to. You must be their paragon of personal preparedness, and they need to know it. How can you expect them to commit seriously to something you are only half assing? Leadership, civilian and military and paramilitary, is at least 75% setting an example. So when you show up for FTX, your personal gear needs to be in order, tested and ready to go, and you need to be as well. You need to be ready, and look ready, and make sure that no matter what, you project an aura of confidence and strength. They will pick up on this, and emulate it. I suppose it is possible that you could "fake it til you make it"-but if you do this, your crew will pick up on that too, and emulate that, becoming tactical bullshit artists just like you. And then you will find yourselves in a worse situation, which many of your "militia" types have fallen into-an epic orgy of self congratulatory back patting, long on medals and short on sweat. So don't do it. Be something for them to look up to, and they will reward you by emulating your most desirable traits.

Finally I present the stickiest example of leadership, and one that can kill your combat effectiveness as quick as nerve gas. I am going to lay it out in black and white for you homie-you wanna wear the big white hat, then sooner or later any of the interpersonal drama is going to get dumped in your lamp. This is common to any peer group, sociologically speaking-but unlike other groups, drama in your fireteam can theoretically get you killed. There is no avoiding drama; it is part and parcel of being human. But it needs to be handled with empathy and diplomacy, and you, oh self appointed Leader of Men, are going to have to deal with it. Why? Because no one else will, and you wanted to wear the big white hat. Practically speaking, the best thing you can do is know your team members, and eliminate those who are high drama. But even a low drama group (yes, even a group of stoners) has its dramatic episodes, and when that happens you need to be impartial and show concern for everyone's feelings. If this sounds like touchy feely hippie bullshit to you, well, it kind of is. But you don't have the weight of the UCMJ behind your commands; everyone is associating with you voluntarily, and if you try to be some drill sergeant hardass and impose order through terror of punishment, you are going to find yourself pushing miniatures around a sand table and talking to yourself. So show a drop of empathy, for fucks sake. It will pay off in the end, and you can always kick a puppy if you feel too full of sunshine.

Special Sneak Preview for the next Scumfuck Praxis: 5 Things About Your Bugout You Haven't Considered. Good luck, and keep your powder dry.

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