Author Topic: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV  (Read 2400 times)

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Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« on: December 06, 2019, 10:59:58 »
Hi all:

I got my approval from the Army Cadet League of Canada to start as a CV, and I intend to hit the ground running next week. The corps I'm with is extremely understaffed. I was able to snag the CO for a 15 minute meeting in-between other meetings and duties, and basically going to be the Supply Officer (since they don't have one -- there's just the CO and one OCDT who's the Training Officer), plus helping out with some drill instruction and the winter indoc.

I realized from reading another thread, that I really didn't learn a lot about how to be a good leader when I was a reserved infantry officer. My Phase training certainly taught me how to lead troops in the field, but I received zero instruction on how to be a leader in garrison and for day-to-day stuff. I've obviously never received any training for dealing with cadets or children, aside from experience raising my own children and helping out here-and-there with various activities they've been involved in.

I want to be the best I can be to provide some positive impact on the cadets' experience with cadets and their lives even if only in a very small way. I'd therefore be interested in hearing from the collective wisdom here of what are some things I should do as a CV/CI while waiting the next 6-12 months for my CIC enrolment (all application materials are in and I just spoke to the recruiting centre a few days ago and they confirmed they got everything from RCSU and will be calling me for my medical within the next couple weeks).

I've seen talk about "Leadership by Walking Around" ... would you recommend I stroll around and engage the cadets in conversation during their down time between classes? Any and all suggestions welcome.

Thanks.

Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 11:14:08 »
My suggestions as a former Air Cadet?

Treat the kids with respect. Harness/channel their enthusiasm in positive ways and be ever vigiliant for bullying and hazing.

When mistakes are made and corrections required, usually a quiet word will suffice, instead of yelling.

Set and enforce high standards. You will be surprised by what a group of teenagers can accomplish.

Delegate and empower the Cadets to lead and conduct their own training, to the extent allowed by Cadet Orders. They will feel a sense of accomplishment by doing things themselves.

As you mentioned- lead by walking around, alot, on parade nights. Don't get sucked into emails, when the kids are around.

Most of all: have fun! That part is infectious!

Offline Colin P

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 12:11:12 »
SeaKingTaco advice is great. Also don't over promise on what you can deliver. Try to stay clear of the drama that often exists in the leadership/branch. Get to know the kids and watch for when one is not looking right and enquire if things are ok. We have had a number of kids pour their heart out to us about stuff going on at home, not always really bad stuff, but a lot of kids don't have anyone to talk to about what's bugging them. Also some kids are real challenges and they have been brought there by the parents to help correct that. These kids will always seem to be getting yelled at or hauled up for something, but when you see even a tiny improvement , make sure you mention that you noticed and are pleased. This gives them a path forward and they often will start improving. Make sure you respect the Cadet NCO's and if they need correcting, pull them aside and do it quietly. Be willing to be corrected by these cadets, some of them are really damm smart and knowledgeable.

It is a lot of fun and when one of "your cadets" does well you feel great.  :nod: 

Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 12:15:25 »
Great points thanks.

Colin P, you mention that sometimes cadets might confide in a CI/CV/officer .... it occurred to me this might happen, and I do intent to get to know these kids and earn their trust. But if one of them does want to confide and it's something sensitive/private, how do you suggest having that conversation since my understanding is that we are never to be alone with a cadet? But they might not want to talk with someone else present ...

Offline Colin P

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 12:47:46 »
Great points thanks.

Colin P, you mention that sometimes cadets might confide in a CI/CV/officer .... it occurred to me this might happen, and I do intent to get to know these kids and earn their trust. But if one of them does want to confide and it's something sensitive/private, how do you suggest having that conversation since my understanding is that we are never to be alone with a cadet? But they might not want to talk with someone else present ...

It should always be two officers and most already know that. You advise at the beginning that your confidentiality only goes as far as to no safety threat to the kid, if there is, then you are bound to report it. One of the key things is that the two officers present can discuss what was said between themselves but it's not for general sharing with the other officers. 

Offline ArmySailor

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2019, 13:39:21 »
- Show up in the right dress, at the right time, in the right place. If you show up in Cadpat and it's the CO's parade with the CO of the AFU attending for the first time and your CO has reminded you 1000 times..........
- You're an adult.  Pay attention and be prepared.
- They are kids. Kids will do kid things.  Treat them like adults and they will rise to the occasion - but remember, they are still kids.
- Be enthusiastic and share your skills.
- Let the Cadet NCOs lead.  Stand back and do the higher level stuff, coach them.
- Cadet parents will often have high expectations than what can reasonably be delivered.  My Cadets would like nothing more than to be at the armoury every night of the week, doing Cadet things every weekend. Unfortunately, that's not realistic (in my context, perhaps in larger units). Be realistic in what you can offer. Be committed but don't over commit.   Cadet-life balance.
- Get to know your Cadets, their families, etc. 

Sometimes plans change. Sometimes the RCSU drops the ball (correction, often). Sometimes the armoury isnt' available (oh look, where did this BMQ course come out of nowhere on an awards night before the biggest parade of the year) Sometimes training sites aren't available.  Be flexible, go with the changes.  Don't complaint to the Cadets (complain amongst your staff, RCSU griping is a regular occurrence!)

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2019, 15:00:24 »
... Delegate and empower the Cadets to lead and conduct their own training, to the extent allowed by Cadet Orders. They will feel a sense of accomplishment by doing things themselves ...
- Let the Cadet NCOs lead.  Stand back and do the higher level stuff, coach them.
That right there.  Properly trained & guided, they'll feel great excelling, and become outstanding ambassadors for the organization & future recruitment as well.  I see civilians sitting on advanced Cadet course selection boards being hugely impressed with people in that age group, but I'm not as surprised having seen lots of young keeners come through the system.
Most of all: have fun! That part is infectious!
That too!
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Offline Kyle Burrows

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2019, 15:42:47 »
The biggest thing I can suggest when it comes to leading cadets (and anyone for that matter) is to make yourself approachable.  There is a way to be approachable and supportive without crossing the boundary from supervisor to friend.  You will find that some of the most effective communication comes from a place where they trust the leader in front of them.

Another thing that I have found helps them to grow is to provide them with the tools to solve their own problems.  If it isn't an emergency, I don't rush.  If you have the time to spare, encourage them to submit formal communications via email or in writing or find their own resources.  This helps them to realize that for their asks, there is an element that is on them to satisfy.  Remember that you are there to help them grow and develop skills, not be a hover parent (or a parent at all).  People that contribute to the resolution of their problems typically function more effectively as leaders in their own right, which is what we are here to promote.  (For this same purpose, I don't entertain things being turned in by parents/guardians.  If they trust their cadet to go off into the bush, they can trust their cadet to present their signed paperwork.)

I can echo the sentiment for setting and maintaining a high standard.  This starts with you and carries on downwards.  Model the behaviour you want to see from the cadets and also provide them feedback when their behaviour and personal standards aren't up to par - make it a learning experience.  Holistically, this is a mentoring relationship.  Formally, correctional/disciplinary items are governed by CATO 15-22 which is available on https://portal.cadets.gc.ca.

On the topic of disclosures, your primary focus is to ensure the safety and welfare of the cadet.  You are not a police officer or social worker and it is your job to get the information upwards in the fastest and safest manner.  In working with the cadets, I have not once had a cadet take issue with another officer being present in the room during a conversation like this.  By coming to you, they are asking for help.  It is an intentional act, whether they realize it or not.  For some context and tools, all adult staff members working in the program are required to complete PYDPO training.  This training is available on the DLN for Reg/Res/COATS/Civilian Instructors and also for volunteers and other involved persons via the leagues - http://www.armycadetleague.ca/pydpo/

I will say this - the CAF Principles of Leadership do apply.  Rather, they apply universally whether your troops are cadets, CAF Mbrs, or just civvies at your day job.  Learn them, love them, and use them as the guide they are.




Junior officers and NCOs who neglect to guide the thinking of their men are shirking a command responsibility.
-- February 1955 Combat Forces Journal


Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2019, 14:14:56 »
Thanks again everyone for the helpful insights.

Last night I had my first evening as a Civilian Volunteer. The CO assigned me to be the corps Quarter Master because they haven't had one for a really long time as far as I can tell. I didn't get to see the cadets too much since I had a lot of work just trying to sort through the stores and get a grip on the situation.

I did make it my #1 priority to get all the new cadets measured-up and start work on getting their uniforms ordered. I was at least able to accomplish that.

I didn't wander about too much, because I was trying to get up to speed as fast as possible on my job as QM, figuring out who has uniforms, who's missing, stuff, what has been ordered and what hasn't.  It all took longer than I thought.

I actually enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the interactions I did have with the cadets as I chatted with them a bit while doing measurements. Unfortunately Xmas break is almost here already so I won't be able to get as much done as I'd like before the New Year.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2019, 17:16:36 »
Depending on your corp and CO, you could likely come in other than parade nights and get a handle on the Stores, I had to do that at our Navy League, we have a lot more freedom to do what we want, just less money to do it with.  ;D

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2019, 19:47:39 »
Thanks again everyone for the helpful insights.

Last night I had my first evening as a Civilian Volunteer. The CO assigned me to be the corps Quarter Master because they haven't had one for a really long time as far as I can tell. I didn't get to see the cadets too much since I had a lot of work just trying to sort through the stores and get a grip on the situation.

I did make it my #1 priority to get all the new cadets measured-up and start work on getting their uniforms ordered. I was at least able to accomplish that.

I didn't wander about too much, because I was trying to get up to speed as fast as possible on my job as QM, figuring out who has uniforms, who's missing, stuff, what has been ordered and what hasn't.  It all took longer than I thought.

I actually enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the interactions I did have with the cadets as I chatted with them a bit while doing measurements. Unfortunately Xmas break is almost here already so I won't be able to get as much done as I'd like before the New Year.

Just a guess but, if you keep that up....

.... you'll be doing an excellent job :)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2019, 16:30:08 »
Thanks again everyone for the helpful insights.

Last night I had my first evening as a Civilian Volunteer. The CO assigned me to be the corps Quarter Master because they haven't had one for a really long time as far as I can tell. I didn't get to see the cadets too much since I had a lot of work just trying to sort through the stores and get a grip on the situation.

I did make it my #1 priority to get all the new cadets measured-up and start work on getting their uniforms ordered. I was at least able to accomplish that.

I didn't wander about too much, because I was trying to get up to speed as fast as possible on my job as QM, figuring out who has uniforms, who's missing, stuff, what has been ordered and what hasn't.  It all took longer than I thought.

I actually enjoyed it, and I enjoyed the interactions I did have with the cadets as I chatted with them a bit while doing measurements. Unfortunately Xmas break is almost here already so I won't be able to get as much done as I'd like before the New Year.
One point with Stores is the bulk of the responsbilities; indeed, the majority of the weekly responsibilities; can be assumed by a switched-on senior cadet. It's probably the best department remaining for giving a cadet significant, critical duties on an ongoing basis, as both Training and Administration are far too dependent on CCONet access for cadets, however capable, to really dig into the ongoing work of those departments.

If you want I can send you TORs for cadets Stores NCOICs; you'll just need to translate into Army before you bring the notion forward.

Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2019, 15:45:59 »
If you want I can send you TORs for cadets Stores NCOICs; you'll just need to translate into Army before you bring the notion forward.

Yeah, that would be much appreciated if you could send that along. Thanks.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2019, 17:19:42 »
Remember you're not the cadets friend. They don't need you to be their friend either.

Don't let any authority you have go to your head. You're also not an infantry platoon commander in the reserves, at least when you're working with cadets.

Stay away from Volunteer, CI and CIC drama. There might be a lot of it.

Stay away from parent drama, there's going to be even more of it. Some parents will try to live vicariously through their kids and that can include trying to act like the chain of command or "My son/daughter is a warrant officer, RSM" etc.. attitudes.

You're not a social worker or counselor.

Former service members who are now working as Commissionaires can be particularly obnoxious (ie Borden). Don't let them push you around.
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2019, 20:17:03 »
I will say this - the CAF Principles of Leadership do apply.  Rather, they apply universally whether your troops are cadets, CAF Mbrs, or just civvies at your day job.  Learn them, love them, and use them as the guide they are.

This is the version of the POLs that I was first introduced to, and still use today.  Picture of my wallet card attached - a little worse for the wear after a few decades but still does the job!
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 20:22:20 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2019, 01:11:11 »
Yeah, that would be much appreciated if you could send that along. Thanks.
Apologies for the delay. Docs at link. The actual TORs have been used successfully in both a small and a large corps. The table is a general doc, for a large Sea corps, that was being used to develop and define roles for C&POs.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1NFtjyJj2Nj76PrwRRTmK6g_u3xKc-uql?usp=sharing

Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2019, 14:09:49 »
Many thanks, this looks like it will be helpful.

Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2020, 01:32:21 »
You're entirely welcome! Let me know if you have any questions - and would be interested to see the Army "translation."

Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2020, 13:46:02 »
I think I am able to parse the Navy to Army translation, thanks :)

I've not been doing the Sup O think for a few weeks. Slowly figuring things out and developing my own systems for doing things. There was basically no system in place as there had been no Sup O for some time and the Trg O was trying to do what he could when he had time (which wasn't often). Right now my parade nights are crazy busy trying to get things up to a normal standard. I spent an afternoon at the armouries on an off day over Xmas break and at least got all the uniforms ordered.

The cadet they assigned me as assistant is very diligent and has very good initiative so this has helped immensely. He was sick before Xmas so last night was the first time I had him with me and I feel like I accomplished 10x more with him than when I was solo.

This would be a lot easier if I actually had the Sup O/Stores training course, or at least the basic CIC BMOQ but I am muddling my way through and having the experience of being Assistant Adjutant of my infantry regiment back in the day helps since I at least understand the basic concepts.

Anyway, overal somewhat to my surprise I am REALLY enjoying my job as Sup O and really enjoying the cadets themselves. Our corps is a good group. They deserve a fully functional corps and every week I feel that the staff is moving further along that trajectory. Taking all the stores responsibilities off the Trg O's shoulders should help him too I know he was feeling pretty stressed out.

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2020, 14:59:41 »
I think I am able to parse the Navy to Army translation, thanks :)

I've not been doing the Sup O think for a few weeks. Slowly figuring things out and developing my own systems for doing things. There was basically no system in place as there had been no Sup O for some time and the Trg O was trying to do what he could when he had time (which wasn't often). Right now my parade nights are crazy busy trying to get things up to a normal standard. I spent an afternoon at the armouries on an off day over Xmas break and at least got all the uniforms ordered.

The cadet they assigned me as assistant is very diligent and has very good initiative so this has helped immensely. He was sick before Xmas so last night was the first time I had him with me and I feel like I accomplished 10x more with him than when I was solo.

This would be a lot easier if I actually had the Sup O/Stores training course, or at least the basic CIC BMOQ but I am muddling my way through and having the experience of being Assistant Adjutant of my infantry regiment back in the day helps since I at least understand the basic concepts.

Anyway, overal somewhat to my surprise I am REALLY enjoying my job as Sup O and really enjoying the cadets themselves. Our corps is a good group. They deserve a fully functional corps and every week I feel that the staff is moving further along that trajectory. Taking all the stores responsibilities off the Trg O's shoulders should help him too I know he was feeling pretty stressed out.

Storesman here.  I suggest you contact your Supporting Supply Organization (SSO) and receive the guidance you require.  You should have a Base, RCSU or QM that supports your Logistical needs, they will be more than willing to put you on good footing.  Feel free to PM me if you need info on where to find your SSO.
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Offline quadrapiper

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2020, 01:38:24 »
I think I am able to parse the Navy to Army translation, thanks :)
I meant whatever you end up using! Always interesting to see what adaptations other units make.
Quote from: LittleBlackDevil
I've not been doing the Sup O think for a few weeks. Slowly figuring things out and developing my own systems for doing things. There was basically no system in place as there had been no Sup O for some time and the Trg O was trying to do what he could when he had time (which wasn't often). Right now my parade nights are crazy busy trying to get things up to a normal standard. I spent an afternoon at the armouries on an off day over Xmas break and at least got all the uniforms ordered.
Good luck! I've taken over a couple of corps stores after a period of neglect: it's a bit of a task.
Quote from: LittleBlackDevil
The cadet they assigned me as assistant is very diligent and has very good initiative so this has helped immensely. He was sick before Xmas so last night was the first time I had him with me and I feel like I accomplished 10x more with him than when I was solo.
Fantastic! One of the best parts of the gig; even better when your "right hand" is solid enough to start training their own replacement.
Quote from: LittleBlackDevil
This would be a lot easier if I actually had the Sup O/Stores training course, or at least the basic CIC BMOQ but I am muddling my way through and having the experience of being Assistant Adjutant of my infantry regiment back in the day helps since I at least understand the basic concepts.
Haven't done the most recent iteration of the Sup O course, but doubt it's changed much: by the time you've got your unit stores rolling, and have done a few orders on Logistik, plus your prior experience, you'll likely have OJT'd most of the content.
Quote from: LittleBlackDevil
Anyway, overall somewhat to my surprise I am REALLY enjoying my job as Sup O and really enjoying the cadets themselves. Our corps is a good group. They deserve a fully functional corps and every week I feel that the staff is moving further along that trajectory. Taking all the stores responsibilities off the Trg O's shoulders should help him too I know he was feeling pretty stressed out.
Once things get settled in, I expect you'll find yourself able (especially with a good cadet in the department) to take on enough other duties and projects to keep things interesting.

Offline LittleBlackDevil

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2020, 12:32:16 »
Thanks for the encouragement!

Once things get settled in, I expect you'll find yourself able (especially with a good cadet in the department) to take on enough other duties and projects to keep things interesting.

Yes, I hope so, because the only downside to what I'm doing now is that I don't have a lot of interaction with the cadets because I'm always in the storage locker doing stuff. But I can see this won't be a forever thing -- our corps isn't that big so once I've got everything squared away, the stores-related demands on my time will be greatly diminished.

I really want to get into doing some instruction eventually.

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Being a Good Officer/CI/CV
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2020, 01:50:58 »
Thanks for the encouragement!

Yes, I hope so, because the only downside to what I'm doing now is that I don't have a lot of interaction with the cadets because I'm always in the storage locker doing stuff. But I can see this won't be a forever thing -- our corps isn't that big so once I've got everything squared away, the stores-related demands on my time will be greatly diminished.

I really want to get into doing some instruction eventually.

Get some of the Gold Star cadets to train you up in something. It's a good morale builder for them, and will impress the he** out of you :)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon