Author Topic: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]  (Read 30288 times)

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Offline Infantry Soldier

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Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« on: February 26, 2004, 21:22:00 »
I‘ve been in the reserves for just over three years now, and I‘m almost done my component transfer, which means I‘ll be heading off to battleschool pretty soon.  I‘m guessing it‘s going to be pretty tough to be the grey man, so I‘m looking for some advice on not getting noticed.  I know basically to shut my mouth/don‘t act like I know everything, so I‘m looking for advice from people who‘ve done this already.  I know there‘s  a few other guys on the forum in the same boat as me, and I‘m sure we could all use some advice.
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Offline Gibson

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2004, 22:52:00 »
I was in cadets before joining the reserves (I know it‘s not the same level but somewhat similar).  I was busted while adjusting my DEU belt to fit fit the brass end to match up with the clasp before being shown how to do it.

It‘s hard to stay in the grey area, but I think as long as your not in the "better than thou" attitude your good to go.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2004, 16:04:00 »
Dude, why be the grey man? Don‘t sit back and try to hide out, be noticed. Let your bosses see that your not a reserve plug and that your a good soldier so you dont get stuck doing crap jobs for a year or passed up for courses.

I can pretty much assure you that the guys who will harass you for being in the reserves are ALL ex reservsts themselves.

"Stupid reserves this, stupid reserves that, good for nothing, oh ya well i spent two years there."

I havent met one reg force infantry soldier that made a big deal about the reserves if they werent complete dummies. Being a grey man will still get you noticed and harassed by the plugs and ignored by the good soldiers you wanna be noticed by.
Just my 2 cents though
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Offline Sheep Dog AT

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2004, 17:05:00 »
I disagree.  BS is not the place to get noticed.  You want to get noticed, wait until you get posted to BN and then show your stuff.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2004, 02:15:00 »
I read that too fast, missed the part about battle school i thought he ment being the grey man IN the battalion.
Dont show off in BS or they will try and use you for an example, just dont act completly retarded and clueless  :)
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Offline Nero

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2005, 22:56:41 »
I've heard this time used... what exactly is a grey man?

Offline bobthebui|der

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2005, 22:58:22 »
I've always been led to believe its a fellow who simply doesnt stand out. Almost neutral, doesnt stand out for doing wrong, nor good.

I'd say its the best way to be
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Offline paracowboy

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2005, 23:04:42 »
I've always been led to believe its a fellow who simply doesnt stand out. Almost neutral, doesnt stand out for doing wrong, nor good.
yup, never first, never last. Blends into the crowd, and doesn't draw attention to himself.

Quote
I'd say its the best way to be
yes and no. For your first while in a unit, and certainly while in Training, you want to be the grey man. Eyes and ears open, mouth shut, and learn. But, after a while, you're going to want to excell (else why bother getting dressed?). Once you've earned your way, and have shown that you can pull your weight, troops will respect your opinion, and that's when you're going to want to express it. No point in mouthng off until then, since you don't know enough about what's going on around you to make salient points.
...time to cull the herd.

Offline Nero

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2005, 23:14:01 »
Thats what I thought... someone who doesnt stand out. I was called a Grey Man during my weekly assessment today... What confused me, though, is that I was told I have lots of talent and that I'm doing things very well, and certain aspects I'm the best at most of the time, so I was wondering how this fit into the "grey man" definition. I was told that I should be more vocal to others about what they're doing wrong, ie: telling them to fix their berets and such...

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2005, 23:49:04 »
There are some who think their measure of a soldier is how bold and loud he can be, whether or not he's the most skilled or knowledgeable of the group. The braggart or performer can be perceived as being more soldierly because of the attention he draws to himself, with his sometimes bullying ways being seen as attempts at "leadership" among his peers.

The grey man, on the other hand, is usually that soldier who seldom draws attention to himself, either by trying too hard to show his stuff to the staff, or by screwing things up and constantly needing correction. This attribute, by requiring less staff attention than others at either end of the spectrum, causes him to fade into the background if staff are not careful to properly watch for the development of and evaluate skills rather than performance art and failure to perform.

The grey man is often the one accruing the better test scores because he quietly studies, often passes practical tests on the first try because he was paying attention to the lectures, and can usually be found helping his less skilled peers without drawing attention to the fact that he has done so. Being the grey man isn't a bad thing, it's just recognized that the grey man might be missed in some assessment approaches and not necessarily get the recognition he should.

All that being said, some of the best officers and NCOs I have known were the grey men in their training years. They were too busy learning their profession to seek opportunities to show off their knowledge.


Offline CheersShag

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2005, 23:56:18 »
Good points sir,

Would you say however that that doesn't neccesarily mean the young soldier shouldn't volunteer when they get the opportunity? It's not really showing off so much as it is seeking out opportunities to apply skills learned, at least in my eyes.
First to volunteer, always was my thing even if it meant diving into a task where I needed help, nothing teaches quite like experience.

Though by all accounts I was a greyman by your definition.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2005, 00:01:27 »
Good points sir,

Would you say however that that doesn't neccesarily mean the young soldier shouldn't volunteer when they get the opportunity?

Not at all, any soldier should volunteer for a task he feels confident he can perform and which will bring credit to himself for attempting it, learning from it and accepting the challenge. But that's not the same as trying to be the staff's best friend, watchdog and performing monkey.


Offline Nero

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2005, 00:03:49 »
Quote
The grey man is often the one accruing the better test scores because he quietly studies, often passes practical tests on the first try because he was paying attention to the lectures, and can usually be found helping his less skilled peers without drawing attention to the fact that he has done so. Being the grey man isn't a bad thing, it's just recognized that the grey man might be missed in some assessment approaches and not necessarily get the recognition he should.

I can relate to what you said. I do actually get good test scores and such... and when I do help people, its in the mess and not on the parade square (I keep hearing that we should stay quiet on the parade square), so the instructors dont end up seeing what I do.

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2005, 00:15:12 »
Quote
who think their measure of a soldier is how bold and loud he can be, whether or not he's the most skilled or knowledgeable of the group
an all-too common trait, sadly. "Quiet professionals" are not always recognized, while the loudmouth can be (falsely) perceived as 'motivated' or 'aggressive'. Forgotten_Hero, strive for quiet competence, but speak up when you know shyte is going wrong.

Quote
causes him to fade into the background if staff are not careful to properly watch for the development of and evaluate skills rather than performance art and failure to perform...it's just recognized that the grey man might be missed in some assessment approaches and not necessarily get the recognition he should.
a pet peeve of mine, and one I watch for when teaching/assessing troops. On the other hand, too often the competent troops get nailed with all the tasks, because they get 'er done. Sometimes I fail to strike that balance.

Quote
First to volunteer, always was my thing
aaaaaaarrrrgh! NEVER volunteer! It's the first rule! What are ya? New? ;D Nuthin' wrong with a troop moving first, or taking on responsibility, it's how you learn. But watch you're not becoming this guy:
Quote
trying to be the staff's best friend, watchdog and performing monkey
Him I despise. Although, I hold those NCOs/Officers who fall for this lick-spittle's routine in even lower regard.

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so the instructors dont end up seeing what I do
you might very well be surprised. Instructors see a lot more than you might think. And even if they do miss it, the troops don't. What's more important to you? The opinion of someone you may never see again, and probably won't remember you in 6 months, or those troops you will be working beside for years to come?
...time to cull the herd.

Offline Nero

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2005, 00:17:15 »
Quote
The opinion of someone you may never see again, and probably won't remember you in 6 months, or those troops you will be working beside for years to come?

The instructors are actually from my unit (BMQ is being conducted at my HQ) so I probably will be working with them.

Offline Nero

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2005, 00:21:35 »
Anyway, so, you guys would suggest that I pay attention to what others are doing wrong and then pull them aside after dismissal and tell them? Anything else?

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2005, 00:42:04 »
Anyway, so, you guys would suggest that I pay attention to what others are doing wrong and then pull them aside after dismissal and tell them? Anything else?
well, don't get so caught up in finding what others are doing wrong that you miss your own screw-ups. Stay in your lane, troop. Focus on learning. Help whenever and where ever possible, but don't start coming on like you're the wise old sage, here. You're just as new as they are. You have two eyes, two ears, and one mouth. That should tell you something, right there.
...time to cull the herd.

Offline CheersShag

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2005, 02:33:21 »
My rule about finding the line between being the instructors petmonkey/loud agressive know it all and being the enthusiastic motivated individual is this...

If you are able to pick out who the loud mouth pet monkey is, chances are you're alright.
IF you're having trouble figuring out which one that guy is and you suspect yourself of having your head in an instructors browneye, you may wish to reconsider things.

Forgotten hero, at your level (which i take is relatively new) you don't need to be taking people aside and pointing out things they can improve on, your primary focus as cowboy said, should be on being competent yourself.

Offline Nero

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2005, 16:30:12 »
Quote
Forgotten hero, at your level (which i take is relatively new) you don't need to be taking people aside and pointing out things they can improve on, your primary focus as cowboy said, should be on being competent yourself.

I didnt mean being nit picky and pretending to be an expert on things... but more along the lines of, well, yesterday we were entering class with our weapons. A few people forgot to clear their C7s... I could have told them to clear them... I dont know why I didnt.

Or, the past weekend, after drill one of the guys in my section was doing a safety procedure right behind me... he forgot to unload the mag and, if the mag was loaded, he would probably have injured someone... I pointed that out. I felt this was especially important to point out... the instructors didnt see it because we were around the corner, so I pointed it out to him.

Meh, I think the only thing I'll change about me now is that I'll try to remind people to clear their weapons when they forget and such things. Cant hurt.

Offline sdimock

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2005, 17:50:49 »
Forgotten_Hero

Think, live and breath   "team",   achieve professional competence and help your team mates do the same.

A helping word to the soldier beside you when they are struggling or forget something makes the "team" stronger.

Don't try to make yourself look good, try to make the team look good.

If you're keen it will show in the teams performance.

Don't piss others off with your enthusiasm though, that doesn't help the team either   ;)

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Offline Munner

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2005, 17:59:27 »
Don't strive for glory for yourself. Just help your buddies out and you will earn the respect of your instructors and fellow troops.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2006, 13:24:51 »
Being the greyman on recruit course
(Reserve side)

Lots of people will say aim to be the grey man on your recruit course. Well don't. I've gone whole courses without the instructors really knowing my name. Just cruised by. It does have benefits sometimes but NOT as a recruit.

First off it can really backfire.  If it looks like your hiding from work, never volunteering for anything someones gonna notice.
Your instructors will see it and give you 3 times as much work and your buddies are gonna see it and think you're an *******.(and they will be right) 
I tried to play the grey man and avoid work parties and ended up being on lunch and supper weapons picket (watching weapons while everyone ate) for 2 weeks straight. That sucks.

Lots of people treat being the grey man like avoiding work and basically contact with everyone. Your recruit course is basically your foot in the door to the military. You're going to meet friends that you will work with and run into for the rest of your military career. Almost 10 years later I'm still running into people I was on my basic with. You will too. If you were lazy and shiftless back then that's how you're always going to be remembered.

Just as important are your instructors.  It's not a case of never seeing them again. You're always going to run into them. You'll work with them and might even hang out in the mess afterwards.
If you go back to your armories after training and there is a position for a soldier to go on a jump course, driving course, peacekeeping tour, adventure training etc..  Who do you think they will pick?  Someone who they taught but don't even remember OR the soldier who constantly volunteered for crap jobs, constantly asked questions and made a good name for themselves.

On your recruit course you don't want to cruise by under the radar. So what if you might loose a little more sleep doing some extra work or helping someone out. Or your free time is cut into a little because you stayed behind to clean up brass on the range.
First impressions guys. On your recruit course (and even after your first year in as a private) you want to make a good name for yourself with your fellow soldiers AND your instructors. That first impression you guys make over that 6 weeks (or whatever)  is going to follow you the rest of your army career.

I can't speak for regular force basic training/battleschool but I know reservists who have transfered to the regular force and because the people you meet during your course and the contacts you make are SO important, they choose to redo basic training or their infantry training JUST to make a name for themselves and meet people.

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Offline Bradboy

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2006, 17:51:07 »
   On the contrary, I found in my basic training that the ones always volunteering came across as "*** kissers" to others in the platoon. It seemed they were volunteering to do extra because they were trying to impress our instructors, not because they wanted to help the others. I found the guys and girls who made the best impressions were the ones who would help someone when they saw them struggeling without being asked. We had a few guys who were quick to jump up and help someone when the instructors were watching but there were very few who would actually lend a helping hand when the instructors weren't around. My advice would be to just be real. Don't volunteer because you want the instructors to notice you, volunteer because you want to help out your platoon. There's nothing worse than an *** kisser in your platoon and nothing better than a team player.

 :salute: :cdn:
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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2006, 19:18:47 »
Have to agree with Bradboy - there were the mouthy, overly volunteeristic ex - Reserve guys, and those of us that let it be known amongst ourselves who we were.  We helped the guys out where needed and pulled our share and often then some - especially helping guys with kit, drill and other sundry subjects.  After a bit, the instructors knew who was who anyhow.  The loudmouths, especially ones that were a little more than annoying, ended up on Trg Sgt's and recoursed (one guy for ever and ever and ever...).  The others were often put into leadership positions; those that weren't were still monitored closely to ensure they were passing on things that they knew and weren't coasting.  It was rather amazing to find out how much my Drill Instructors really knew about us - weekly assessments became quite scary to read actually, as I was pretty much convinced by graduation that the barracks had bugs and other surveillance systems in them - stuff that happened was just too coincidental.  My advice, if you want to get noticed, do by soing something cool like helping out people - volunteering too much get you noticed alright, but not just by the instructors.  Your fellow candidates can make or break you - if you kiss too much ***, something will happen to your kit mysteriously, or if you're having problems somewhere, no help will materialize and next thing you know, your just another bag licker on Trg Sgt's Inspection.

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Offline rifleman

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2006, 19:24:48 »
If you are getting noticed then you haven't mastered the art of being grey. Being grey doesn't mean you don't help out, it just means you help out without recognition. Unfortunately, the grey don't normally top courses but can be excellent troops. They do the job.