Author Topic: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]  (Read 30265 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.

Quote
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.
Fior Go Bas

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:
"Man can now fly in the air like a bird, swim under the ocean like a fish, he can burrow into the ground like a mole. Now if only he could walk the earth like a man, this would be paradise."   Tommy Douglas - Greatest Canadian

Offline medicineman

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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.

MM
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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.

Offline CheersShag

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2006, 19:29:10 »
I got the opposite impression from the last two poster, I'm kind of with Ghost.
I noticed that if people see someone else being pro-active and volunteering, getting right in there, the rest of the course picks up the pace a bit too and everyone benefits as a result.

You don't have to blade the entire course in the process of course but if no one else is going to step up and you've got the drive to do so, I say go for it; it drives me nuts to think that people should feel a need to be a grey man because no one else wants to give it hard the whole course.

There's nothing wrong with being the grey man, but it's detrimental to everyone if there's some silent agreement that everyone must be the greyman.

Offline medicineman

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2006, 19:42:42 »
One of the main concerns is you can come across as a know it all - that doesn't often go over well with instructors and candidates alike, hence the reccomendations to keep to yourself.  There is a difference between stepping to the plate and trying to make a triple out of a single.  I haven't seen many Top Candidate Shields do much for people's careers these days but look cool on their ego walls.  I  guess What I'm trying to say is, sure, seek and accept responsibility, but be careful how you do it and what you're doing.

MM

MM

Remember the basics of Medicine - "Pink is GOOD, Blue is BAD, Air goes in AND out, Blood Goes Round and Round"

I may sound like a pessimist, but I am a realist.

Offline CheersShag

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2006, 19:51:08 »
Oh everyone hates a know-it-all agreed;
I was under the impression we were talking about things like volunteering when an instructor says "I need five of you over there, move."
I mean you know you're going to get stuck with a crap job but nothings worse than an instructor saying that and no one moving, it just brings the instructor down on the course and puts everyone on edge.

Offline fasdfasdfasdf

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2006, 21:44:34 »
I'm on reserve BMQ right now. Basically, your responsibility goes from yourself, to your fireteam partner/roommate(s), to your section, and your platoon. If you're done with yourself pick out the person that's lagging behind and help them. I've dressed people before to make it to breakfast timing. Inspections can sometimes seem different because you're never perfect (or very rarely ever). You've got to at least check that other people are meeting YOUR standard and that your standard is as high as theirs.

Asking questions in classes is natural, just think about whether the question is really necessary/relevant. I ask questions because I'm thinking about the material as I'm learning it, and if anything interesting and necessary comes up you should ask it. Don't yell at your coursemates without reason or with too much frequency.. That's gets annoying. There's is NO REASON whatso ever for people to think badly of someone who volunteers. If for some reason I don't feel like doing the job I'm GLAD that someone else has the balls to do it. If someone thinks I'm a kiss-*** for volunteering let them do the fricking job.

Encourage and help your teammates, and volunteer when you think you owe it to your platoon (if you don't think you owe it... that just means you owe it twice as much).


Offline GO!!!

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2006, 23:12:58 »
I could'nt agree less with Ghost.

IME, the guy on my course who had the best (or least worst) experience in Battle school was the one who the course WO approached on the Grad Parade - and asked who he was, why he was there, and if he knew which course he was on. You don't have to screw your buddies over, or shirk your job, but if the instructors just see another body working, the default setting is "good".

The boot licks who felt the need to vocally express their teamwork and "help" people that could'nt achieve the minimum cursed us with their incessant chatter and guys who could not stand alone, as they became dependent on the assistance.

Certain things require teamwork (log PT, obstacle courses, section atks) and certain things should be the domain of the individual (UAC, PT and kit and quarters), so being "gray" is not that bad an idea, the trick is to find the happy medium.
No leader was ever hated for being too hard, but a great many were for attempting to appear that way.

Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2006, 00:53:21 »
Quote
On the contrary, I found in my basic training that the ones always volunteering came across as "*** kissers" to others in the platoon.

Quote
I was under the impression we were talking about things like volunteering when an instructor says "I need five of you over there, move."

Common sense here guys. (Che that's exactly what I'm talking about.)

You can tell the difference between the soldier who volunteers because he thinks it will make him look good in the instructors eyes  AND the soldier who volunteers because he's not afraid to extra work and just wants to see the work done instead of people looking down dragging their feet.

Any soldier has seen it.
You see it anytime you need a work party.  Troops overhear an officer tell an NCO that they want something done so the NCO approaches the body of troops and troops
a. start to walk away
b.turn their back towards the NCO so their not noticed
c. try to look busy doing something
d. try not to make eye contact because they don't want to do the work.

Thats being lazy.  Their tired and they would rather someone else do the work than them.

There is always going to be the dummies who are all "Come on guys lets go go go, there's no I in team! lets get it together yay".  Those are the fake people who look like ***'s cause their over doing it.
There's also the troops who when the instructors need something difficult done can scan the crowd and say 'You, your not afraid of hard work and your not an idiot, i need this done'.

Another point about always volunteering is that when the instructors constantly see YOU with your hand up they will say 'no your always volunteering' and end up picking someone else who hides from work.

You don't need to go out of your way so the every staff member knows who you are and your name but I still think it's  important for them to be able to look at you and recognize that your a hard worker, not lazy and not afraid of work.  There is an art in being a hardworker without being a keener.

When I've wrote assessments I've given above standard to soldiers who when I've said " I need volunteers to.." they were already up and moving.

I think in the end it depends on what you classify as the grey man.  I use it to describe a soldier who goes out of their way not to get noticed, pull their weight or stand up for themselves.
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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2006, 09:24:54 »
While reading through some of the posts I thought of the following incident, true story but names have been changed (yea yea I know...)

Somewhere in the middle of the course after having finished the range serial on the 3 day field ex at lunch, the platoon WO comes to us with the results and congratulated a few with "you'll make an infanteer yet" until he passes this one guy who looked even alien to us. He passes him and then in an instant stops and does a 180 and approaches him. He says "And what creature might you be in God's fine domain?" He answered "Pte. Blow warrant." The WO says "Blow eh? grey man...get down and give me 20." Saying this the Pte went straight down and starting pumping and the WO left. The WO returned 20 mins later, to find a very tired Pte. Blow struggling and shaking in a half-a** push-up position. The WO says "Blow, what are you still doing down there?" the private answers "Er..warrant?" The Warrant laughs and says "Oh get the **** up son, I got a special assignment for you." The WO takes him. We see him around 2200 hrs (almost 8 hrs later) looking like he just went through a s**t storm, we asked him where he had been and he said that the warrant wanted to get to know him better since he had not been previously introduced to him and he helped fill the grey water sites around the training area for 6 other platoons and of-course supper picket duties. We tried not to laugh and I said, "Well, looks like you aren't grey anymore cuz from the looks of it your green is showing." He let out a weak smile and said "I guess not but do you think the warrant hates me?" One of us said "Oh not at all, but you really do have a special place in his heart and that's for sure."

From that experience, it showed that while sometimes you can in fact slip under the radar but get shafted in some way or another later on...somehow and somewhere. The staff isn't oblivious to their students and they make sure in their own way to take special care of them in their own way. Heck people who claim to have been grey men get it some way or another at a point in their careers and when they do get it, they get it good! It is better to work as a team player and help another without being asked and don't be so oral about it because with that comes future contact with the same people and the underlying theme as many have pointed out is "How do you want to be remembered?"

Cheers :cdn:
"I chose nothing...I was born and this is what I am."---Achilles---

Offline rifleman

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2006, 09:44:42 »
I got the opposite impression from the last two poster, I'm kind of with Ghost.
I noticed that if people see someone else being pro-active and volunteering, getting right in there, the rest of the course picks up the pace a bit too and everyone benefits as a result.

You don't have to blade the entire course in the process of course but if no one else is going to step up and you've got the drive to do so, I say go for it; it drives me nuts to think that people should feel a need to be a grey man because no one else wants to give it hard the whole course.

There's nothing wrong with being the grey man, but it's detrimental to everyone if there's some silent agreement that everyone must be the greyman.


I think there is a confusion about what being grey means. It doesn't mean you are lazy or have no drive. It means you do things for the good of the group without the need to be recognized. It means not looking like a know-it-all but still giving assistance. If you are not helping, you are a blade or a slacker...certainly not grey.

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2006, 09:59:55 »
Ah yes, then we do differ on definitions of the greyman.
See to me that's not being the greyman, that's just being a good soldier and I've never heard every good soldier called a greyman.

To me the greyman was the recluse, the guy who did exceptionally well on the written aspects of the course but when it came time to actually do something they slinked to the back of the pack or looked down at the ground, hid in the bathroom stall when it was time to clean up (hated that guy).

Opposite end of the spectrum is the ex-cadet who sees himself as the de-facto course leader and makes every attempt to prove he's the alpha-male (oddly enough, only when the Course WO is around). Now odds are he's going to volunteer and always shout words of encouragement and do things etc. etc. but he'll blade you if you get leadership duties so by comparison he looks better (worse than bathroom hider).


GO's right, the best bet is to find a happy medium.

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2006, 10:10:44 »
And I still don't agree, even with the revised definition.

The ability to lead is a rare and precious gift. Real leaders, when they do their thing, improve the effectiveness and efficiancy of the unit they are leading - both by helping things run more smoothly, and by setting the example for the other people in the unit. Leadership inspires, raises morale, and makes life better for everyone.

If you happen to be a troop who posesses some degree of leadership ability, you owe it to yourself and your fellow troops to use it. The "grey man" is selfish; he seeks to avoid failure by keeping his talents to himself. He is a coward; he seeks to avoid failure and punishment by never assuming risk.

The leader seeks to be the best troop he can possibly be, and he seeks to aid (however he can) his fellow troops to achieve the same goal. He is not interested in praise or glory but in effectiveness. He is willing to put the mission ahead of his personal comfort and desires. He helps his fellow troops not out of ambition or for appearences, but because it is the right thing to do.

Be that man. Be the man who tries. Be the man who LEADS.

Will you step on your dick in so doing? Almost certainly. Nothing in your civvie life will have given you the skills you need to be an effective soldier, and it is normal and natural that you will make mistakes. That is why you have instructors - they are there to put your feet on the right path. Sometimes that will hurt, but pain and humiliation is just weakness leaving the body. The man who avoids all correction is cheating himself of experience.

Don't be the "grey man".

DG
D. Grant

Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.

Offline fasdfasdfasdf

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #35 on: January 24, 2006, 10:27:41 »
You have to be careful and be sure you really know what being a good leader entails. It can get annoying when someone is yelling at his course mates over and over without due reason, or yelling too harshly, or single-ing people out, or being hypocritical... etc.. Make sure you lead *well*.

Offline rifleman

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2006, 10:35:27 »
To me the greyman was the recluse, the guy who did exceptionally well on the written aspects of the course but when it came time to actually do something they slinked to the back of the pack or looked down at the ground, hid in the bathroom stall when it was time to clean up (hated that guy).


That wasn't being grey, thats a egg-head and a shirker

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2006, 12:00:01 »
"The "grey man" is selfish; he seeks to avoid failure by keeping his talents to himself. He is a coward; he seeks to avoid failure and punishment by never assuming risk."

The true grey man is furthest from that - they are the people that accomplish what needs to be done within their group and with themselves, often above and beyond, but do it without being overly/overtly noticed.  Instead of being the person who finishes his task and goes and asks for another, they finish their task and then jump into another one or help someone else with their work without feeling the need to inform people what they're doing - they just do it.  Unless things have changed significantly since I did recruit training (I liked it so much that I did it again when I rollled over to the Reg Force), "getting noticed" was pretty much what you didn't want to happen to you, as it generally resulted in something rather negatively impacting on your day, week, or duration of training.  Some things resulted in positives, but they were generally few and far between.  The person you just described is nothing more than a bone idle tool at best and a self centered careerist at worst.

MM
MM

Remember the basics of Medicine - "Pink is GOOD, Blue is BAD, Air goes in AND out, Blood Goes Round and Round"

I may sound like a pessimist, but I am a realist.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2006, 12:06:57 »
I see that there are large variances in the impressions/definitions of what the "Greyman" is.  My definition is more in line with medicineman's.

The guy who shirked any duties and hid in the bathroom wasn't the "Greyman", he was the 'Crse Plug'.  We even had a lovely badge of honour for such types; a cord with a large sink plug at the end of it.

Of course, I could be wrong and thinking of the "Greyman" and not the "Grayman", but I am sure we will come to some concensus somewhere in this discusion.   ;D
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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #39 on: January 24, 2006, 12:32:52 »
the Gray man is American and Grey man Canadian ;)

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #40 on: January 24, 2006, 12:48:15 »
Quote
The true grey man is furthest from that - they are the people that accomplish what needs to be done within their group and with themselves, often above and beyond, but do it without being overly/overtly noticed.

The true soldier does not care if he is noticed or not (except by the enemy, of course) Worrying about being noticed is wasted effort and detracts from the mission.

If the soldier is noticed for doing a good job and is praised, good for him. If he is noticed for doing something wrong, his instructors will correct him *and he will be the better for the correction*

The purpose for training is *learning*. If you are invisible, you cannot learn. Far better to try NOW, and maybe make mistakes, and be corrected, than to cheat yourself of the opportunity to learn in an evironment set up to teach you.

Don't showboat, don't brownnose, don't blade - but certainly do all within your power to become the best troop you possibly can.

DG
D. Grant

Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! ... Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput.

Offline QV

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2006, 13:49:54 »
Interesting comments here.  I know a guy who has always strived to be the grey man, incidentally he placed 4th of 32 in infantry battle school and was top student on his PLQ. 

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #42 on: January 24, 2006, 16:59:51 »
Strange, been pretty much the same here - always been in the top 5-10% on courses by blending in.  Well, I think the verbal safety is going to "R" here.  I'll give you some examples of people on my Recruit course.   First things first.  In my squad alone, out of 36 people that started, we had about 10 of us (myself inclusive) who were ex-Reservists.  There was the one guy who was always out there trying to "help us along" - volunteering for this and that and generally accomplishing the square root of diddly squat.  He was loud, always going on about what he knew and where he'd been, etc.  I believe he held the CFRS record for numbers of recourses in Basic - last I heard he finally graduated after about half way through my 6 month French course.  Of course, he's an extreme, but there's always at least one per course.  We were in fact going to move his kit for him, but weren't allowed.  There was another dude who started to emulate him - that lasted about a week, then he woke up.  The rest of us did what had been suggested to us - blend in.  While doing that, we helped out our fellow candidates in the stuff we were strong in, including leadership issues when they arose.  Oddly enough, those of us that kept our mouths shut or kept things to a dull roar were generally the ones that ended up as squad and course seniors.  All but 2 guys in my squad that ended up as squad/course knobs were the ex-Reserve crowd and all were the one's (again myself included) that showed that being a grey man pays off.  We always had excellent course assessments, did well at most stuff and strangely enough, didn't have to bag lick, be constantly standing there with our hands out for more stuff to do - we just found what needed doing and made it happen.

I liken getting noticed to that knob we all know and love who wanders the workplace with a clipboard of paper and a pen in hand all day long.  This person makes him/herself look important, on a mission and like they're doing something; hopefully the bosses take note of this and they are seen to have initiative.  However, the really crafty boss will actually look at the pad of paper before they decide on how good this dude/ette is and then let him/her know they were noticed...

Spleen back in rib cage.

MM
MM

Remember the basics of Medicine - "Pink is GOOD, Blue is BAD, Air goes in AND out, Blood Goes Round and Round"

I may sound like a pessimist, but I am a realist.

Offline Hansol

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #43 on: January 24, 2006, 17:41:12 »
So basically it comes down to what my gym teacher Mr. Saunders would tell all the jackasses in gym class: "(insert name)! Don't be that guy!"
Thats like expecting a round of applause for declaring yourself against hitting kittens with shovels -Robert Young Pelton

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2006, 22:34:55 »
+1 to what medicine man has to say.

The Grey man is the place to be, to achieve success in this army. I have yet to see anyone garner any "positive" individual attention on a course, and praise seems to be a foreign term in our army.

The best way to do your job is with a quiet professionalism - be the useful cornerstone rather than the brightly colored (but useless) flag.
No leader was ever hated for being too hard, but a great many were for attempting to appear that way.

Offline billydee

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #45 on: June 03, 2017, 07:00:24 »
Hey folks,

Working my way through the recruitment process. Just about to get a medical booked. Very much looking forward to joining the reserves and 'giving back'.

Here's my question. I've been researching what to expect at BMQ - there are lots of people online suggesting that you should aim to 'blend in' at Basic, or not to 'try to hard' while training, so as not to 'stand out' and 'draw attention' to yourself.

I find that to be confusing. Aren't you supposed to be testing yourself or aiming to become something more than what you were on entering?

Wouldn't you, generally speaking, want to try as hard as you possibly can to grow physically and mentally?

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #47 on: June 03, 2017, 07:27:37 »
Yes.  try hard, give 101%.  Being the greyman means not making yourself stand out as a egotistical fuckwad or a knuckledragger who can't tie their own boots.

If you finish something before others (polishing boots, cleaning weapons, etc) then go help others and don't brag about being first/best.  (egotistical fuckwad).  Similarly, if you are the last to clean your weapon because you got your tonque caught in the ejection port cover (again) you might be in the knuckledragger category.   ;D
« Last Edit: June 03, 2017, 10:05:08 by Eye In The Sky »
Do I love my job?  No.

But does it afford me the ability to go on lavish vacations and buy anything I want?  Also no.

Offline BeyondTheNow

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Re: Being a "Grey man", or blending in on course - [Merged]
« Reply #48 on: June 03, 2017, 09:05:46 »
Hey folks,

Working my way through the recruitment process. Just about to get a medical booked. Very much looking forward to joining the reserves and 'giving back'.

Here's my question. I've been researching what to expect at BMQ - there are lots of people online suggesting that you should aim to 'blend in' at Basic, or not to 'try to hard' while training, so as not to 'stand out' and 'draw attention' to yourself.

I find that to be confusing. Aren't you supposed to be testing yourself or aiming to become something more than what you were on entering?

Wouldn't you, generally speaking, want to try as hard as you possibly can to grow physically and mentally?

Elaborating on what EITS said a bit, yea, not everyone can be the 'grey man.' There are lots of reasons a recruit might stand out, just make sure they're good reasons vs bad ones. Helping out others is a big one in terms of standing out for positive reasons. If you're done getting your ruck and other gear ready, great, go help someone else get their stuff together, if you (think) you're ready for inspection, great, go give a fresh set of eyes to the guy/girl beside you and see if there's something they missed or run over that common-job one more time, etc. (Your pl mates will appreciate/respect you for that type of attitude also.)

Sometimes the positive/negative things you do won't be done in front of Staff, but don't kid yourself about them not being able to zero-in on the type of recruit a person is.

And if you do end up standing out for a bad reason, it's okay as long as you simply take your jacking-up like an adult and don't (or at least try your hardest not to) make the same mistake again. Mistakes on course are part of the learning curve also.
"Stop worrying about getting back to who you were before it all went wrong. To heal is to understand that the person you've since become is the one who's most capable of doing whatever it is you were put here to do."~SR