A smart conversation: Do OTCs teach leadership?

Discussion in 'OTC and ACF' started by cheesypoptart, Mar 27, 2005.

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  1. Ok, please define to me what leadership means to you, and specific examples/lessons learned of how you think your OTC made you a better leader.
  2. There are numerous famous quotes concerning leadership

    "A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves"

    "Leadership is getting someone to do what they don't want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve"

    As for the OTC and leadership, choosing which bar to visit on a crawl and getting people there is pretty much it
  3. IMHO, the theory of Leadership is (possibly) the main effort of the OTC: Be it through military training, sport, or -indeed- getting the rabble from one pub to the next. OTC's try to creature future officers or 'capatins of industry' (sic) blah blah blah -see any units Mission Statement.

    Military training carried out (post mtq1) is geared towards nuturing individuals' leadership techniques, as everyone has their own leadership 'style'. The vitures of integrity and diligence are key in this process. Officers and Seinor NCO's with OTCs provided -mostly- great examples of leadership.

    Sporting (and p*ss up) leadership can come from example -think Martin Johnson or Ollie Reed- and thus also have a place in the OTC sylabus.

    Sorry, just a bit of a babble, feel free to shoot me out of the water!
    Gotta dash, beer time!

  4. Unknown_Quantity

    Unknown_Quantity War Hero Moderator

    The way I see it, the UOTC's allow the nurturing and developement of individuals and introducing them to 2 sides of the same coin, namely leadership and management. Better men than I have tried to define leadership and so far I am yet to be shown a specific definition, the fact seems to be that it is intangable yet extremely desirable and not an attribute of many people, the OTC's do a good job of developeing leadership by laying on adv trg and challenging military weekends. Management on the otherhand can be just as important in industry and allows the UOTC's to develope useful qualities in those who do not want to be leaders and especially don't want to use or apply the military style of leadership. Where leadership is developed, management is learnt and MTQ2, and section 2ic jobs on weekends are, in my view very good at developing management skills.

    The point I have tried to make is that I do not think leadership can be taught, but management can be, and is.

    Edited to stop the last line contradicting the first paragraph :oops:
  5. OTCs don't really teach leadership that well at any other point than the 3rd year. Other than a few command tasks and command appointments you don't really practice leadership (and practice (and screwing up) is by far the best way of learning to lead) until you're given a section or platoon to play with.

    Personally I didn't lead a section attack until half way through year 3 and didn't lead a platoon once in my whole time in the OTC!

    OTC will help a lot for getting through RCB but won't help much (outside basic military skills) at Sandhurst.
  6. With hindsight, i agree with this, too.
  7. Well, since I started it, I'd better add my own impressions.
    Basically, I credit the OTC with making me a successful person. To me, it's an organisation that you can really use to improve yourself at different levels. Now, for one I don't think many people join the OTC with a plan, and neither did I. But you do gradually develop certain interests and priorities, the trick is to focus on your weaknesses as well as your strengths (i.e. alcohol tolerance).

    When I went to Pre-RCB several years before joining the OTC, I was a timid little creature lucky to get a 2-24. I later passed because my OTC experience gave me opportunities to:

    1. Be competitive. I must say I took pride on trying to get the best out of my skills and drills. While I was completely shite at drill (well, I met the minimum standards), nothing was more fun to me than knowing that people came to me asking questions about how to improve their fieldcraft. Which leads me on to..
    2. Lead by example. I'd never had an opportunity to do this until I joined the OTC. It was an incredibly exciting feeling to be competitive, but in a friendly way, to actually see people speed up a little to catch up with you. Practicing basic stuff with guys who'd missed the lessons, etc. Earning people's respect will definitely help when you have to...
    3. Take responsibility for others. I'm sure we can all agree that that's when a person's true character comes out. Some people just freak out and treat others like dirt. Others take things very seriously. Some think you have to be chilled out. In any case, learning that others will follow when you say "follow me" will surely make you...
    4. Gain confidence. Self-explanatory.

    I agree to a certain extent that leadership can't be taught. But I also believe you aren't born with it. You have to learn it yourself; what it means to you; how you practice it. Funnily enough, until I thought things through I didn't think much of my old OTCs leadership training (and there was indeed plenty of room for improvement, but when isn't there). But on the whole, I'd say my experience there made me a leader. And everyone whom I thought I led considered me an excellent brew bitch - which is again something I honed at my OTC - so we all gained something.
  8. A question, vaguely relevant to the topic:

    How many OTCs do a JUO cadre?

    Sunny Manchseter do, but I've heard a dark rumour that we're the only ones.

    Oh, and yes as a matter of fact, I do believe that OTCs foster leadership and confidence.
  9. ULOTC have train the trainer run on the first week of annual camp. not exactly sure what it entails as i am doing it this year, but from what i've heard it is a combination of exercise and method of instruction. how well you do depends on your appointment the following year.
  10. Something along those lines runs at CUOTC, I did it in the dim and distant, so can't remember.
    I think OTCs foster leadership when it is there, but you can't make something out of nothing.

    I would say though that in the majority of cases, OTCs build confidence, management and self discipline; all of which are invaluable.

  11. I got a nice certificate saying I was good at management..or something
  12. I don't know about how other OTCs are run but getting leadershp experience is not about just leading platoon attacks. Even simple things like having to teach a lesson to your peers, or helping to organise a particular event will be invaluable experience in the future. A lot of people come to university with hardly any self confidenceand and even small tasks will be of benefit.

    Also, for those with a view to joing the Regs after finishing uni, OTC can be far more beneficial than the TA because you will get to do far more. Exsistng YO dont get to lead there Pl/Trp very often so you'll get even less of a chance as an PO or OCdt in a TA unit. Not only that but you get more AdvTrg etc. You are also surrounded with people who have experiece of boards and SH and so will be able to focus training on more relavant material.
  13. Many moons ago, a young 17-year-old me went to University and discovered the very first team sport I'd ever been any bloody good at. I was 5'9" and 57kg according to my medical docs........ sh*t at rugby, p*ss at football (had to work at that when I got to my first platoon, they were Div runners up at 5-a-side), but could run a bit.

    As time went on, I kept growing, and discovered that I was catching up on the six-foot-square-jawed-blue-eyed-hero types; maybe they seemed to still have the poise, charm, and success with the good-looking women, but give them a map and they were stuffed. Ask them to put up a basha in the dark and it turned into a kit explosion. Tell them to put a hole in a fig.11, and they needed to be at bayonet range. Big ego boost to someone who's not the most self-confident.

    We did an adventure training trip in the West Highlands; suddenly I find myself the duty demo dummy for the instructors: "Right. We're going to demonstrate how safe abseiling is - Gravelbelly, get on that rope, go over the edge, take your hands off, put them behind your head. You'll only fall an inch or two".... "Gravelbelly, you're going down face-first".... again, while I'm bricking it, I'm coping - and some of the "heroic" types aren't. Again, big ego boost.

    After four years in the Pipes and Drums, bimbling around and enjoying myself (solo appearances in the Depot WRAC, but that's another story), I've hit the dizzy heights of 5'11" and 65kg, and the OTC decides to get its money's worth out of me.

    "Right Gravelbelly, you're going to be a recruit intake instructor. Lose the black Glengarry, start wearing a TOS". Suddenly, I'm expected to know answers to things and make decisions without running away to the grownups. I'm teaching a handful of subjects (in the delightful days before Crown Immunity disappeared, this was the done thing - I taught SAA, some nav, some foot drill, some fieldcraft). The CO authorises the shooting team as range staff (try getting that these days) so I'm running ranges. Small beer, but heady stuff to a 21-year-old.

    I finally decide to go to Sandhurst. I enjoy this green stuff, I hate being f*cked about, I don't trust anyone else with a map, I figure my best chance is a commission...... and for some reason (a bloke I worked with was the local Inf Coy 2ic, and the Bn CO was a live wire) I went infantry.

    I suddenly find myself on TACC one June, and realise that it's not exactly heavy with OTC types, as they're still in term time - the rest of the course are TAPOC and Ex FAST TRACK types. I'm the second-youngest in the Platoon......... oh feck. And with an DERR Pl Comd, who mentions at the initial interview "that he expects more out of infantry officers". (Oh feck again, I thought, as I tried to look keen, alert, dedicated and probably failed. Still, he offered to get DERR to sponsor me to RCB at the end of the course, so I couldn't have been all bad - but again, that's another story)

    My observation at the time was that while the TAPOC / FAST TRACK types were (far) better prepared militarily, I'd actually had to run things, stuff it up, pick up the pieces, try again, succeed. In a "safe learning environment". Was that learning leadership? Certainly it taught me a lot of the component parts of it, so I'd say yes.....

    ...of course, the real learning started when I got to the Company with my shiny new pips up, and hasn't really stopped since.......
  14. Rubbish. OTCs are enormous recruiting drives to get useless alcohol-sodden grant-swipers into Sandhurst when they 'graduate' with their degree in Raffia Mat Making.

    Sandhurst is about instilling and developing leadership.

    This is why we don't want GYCs to come back to the Army after Uni - we only want them to tell all the other grubby students what a great time they had in green - and in the case of the females - how many times they were made airtight.

    Not picking on MB here - after all he expresses a common theme in this thread. IMHO. :D
  15. I joined the OTC because I had to, as a bursar, but I was keen because I thought a bit of extra cash wouldn't go amiss. In fact I was rolling in dosh at University as this was back in the day of big, feck off student grants, so I got one of those, the bursary and whatever I could get out of the OTC. But to be honest, I didn't learn much about soldiering or leadership. This is not a swipe at current OTCs because I'm sure things have changed, but the OTC was a total gangfück when I was there. The only useful things I learned, which stood me in good stead later, were batco and how to set up various Clansman equipments (I was in the Sigs section).

    Realistically, I didn't learn how to lead men until I was commanding a platoon in NI, everything before then had been bogus and/or theoretical.