A smart conversation: Do OTCs teach leadership?

#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!

YORKSHIRE FOREVER!!
 

Unknown_Quantity

War Hero
Moderator
#4
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.
 
#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
TheAlcotroll said:
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.
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.
 
#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
cheesypoptart said:
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.
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
Maccy_Bear said:
...the theory of Leadership is (possibly) the main effort of the OTC...
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
 
E

error_unknown

Guest
#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.
 
#16
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
We all know that, the future leaders in busniness stuff is for the benifit of the Vice Chancellor and the lefties at the union!
 
#17
Always_a_Rifleman said:
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 relevant material.
First para - I agree with you. Having exposure to having to teach a lesson, explaining in front of grown-ups in a TEWT why your two up bags of smoke is in fact a good decision, organising the May Ball, taking your turn to get each other lost in adverse conditions...etc.. is experience that your average 18 year old stoodent won't ever gain. Certainly it's a release from sullen playstation generation nemesis. I mean that.

Second para. Oh really? And on what are you basing this? Especially the 'it's more useful for those ...joining the regs'. How many 'normal' people are there in the OTC? And how much 'real life' do you experience in student-land? Ever heard your PSI say that landing in the OTC was like landing on the moon? Most will say that they're irritated by over-confident teenagers regarding their opinions as fact. Sound familiar (hint - read your post, if not immediately apparent)?

"You are also surrounded with people who have experiece of [insert 'f~ck all']"


Read on, my friend, from an ex OTC member

Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:39 am Post subject: Re: TA Officer Cadets

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Come to arrest the zulus - this is my experience, to underline what msr said.

I was 21 when I commissioned (13 years ago), and had been in the TA for about 2 years. I say TA; it wasn't, although I thought it at the time. I'd done a few months while at school with a now defunct SE English regt, and the rest of the time at an OTC after going to uni. Because I'd joined the infantry wing, who were good lads, used to win the various mil skills comps that Bdes run, were all fit, were all intelligent, and I was one of the few who went for a commission, I thought I was great, a real soldiers soldier.

So when I graduated and then transferred to my local inf regt, I thought I was experienced and, well, pretty good.

F'cking Boll#cks. I was out of my depth, and it was a shock.

You see, I'd learnt the Orders process, the minor tactics (triangular harbours - haha!), really believed in 'Serve to Lead', had a SAS smock and junglies. But this wasn't a command task, this was permanent. All of a sudden, I had NCOs with experience in NI and the Falklands sitting around in a circle, and exchanging glances with each other as I delivered my orders. I had sporadic attendence in one of the sections and the OC asking me what I was going to do about Cpl x. I had real people I had to talk to, not university types who were all on the same wave-length [as me] but builders, delivery men, some self-employed, some warehousemen, a local councillor, a barman, some unemployed. Some were smart, others didn't get it if you told them twice and showed them a picture. They were real people. Was I up to it?

The answer was yes... WHEN I'd realised that, yes, I would run my platoon, but I'd damn well listen to the guys, and use the NCO's experience. What do you think about this? What would YOU do? Why? Etc. I learnt that the guys respect you as long as 1 you show by every action that they came first second and third, and that you came no-where, and 2, showed that you were willing to have a go at anything and learn as hard as you can. And I learned some moral courage and the ability to distinguish as well, and when my plt sgt was out of order I told him so, as he did me. It was the best relationship I had until much later, in coy HQ, with the CSM.

I referred to the people earlier. They were the best bunch of people I've ever met. They were my life, and I lived and breathed them. I knew them all, and would have done anything for them.

Someone, I forget who, told me when I was about 20 that an officer doesn't have to look after his career because if he looks after his men and doesn't give himself a second thought, his career will take care of himself. In reality, yes, career courses have to be done, but the main thrust of it remains true.

That's part of it. The other part is competence. The men won't follow if they think you're going to get them killed. Popular perception of the TA is that it somehow doesn't apply. But look at Telic, how many of us have now gone out there? A damn sight more on ops than we thought back in, say, 1992. I saw it amongst the platoon commanders - their guys rated them according to their survivabilty under their command, they really did. So PCBC and whatever the special to arm courses are where you come from are important too, because its how you test out yourself and learn from the debriefs.

If in doubt, listen and learn. Respect the guys. And be the hardest working, most caring, most competent platoon commander you can be, and reap the reward - 'boss'.
 
#18
Oh, and given that the turnover of 2Lts is huge (often new graduates who pish off to London to seek their fortune in the time honoured Dick Whittington way), OCdts often end up as platoon commanders 'under instruction'. Their OCs make allowances, obviously, but they learn on the job, and no mistake. Don't confuse a TA inf platoon of real people with a platoon of students - it's not the same thing at all, and it's an eye-opener for your average YO, let alone someone yet to do RMAS.
 
#19
I agree with the sentiment that 'its not the same thing at all' but i'd also tend to agree that for the keen motivated types who are considering a TA commission (I deliberately don't include potential regulars here - they'll get their experience in a far more structured way) then the OTC can provide more oportunities for POs to develop their basic skills before being released onto a Pl of real soldiers.

That is not to say that it is the same but a good grounding. The chances for TA infantry Pl Comds to actually comd full platoons in the field are few and far between. Given the continuous manning and attendance problems, operational commitments and lack of quality training time, when the opportunity occurs for Pl or Coy (lucky) level ops there are almost always too many young officers and not enough soldiers in attendance.

I'm a firm believer that OTCs have their place, they do provide young officers and officer cadets for the TA, many of whom might not have joined otherwise and some of their training is actually quite good (hard to believe I know). Of course most of the Ocdts are there purely for the booze.
 
#20
Always_a_Rifleman said:
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.
Sorry to interrupt here nice people.

That's not so true. Ocdts (those who've passed TCB/RCB) and PO's (only done briefing) in the TA have the opportunity to be away on a training dictated by RMAS with some of the best reserve/regular instructors in each brigade every weekend (providing the students are willing to travel)-some combine training with OTC and others are pure TA. Although leadership roles within their home Coys/Sqns are limited, infact most of them have no trade and so no real roll and feel wasted on a tues night, they are essentially owned by RMAS by extension through our bde's and capbadged under RMAS as a result and the training they get reflects that.

I think.
 

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