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Management Positions

I'd be interested to know what skills are recognized at more senior positions. For juniors I agree, that they are used to being where they should on time, doing as they are told and not whining to much when they have to do some extra work. It might give them an advantage against civvie peers when working. But I'd expect that as standard for more senior positions in civvie street. What does the ex military have that gives them an advantage when looking at more senior roles (Compared to civvies)


I disagree except at the most junior level, when you are trying to encourage young people with no experience to show what leadership/management skill that they have but have never used.

From then on generally the Army just expands your current skills, good leaders become better leaders and bad leaders become worse.

I think in a lot of ways the Army can set people up to fail and its more apparent the higher up you get when you try for a civvie job.

Years of telling a subordinate to "make it work" rarely translate to civvie street.
As an OC/CO you can be set a task/mission and **** it up, but rescue it because you have a pool of manpower who are paid a set rate to do anything you like, in any conditions. People who paying the wages tend to get arsey in civvie street about that type of thing. Yet the OC/CO can claim he was in charge of 150/650 bods on X-task,

You said at the start of your post "The individual", I reckon that about most of it (once you get past junior ranks/young people). If someone is any good at something they will probably succeed in civvie street or the military, if they are bad at it, they have a better chance of covering it up in the military than in civvie street.

Leadership and management are different disciplines. That was a major thrust of my post.

RLC supply regiments have to get X amount of ammo/stores to Y Location(s) by Z time. Accomplishing that requires management.

When it's a long exercise and the blokes are chinstrapped and are doing it for the third time in 24hrs, in NBC 3R (or whatever it's called this week), is when leadership is required.
 
In large companies on civvy street, "management" means being bent over and abused for your bosses' problems, failures and weaknesses.

"Leadership" means acting as a buffer between your bosses and the folks you are responsible for, so the troops can go about their business unmolested. Listen to what your people tell you and go bat on their behalf...

"Management potential" means how many of your people with whom you feel the need to share the experience that your boss has just given you, and to blame them in turn for your failings. The more people who share in the feedback, the bigger your management potential...

the-real-company-hierarchy_fb_2569095.jpg
 
Leadership and management are different disciplines. That was a major thrust of my post.

RLC supply regiments have to get X amount of ammo/stores to Y Location(s) by Z time. Accomplishing that requires management.

When it's a long exercise and the blokes are chinstrapped and are doing it for the third time in 24hrs, in NBC 3R (or whatever it's called this week), is when leadership is required.

Yes but the management can be different compared to civvie street.

Its a lot easy to accomplish something when you make your workers do anything backed up by a discipline system that can include jail tim. Its a bit harder when your workers have rights and aren't really that bothered by your angry face.
I would suggest that a civvie firm delivering x amount of stores to Y location by Z time is harder to manage, than making the Army do it.
A random example would be in my last unit the sqn Op WO "forgot" to book accommodation and food for a load of lads/lasses helping out on an exercise. The solution (backed up by the OC at the time) was to make them share (sleep on the floor in their doss bags) transit accommodation with another load of lads/lasses and give them ration packs. The task was achieved. Can you imagine that in civvie street?

So my point was the Army doesn't really teach you that much about management, some people are good at it and the Army provides further experience, but equally some are shit at it but its easier to hide in the Army because the OC isn't having to explain to the budget department why 20 of his soldiers were booked into expensive hotels at walk in rates due to shite oversight.
 
I'd be interested to know what skills are recognized at more senior positions. For juniors I agree, that they are used to being where they should on time, doing as they are told and not whining to much when they have to do some extra work. It might give them an advantage against civvie peers when working. But I'd expect that as standard for more senior positions in civvie street. What does the ex military have that gives them an advantage when looking at more senior roles (Compared to civvies)
I think the more senior a service leaver is the more challenging it is, because you are expected to hit the ground running at Director level of an organisation, with very high sales targets (that can mean new contracts, etc, not necessarily sales in the normal sense). Most senior leavers can't read a balance sheet or compile PNL or Cash flows, in spite of having managed multi-million pound budgets. They are therefore at the mercy of the Finance director etc...

From what I have seen over the years and in my 18 months as a civvie, those that do well are senior capts/junior Majs and Sgts - often in the same cohort. They are young, full of energy and the (initial) expectations of revenue generation are not too demanding in general. They also learn very fast and have oodles more delivery experience than many of their civilian counterparts. I think one thing that shocks some service leavers is the number of women in senior roles - and I see this working with the CS; there are some absolutely outstanding programme directors who would shame many senior military pers.
 

jbgaviation

Clanker
That was just like in the firm I work with.
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Until covid & the car park emptied of the BMW's & Mercs as the Department Heads went.
Now streamlined who needs an ex AVM now the industry is going down the pan.

Wait for 2 years and we might hire again but not on the silly money before.
Oh & i'm now in operations & HR!:)
 
My last job, which was probably pretty 'low level' compared to the experiences of some on here, exemplifies the issues raised on here perfectly. A large security company, sites nationwide, about 2000 employees - mostly zero hours contracts. Decided to branch out into CCTV monitoring. Now I already had considerable experience of site setups / monitoring contracts, what will or not work etc.
This transition was being coordinated by a "contracts manager" - essentially, a salesman. Job lot of cheap Chinese RSI cameras and just throw them up on building sites and hope for the best. Obviously the customers had been promised the moon on a stick. Salesman bloke slowly assumed his new role and tarted wearing waistcoats - pointy shoes. Various buzz-phrases started to creep their way into his lexicon.

At a meeting I voiced concerns over various issues- mainly management of customer's expectations. They had been promised their sites (mainly construction sites) would have 24 hr cover-immediate police response etc.
What the customers were not aware of was- their systems were the lowest possible spec. The cameras had not been configured to the site - trees etc not blanked out on the receiver software. What it meant was- the operators were dealing with several thousand activations per site, per night. It was unmanageable.

I raised these issues and offered to show how to correctly use the software etc. Was told it would be too expensive to send one of the "engineers" (technician) out to all the sites and check the cameras. The operators would just have to "deal with it". Further more- this guy's managment solution was to add another layer of beurocracy into the operator's duties- they had to manage an excel spreadsheet for each site and log every false activation. Long story short- on most of the sites, when workers were arriving at 07:00- the operators were still dealing with a backlog of activations caused by trees / wildlife / flapping plastic from 5 hours previous. I left the company shortly after but- I left a "predictions chit" with one of the lads. Everyone of my predictions came to fruitian- Lots of insurance claims against the company due to intruders on site not being spotted / high turnover of staff, "managment" solution to that would be to get more draconian with the operators. Its still shit there now Im told but - somehow the operation survives. I think mainly because the sort of sites they cover are short-term and, in many cases, actively want to get "done over" so they can claim on insurance and mitigate over costs.

My point is- in the low level security industry at least, many of the managers do not have any formal managment training or even leadership experience. They are fencepost tortoises. In their position purely by virtue of time-served. It descends into an arse covering exercise and- the advice of anyone lower down the ladder is disregarded purely on the basis of "who are they to tell me how to do things".

That company also discovered 'Investors in people' - 20 years after most others realised the crap it was.
At a meeting we were asked if we wanted to progress ourselves and complete some mentored learning about leadership etc etc. Some form of correspondance course. I was asked why I had declined the offer. I mentioned something about already having NEBS(M) or whatever it is the RN leadership & management courses leave you with on completion. This was met with an audible huff from the ones in pointy shoes.

In that industry at least - majority of managment positions are not actually needed. They are created purtely so somebody's email footer can have "Head of telematics UK manager" or whatever on their sig block and- the customer feels they are being dealt with by higher level.

I think the bottom line is- maybe I should have just done a bit fecking better at school!
 
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There’s also the “let’s win the contract and figure out how to do it if we win” approach to doing business. Essentially selling vapor ware that exists on a PowerPoint only. It’s very easy to condemn that, but it’s much harder to pick a winner, develop a product and then take it to market. Many, many companies have gone bust doing that.

Sometimes you just have to get the right idea, try and gain some traction in the market with it, and then when the customer pulls the trigger and orders it, it’s all hands on deck trying to make it work. In my old company we sold this kind of cutting edge technology. For every 5 bright ideas, one might become a successful product. You have to have the right people in place to do that though.

Ex-HMF fall into two camps in that kind of environment. The ones that are used to finished products, fully documented, spares all codified and stocked, training regime in place etc. Some people are very adept at picking up that train set, and make it do what it’s supposed to.

Others are less well suited to fully defined products with guardrails that prevent them from fully exploiting it. One example might be the FN 7.62 rifle. It’s capable of being fully automatic, and some countries order it as such. Others restrict it to single shot and develop tactics around that, and woe betide anyone who transgresses. But those who transgress are the ones that can think outside the box and will get you out of the shit when you find yourself in uncharted territory. No, we don’t have manuals for this widget, and it’s broke. There are people in HMF who would backload it and do without, and there are others that would improvise a repair or workaround. Both approaches are valid, and while I think of myself in the second group, there have been occasions where I should have got it fixed properly rather than improvising.

I tend to agree with @Filthy_contract (for once :) ), the middle manager military ranks (whether officer or SNCO) would probably do better than ex-WOs or Colonels. Possibly due to comparative youth and.or flexibility, whereas the more senior people are a) what’s left after the flexible ones left 10 years ago and b) more rigid in their expectations of uniformity. There are of course exceptions, particularly LE technical officers and those designed for star rank.

As I said earlier, it’s all very subjective.
 
In addition to the above- and I stress its highly likely realted to the industry I was involved in-
What I found most of a culture shock upon leaving the mob was managerial attitudes. I was used to "higher ups" seeking solutions to problems, engaging with those on the 'frontline' to find out where the issues lay.
Instead, the attitude tended towards being accused of being negative - upsetting the applecart and- in many situations, being actively ignored when raising issues as- to acknowledge them would undermine their own previous performance and failure to address issues at the start. Ultimately it decends into a 'rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic" scenario where- in order to be seen doing something "managerial" - they would introduce petty guidlines / protocols that dont actually address any of the issues that needed sorting.
As for the guards in the security industry who were ex-forces - the following scenario is pretty accurate:

"Dave" leaves the army after 22 years, wants a pretty low level job to top up his pension so he gets an SIA licence. Dave is then placed on a large site with 4 other guards. The 4 other guards have been there several years and have the turning up -doing what absolutely had to be done then getting their heads down to a T. Dave would be horrified at what he saw. He would point this out to one of the ops managers and would be told to basically turn a blind eye and just crack on- it was not his place to point out any shortfalls. Dave would get fed up with being phioned at short notice to cover sickness because - Ngonbwe had called in sick on his birthday- after having previously had his leave request declined Dave would try and sort the rostering out into something more logical, and acceptable to all the guards on site. He would get told to wind his neck in as "That's a manager's job and..you're getting above your station". Dave would leave-disheartened with it all and end up doing something completely unrelated.
 
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In addition to the above- and I stress its highly likely realted to the industry I was involved in-
What I found most of a culture shock upon leaving the mob was managerial attitudes. I was used to "higher ups" seeking solutions to problems, engaging with those on the 'frontline' to find out where the issues lay.
Instead, the attitude tended towards being accused of being negative - upsetting the applecart and- in many situations, being actively ignored when raising issues as- to acknowledge them would undermine their own previous performance and failure to address issues at the start. Ultimately it decends into a 'rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic" scenario where- in order to be seen doing something "managerial" - they would introduce petty guidlines / protocols that dont actually address any of the issues that needed sorting.

You have just described Border Force management to a tee.
 
The difference between management & leadership...

Routine management = efficiently co-ordinating troops, vehicles, guns & hangers-on as part of a company deliberate attack. Bonus points awarded for catching your Brigadier's eye in the debrief.

Genuine leadership = Persuading your ANA company to get out of bed & repurchase their equipment at short notice from the local bazaar & herding them to within 500m of a given grid reference. All while enabling their own officers to take credit. Bonus points awarded for the survival of at least 50% of any suspected Taleban encountered.

Steady promotion & a decent career transition come to those who achieve the former. The most successful post-military careers belong to the small number who somehow, miraculously, achieved the latter.
I disagree. Your description of genuine leadership is limited to what is, in effect, small team leadership. Basically motivating people to do stuff they don’t want to do.

Organisational leadership in business is very different. It’s about creating a compelling vision for your organisation, aligning people with that vision and attracting the right people and resources to deliver it. Few people in the services ever find themselves in a position where they ever do any of that.

And then, there’s thought leadership, which is about getting people to engage in ideas and concepts. More and more, businesses engage in thought leadership activities to engage their customer base and potential customers.

Most people in the services who serve twenty or so years are institutionalised into an organisation where success means working the system, not creating the system. Very few ever develop original concepts and get people engaged with them.

Leadership success in business involves imagining and creating the system. Managers work in it. The corollary to that is that there are a lot business leaders who don’t have the ability to execute a strategy. Businesses often fail because they fail to execute ideas, not because they lack ideas.

It’s way more complex than a simple team leadership v management argument.
 
How true. I've been head-hunted for three roles and worked hard on my pitch and presentations for the interviews, only to find they wanted to harvest my CV to put in a contract bid.
My CV is now used in contract bids (by my current company). I'd love to see the potential client's faces if they actually read past the first page, LGV driver might not be the skill set they really want. :)
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
I disagree. Your description of genuine leadership is limited to what is, in effect, small team leadership. Basically motivating people to do stuff they don’t want to do.

Organisational leadership in business is very different. It’s about creating a compelling vision for your organisation, aligning people with that vision and attracting the right people and resources to deliver it. Few people in the services ever find themselves in a position where they ever do any of that.

And then, there’s thought leadership, which is about getting people to engage in ideas and concepts. More and more, businesses engage in thought leadership activities to engage their customer base and potential customers.

Most people in the services who serve twenty or so years are institutionalised into an organisation where success means working the system, not creating the system. Very few ever develop original concepts and get people engaged with them.

Leadership success in business involves imagining and creating the system. Managers work in it. The corollary to that is that there are a lot business leaders who don’t have the ability to execute a strategy. Businesses often fail because they fail to execute ideas, not because they lack ideas.

It’s way more complex than a simple team leadership v management argument.
There's something in that, but a key requirement for the sort of inspirational leadership you describe is the ability to define and communicate a proper vision and way ahead and convince and inspire with it; all too typically, the thinking from the C-Suite reaches hoi polloi as just another set of meaningless slogans and buzz phrases and is generally treated with near total contempt as 'there'll be another on in a few months' time, anyway'. Institutional and organisational inertia is a real issue and isn't just an artefact of big public sector outfits.

To an extent that's natural - a large organisation with a mature culture will largely set its own course and the most the C-Suite can hope to do before the CEO moves on to his next well-paid role is apply a little bit of pressure on the reins and move the organisation a little bit - not necessarily in the direction he or she wanted.
 
In that industry at least - majority of managment positions are not actually needed. They are created purtely so somebody's email footer can have "Head of telematics UK manager" or whatever on their sig block and- the customer feels they are being dealt with by higher level.
I've seen it at a previous workplace. All the "sales executives" became "managers". Some of them then thought they out ranked me, as a lowly support manager. When I politely pointed out I had staff I managed and they didn't, it would go quiet.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
There's something in that, but a key requirement for the sort of inspirational leadership you describe is the ability to define and communicate a proper vision and way ahead and convince and inspire with it; all too typically, the thinking from the C-Suite reaches hoi polloi as just another set of meaningless slogans and buzz phrases and is generally treated with near total contempt as 'there'll be another on in a few months' time, anyway'. Institutional and organisational inertia is a real issue and isn't just an artefact of big public sector outfits.

To an extent that's natural - a large organisation with a mature culture will largely set its own course and the most the C-Suite can hope to do before the CEO moves on to his next well-paid role is apply a little bit of pressure on the reins and move the organisation a little bit - not necessarily in the direction he or she wanted.
And neither board level leadership nor thought leadership mean much to 95% of the employees or customers. The "C-suite" (and those that aspire to it) may think they do, but the employees care about pay day and their immediate surroundings and customers care about the here and now of product/price/service.

The rest is just noise.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
In that industry at least - majority of managment positions are not actually needed. They are created purtely so somebody's email footer can have "Head of telematics UK manager" or whatever on their sig block and- the customer feels they are being dealt with by higher level.

Or, the internal point of "we're not going to give you a pay rise, but look at your shiny new job title! Won't people be impressed!"
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
And neither board level leadership nor thought leadership mean much to 95% of the employees or customers. The "C-suite" (and those that aspire to it) may think they do, but the employees care about pay day and their immediate surroundings and customers care about the here and now of product/price/service.

The rest is just noise.
I can't tell you the number of times I've pointed out in meetings that our clients couldn't give a shit how we organise ourselves and that internal 'silo' issues are of no interest or relevance to the ones paying our invoices.
 
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