Potential officer fitting in before officer selection

Greetings. You'll probably notice that this is my first post. I am in the early stages of an application to, hopefully, gain a commission in the AR. In my case (and presumably most cases except for those joining UOTCs) I will be joining as a soldier first and spending time with my unit before and during my officer selection and training.

Reading a range of opinions on what an officer should do, a common suggestion is that an officer should not try to be a friend with the troops under his/her command. After all, it is the officer's job to enforce standards (along with NCOs) and make tough and potentially unpopular decisions. Does anyone agree with this?

If that is the case, how would you advise I behave with the unit? Obviously I have no intention of going along and instantly being hated, nor am I naturally a very haughty person, but should I try to keep some sort of distance? If I try to fit in now, will that make it harder when I come back after commissioning to take command?
 

Wee Hawken

Old-Salt
My view:

Until you commission, you're a soldier like anyone else. Being standoffish (or perceived as such) will not help you. Just get stuck in and worry about the rest of it once you get through RMAS. Best of luck with it.
 
My view:

Until you commission, you're a soldier like anyone else. Being standoffish (or perceived as such) will not help you. Just get stuck in and worry about the rest of it once you get through RMAS. Best of luck with it.

What he said.

Just be yourself the AR is not like the regulars and things are a bit more relaxed, but people know when to be serious. I knew a top end solicitor who was a Cpl, and a train conductor who was a Major, both knew their place in the AR, no issues, no dramas.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
You do not need to be stand offish, but you should do everything with half an eye on where you aim to be.

If during your time as a soldier you were the one cutting corners, goofing off etc you may well find it coming back to bite you.

One contemporary of mine failed RCB (as was) and would have needed support from the unit for a recommend to go back. He didn’t get it purely because of his performance as a soldier.
 
Thanks for the advice and kind words. The older I get, the more I recognise that "just be yourself" is genuinely good advice. Very reassuring.

You do not need to be stand offish, but you should do everything with half an eye on where you aim to be.
With this in mind, aside from trying to become the best soldier I can be, is there anything in particular I should be focussing on? It makes a lot of sense that I should be endeavouring to set an example of discipline and diligence. Do you think there any other areas in which a future officer should stand out from the rest?
 
Do the job to the best of your ability and show that you are worthy of a commission. Once you have the respect of your peers as an OR the transfer to a commission status isn’t hard as you already have their respect.
 

ACAB

LE
Do you think there any other areas in which a future officer should stand out from the rest?
Physical fitness. Your troops will forgive you almost anything but if you are a biff physically then you've made a rod for your own back.
 

ACAB

LE
They won't tolerate poor navigation for too long either...
Mmmnnnnnn

We know a song about that don't we boys and girls???

Officer to Sgt ACAB "Right Sergeant where are we??" Me "I give in, where are we??"

Mucho red faceos
 

RaiderBoat

Old-Salt
This is from a Yank POV. Mods feel free to remove it if it’s not appropriate.

As a young Soldier moving up, I was taught an old NCO creed:

Be - Technically and Tactically Proficient
Know- Your job and the jobs of those around you and below you.
Do- The Right Thing for the Right Reason and take care of your Troops.
While old, it still applies and I prefer it to all our new sayings.

I inculcate that with all my new Os.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
Thanks for the advice and kind words. The older I get, the more I recognise that "just be yourself" is genuinely good advice. Very reassuring.


With this in mind, aside from trying to become the best soldier I can be, is there anything in particular I should be focussing on? It makes a lot of sense that I should be endeavouring to set an example of discipline and diligence. Do you think there any other areas in which a future officer should stand out from the rest?
Apply the yardstick - will this get thrown back in my face if I ever have to discipline someone?

Failing to make a parade because you are drunk or absent? Starting fights? Open disloyalty to the chain of command (beyond standard issue junior rank chuntering)? How do you respond when someone says to you “but you did it!”?

I had 10 years non commissioned in the TA before commissioning, and had a load of fun - just without crossing those lines that could get thrown back at me.
 
@StiffySinews, whilst I was being light-hearted about the importance of accurate navigation, you will still get thoroughly tested on it. Despite all the jokes about officers and maps, an officer who cannot read one will hazard the men and women under his or her command. The beauty about practising navigation is that you can combine it with doing some phys and get some miles into your legs.

When I was an OCdt, more years ago than I care to remember, my navigation was not as good as I thought it was. I had to put some serious effort into improving my map reading and the only way to really do it is to get out on the ground and practice.
 
Apply the yardstick - will this get thrown back in my face if I ever have to discipline someone?

Failing to make a parade because you are drunk or absent? Starting fights? Open disloyalty to the chain of command (beyond standard issue junior rank chuntering)? How do you respond when someone says to you “but you did it!”?

I had 10 years non commissioned in the TA before commissioning, and had a load of fun - just without crossing those lines that could get thrown back at me.
I had 6 years reserve soldiering pre RMAS and would echo all of what the Duke has said.

I would add, use the time to really get to know the folks around you, if you end up commanding them, already knowing what makes them tick will make life easier - it certainly did my early commissioned life.

Learn and listen from your colleagues and seniors - it helps to avoid being embarrassed later.

Physical fitness wise - I am not the fittest person in my current unit, but I am still top 1/3 on physical assessments and I am more than twice the age of most... I have never been the fittest (although the 3 seconds from the 300 club still hurts), but I have never been unfit or let the team down due to fitness.

Be yourself. Being false will be found out very quickly, and bite you hard.
 

Rooper

War Hero
Alongside the points raised above the one thing I look for above all else in a young officer is integrity. Approach everyone and everything with the highest standard of integrity and you won’t go far wrong.
 
What he said.

Just be yourself the AR is not like the regulars and things are a bit more relaxed, but people know when to be serious. I knew a top end solicitor who was a Cpl, and a train conductor who was a Major, both knew their place in the AR, no issues, no dramas.
Things more relaxed in the reserves? Not my experience. Most STABs I know who have mobilised, myself included, have been shocked by the chilled environments in a regular working unit compared to the reserves.

I think a lot of it is reservists playing up to the role while in uniform (shouty sergeant major etc), a feeling of needing to rag the blokes to overcome the reservist inferiority complex. Along with the requirement to cram in as much training as possible to a weekend or evening and avoid any white space.

The good officers I have worked with have listened to and engaged with all ranks, and not felt they have had to prove themselves by ragging the blokes or trying to be a hero, further have not tried to bluff their case. As a STAB it will be impossible to know everything - when you don’t know something be honest about it.
 
Things more relaxed in the reserves? Not my experience. Most STABs I know who have mobilised, myself included, have been shocked by the chilled environments in a regular working unit compared to the reserves.

I think a lot of it is reservists playing up to the role while in uniform (shouty sergeant major etc), a feeling of needing to rag the blokes to overcome the reservist inferiority complex. Along with the requirement to cram in as much training as possible to a weekend or evening and avoid any white space.

The good officers I have worked with have listened to and engaged with all ranks, and not felt they have had to prove themselves by ragging the blokes or trying to be a hero, further have not tried to bluff their case. As a STAB it will be impossible to know everything - when you don’t know something be honest about it.

I suppose it depends which unit you end up in as a reservist, I must admit the first reserve unit I wandered into after regulars was a shambles - an arrsehole of a PS who I knew from regulars where he had the same reputation. Quickly moved on and found a very good unit where everyone knew what they were doing, got on with it and had a laugh. I must say though most reservists I met as a regular were good, but for the first couple of days they always approached us with the "are they going to kill me and eat me" attitude............we didn't, well, only that one time the Sgt Maj told us never to talk about.
 

Awol

LE
This is from a Yank POV. Mods feel free to remove it if it’s not appropriate.

As a young Soldier moving up, I was taught an old NCO creed:

Be - Technically and Tactically Proficient
Know- Your job and the jobs of those around you and below you.
Do- The Right Thing for the Right Reason and take care of your Troops.
While old, it still applies and I prefer it to all our new sayings.

I inculcate that with all my new Os.
Inculcate? INCULCATE???

Don’t you be arriving here to hit us with perfectly correct English words that none of us English have ever heard of.

You damned colonial blackguard.
 
Alongside the points raised above the one thing I look for above all else in a young officer is integrity. Approach everyone and everything with the highest standard of integrity and you won’t go far wrong.

Worked for Maj Gen Welch,didn't it..........??

:D

And Charles Ingram.
 
I suppose it depends which unit you end up in as a reservist, I must admit the first reserve unit I wandered into after regulars was a shambles - an arrsehole of a PS who I knew from regulars where he had the same reputation. Quickly moved on and found a very good unit where everyone knew what they were doing, got on with it and had a laugh. I must say though most reservists I met as a regular were good, but for the first couple of days they always approached us with the "are they going to kill me and eat me" attitude............we didn't, well, only that one time the Sgt Maj told us never to talk about.
It's probably very much unit specific and driven by command personalities.

Apologies for going off thread but.... some examples;

A keen as mustard reserve JNCO turning up at a regular unit post Chilwell on a HERRICK mobilisation with razor sharp creases, starched MTP and bulled boots that would make a R SIGNALS RD drool, to be told by the regular sergeant major to remove the bull and de-crease MTP as it would show up the lads that were already there.

Another comment in a PXR written by a reservist commenting on a 'lack of professionalism' of the regulars compared to the reserves on the exercise.

Reservist LCpls addressing regular Cpls as 'Corporal' etc etc

I guess generally reservists are mad keen and also when the uniform goes on it's a change from the norm; but it does get a bit Captain Mainwairing at times. Particularly if those in key command roles do not have much leadership or management experience in their day job. It is really not at all like life in a busy regular working unit, and those who mobilise or attach to regular units can find it a bit of a culture shock both ways. Probably one of the benefits (for the most part) in the number of ex regulars now finding themselves in the reserves
 
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