What makes a good officer?

Discussion in 'Seniors' started by mbwest, Sep 13, 2005.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Just curious to know everyone’s thoughts on this subject.
    I’ve posted it here as you are the ones that have to be commanded by them but your seniors so you obviously know a lot about the army and how it works and many, if not all of you, will probably know more than your average 2nd Lieutenant. So I’m curious to know what makes a good officer and also what makes a bad officer e.g. some common mistakes.
    Also what is the best way for an officer to win the respect of his men as I hear many say “they don’t like officers” but everybody is different and how would an officer turn that around?
  2. Listen to advice but make your own decisions however tough they are to make, stand by your decisions but remain flexable. Being popular with the troops is not a requirement but an added bonus remember you have a job to do and that must come first.

  3. Show respect to those you command, it's not just a one way street
  4. Realise that you're not better than the people below you and don't ask bone questions such as "Ahh, the_matelot, I didn't realise you went to such and such a school. Why did you join as a rating??? 8O

    Don't talk to the most junior of bods with the same level of contempt that you would hold for a bit of dog dirt on your shoes when you're a Sub-Lt.

    Don't pretend you know more about my job than you actually do-trust me, you don't and it shows.
  5. MBWEST - I take it you are looking to become an Officer? If so, mate, as a current Officer I fear that you shouldn't be asking these questions really. Kind of undermines the whole Officer thing, do you not think? If you want help on the subject of Officership then PM me and I will give you a few of the Sandhurst buzz words....but it's something that differs from one person to the next. You win the respect of your guys by not fcuking them around - you will learn the hard way to start with I fear.

    Capt B
  6. Develop good Admin skills. Make sure you are first in the queue when something difficult has to be done and last in line for scoff. Listen VERY CAREFULLY to your Pl Sgt who will pretty much know more than you might ever do. Never expect your troops to do something you cannot or will not do yourself. Get the job done well and remember that one meaning of Subaltern is something along the lines of "Below another in standing or importance" A well developed sense of humour is a required item in your toolkit.
  7. A basic grasp of punctuation would help. Asking questions helps, but not naive ones, make this your last.
  8. Ah, come off it Tilly.... was it really that bad a question?

    Its a decent question with some interesting answers already. I like Ranger_Danger's "first in line for something shitty, last in line for something good" idea - had seen it before on another thread and it sounds like a good principle.

  9. Personally i find it better if an Officer listens and learns, trying to tell an experienced bloke how to do a job that he has been doing for years doesn't work, he also shouldn't be too pig headed to ask for advice, even if it is from the most junior of blokes in the Troop.

    I also like them to take admin in their stride and look after the blokes on the ground.

    These are just some of the things i like to see, IMHO.

  10. sounds a bit pompous Capt B, which is not a good trait in anyone and if you think the best way to win respect is not to fcuk the toms around then you still have much to learn.

    having an opinion is the same as having an arrsehole..everyone has one. so here's mine! honesty and being constant in decision making, listening to those with the experience (including OR's & JNCO's), Knowing when to be one of the lad's. Respect goes both ways.
    Talk to the LE's in your mess they have bags of experience. You will fcuk up but that is expected and you could say is a requirement for a junior officer, Oh and dont pretend to be something you are not always be yourself toms can spot it a mile away.

    Gone on to long ...sorry
  11. What makes a ...?
    A round of .45 should do it if judiciously applied
  12. Read all the answers above. Think about what everyone has said and see if you can find a common thread. Seems to be take advice, treat people well and ensure your personal admin is always good.

    Be yourself. If blokes do not like you, that is up to them. Take advice from your Seniors and JNCOs, but leave everyone in no doubt that the decisions (and thus the responsibility) are yours and yours alone.

    Other stuff appears to be common sense but is very hard when pressure is on you - eg praise in public, discipline in private. Never make someone look like a fool for the amusement of others - you will just look like an insecure bully. Be on time. Give clear unambiguous direction. Do not assume understanding etc etc etc.

    You do not need Sandhurst buzzwords, they are for charlatans and crawlers.

    'Slim - Leadership is just plain you.'

    The best two bits of advice I ever got were from my first CO when I was a Subbie:

    1. When first commissioned I had a hugely difficult issue to deal with involving a soldier who was beating up his also serving girlfriend and ended up offering the CO three choices - do something through RMP, post soldier away, or do nothing and post me as I would no longer want to work for him.

    As you can imagine, CO not hugely impressed by my ultimatum, but did the right thing. He then told me that I was a chopsy fool who other COs would have sacked. He then gave me a gem - if you can look yourself in the eye when you shave each morning, you are doing the right thing.

    2. Read an officers commissioning scroll. In that small document is everything you are charged to do by HM. It is a sobering read and should leave you in no doubt as to what you should do.
  13. Firstly my apologies to anyone I may have offended or anyone who feels I have undermined "the whole officer thing". However I cannot see how and it would be helpful if you could explain.
    Yes I am hoping to become an officer in the future and basically I am trying to gather as much information as possible. One of the hot topics when talking to serving soldiers is that they "don't like officers" and I would like to be able to change such an attitude if it arose.
    I was given a document by the army a while back, can't remember the details but it had a quote something along the lines of 'When it comes to life or death situations where you have to make real decisions, soldiers don't follow you just because you are in charge, they will follow your out of respect for you and your skills as an officer".

    I can understand how this would undermine the whole officer thing if I was a serving Officer as I would be expected to know the basics of this but at the moment, to you all I am a nobody and you don't even know my name, for all you know I could just be some 12 year old Chinese kid ‘surfing the net’. There is nothing I can do to undermine the "whole officer thing" and all I aim to do is gather some good quality information, and surprisingly, I think I am (Not as many jokes as I expected).

    I think all the posts have been very helpful and very valid, thank you very much. Most of them I had in mind actually, but after speaking to officer after officer I thought it would be good to get the Soldiers perspective.

    Also, my apologies to Tilly, I didnt realise our 'essays' on ARRSE were marked. I don't see how my question was naive, it would be naive if I had no clue and was asking the question but as I said earlier, I just wanted to hear everyone else’s thoughts on the matter.
    "Asking questions helps, but not naive ones, make this your last." - Is that an order or just some advice?

  14. A good Sergeant to carry Him/Her
  15. Obviously I expected the sort of stupid answers demonstrated here by Inkerman