The military is not a civilian office place. Soldiers are not their 9am to 5pm counter-parts. They arrive at work early, stay late, and find themselves away from home for weeks if not months at a time throughout the year. They are solutions-based people, that are often less interested in the process, and more interested in the solution. This can lead to problems, conflicts, and personality issues that threaten to unhinge a successful team.
Recently, an imposing three-star General was investigated for a litany of insults and unprofessional comments made during a briefing. The General was the middle man, assessing the work of the staff presenting a briefing on behalf of the Admiral. In a moment of disappointment, the General allowed his professional demeanor to falter, and started dressing down his subordinates.
Expressing his frustration, he told the staff members that they had failed him, that they should shoot themselves, and that if they briefed the Admiral of their plan, he would commit Seppuku, in other words, suicide. Many have looked at this situation and expressed disappointment that these actions were investigated. They reference with disdain the military today that produces people whose feelings are so easily hurt. They speak about the reasons why they left the military, and how bad things have become.
This is an interesting approach to this situation because, above all else, professionals should seek to be professional. In the case of a General, or more importantly, any leader, professionalism, tact, and an ability to lead is something that we should expect. Subordinates should be developed, mentored, and surely reprimanded if they fail to accomplish tasks, but within the context of the job.
Just because many of us joined the military during the days of the smoke session and insults, doesn’t mean we should put up with people that are reminiscent of when NCOs used to be able to conduct wall to wall counseling and beat soldiers up. As the military has become more professional and less hazing-based, we should not criticize people who never had to stay in the front-leaning rest until they thought their shoulders would explode. We should endeavor to impress upon our subordinates the drive to succeed, and the mentorship to get there.
That does not mean that it will always be successful. As any Company Commander or First Sergeant can tell you, just because you gave a safety brief on Friday, doesn’t mean a subordinate is not going to get a DUI the next day. They do it in spite of your hard work and dedication to developing them. In the case of General Mulholland, his tirade will go down as an example of what leaders should refrain from doing.
The kind of leaders from World War II such as Patton would likely not make it in today’s military, but that is not a bad thing either. General MacArthur disrespected the President of the United States on multiple occasions himself. The reality is that, at the end of the day, today’s military is not one of conscription and draftees, but one of volunteers that chose to defend their country’s interests. They should be treated with, at the very least, a modicum of respect.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.