Advice to Young Soldiers
This page contains articles of interest to everyone in the regiment that will forward their proficiency in the re-enactment of military arts. Contributions are welcomed at any time.
Notes on being an effective NCO
Given at George Howse Infantry school, May 2003, by Sjt Mjr D. Moore
UE The primary duty of an NCO (Non Commissioned Officer, or any person
of rank) is to lead. It is said by some that leaders are born, not made.
The Cdn Armed Forces disagrees. With proper training most people can
become leaders. In order to do so you must have certain skills;
Confidence: You must come across as confident in what you are doing. People want to believe in you. They want to follow you. The rank you hold, from corporal to general, gives you some status. Build on that.
Bearing: Stand still, chin up, shoulders back. Keep a military bearing. Don't wander around. We have a bad habit of doing that from our drill sessions where the NCOs move to correct and see the men. On parade you should have a place, keep it. The men should know where you are.
"Officers should never run, it worries the men" Cdn Forces Captains course, 1997.
- Be aware of the speed you are giving orders. Don't rush. Rushing will cause the words to blur together. This is especially true from the "new guys" point of view.
- Project, don't growl. Try to get the sound to come from
your head, not your throat. Think of it as singing. Remember your
breathing. Practise when alone in the car.
- Knowledge: Skills such as musketry, wording of the commands, etc.. You must know your stuff to teach it. The words of command have to be correct or confusion will ensue. An on-line version of our drill will hopefully be coming this year.
"Style": Develop your own, don't attempt to imitate others. Think of the successful NCOs you've known. They might be doing the same job, but they have their own style. Develop one that fits you.
Support your officers: You must support those above you if you expect support from those below you. If you have a problem with someone above you, speak to them off parade. Never in front of the men. Don't "blade" those above you, it only hurts the unit.
Self Control: Beware of anger. Remember they are volunteers. The strong silent stare is often effective. Correction with a human edge. So once you've corrected that "horrible little man" make sure you catch his eye and smile. The guy you chewed out at the parade, buy him a beer in the mess. One-on-one is never the time for shouting.
Once you have achieved these then you will be able to make your unit effective in combat and on parade. As your stature as an NCO grows you will gain a reputation in the hobby and be able to get the good jobs and roles for your unit. Your advice and support will be looked for. Effective leadership is the key to success in any unit.