Having trouble with discipline and need someone to evaluate how I conduct myself


Hello all
I am having some real problems with discipline within my squadron, when I first joined my squadron 4ish years ago it felt like I was in a military youth organisation as NCOs were Strict, nobody dared to slack however as the years progressed the discipline has rapidly declined to the point were uniform is starting to look bad and NCOs saying “they don’t want to be mean” and not enforcing discipline this isn’t helped by an officer who as much as I think hes great is very laid back to the point where in which we salute him he says not too. Anyway that was a little backstory what I want to be evaluated on is a flight inspection the other night. We recently re-introduced flights and I want to get my flight looking much better uniform wise and have better discipline to the point when compared to the other flight it is noticeable, anyway I was doing this snap inspection and I was strict for example if some people started talking I would say “shut up” but I wouldn’t raise my voice (other than to tell them to be quite), the uniform was appalling so when I went up to each individual cadet I would say on the lines of such things such as "your shoes look ‘■■■■’ " and I questioned cadets asking if they had moulded berets/polished shoes/iron uniform if I knew they hadn’t I would then ask why. I would like to add that I didn’t raise my voice at all (only did to tell cadets to be quite) I did swear but not obsessively only to say that certain bits of uniform do look bad e.g. “your creases are ■■■■” and I did lightly compliment cadets when they did do uniform correctly, however later after the inspection another CPL told me one of the cadets cried afterwards for it and I got a bollocking from the flight leader (cdt sgt) anyway this incident has caused me to 2nd guess myself, were my actions appropriate? or were they bang out of order? or was it just a shock for these new cadets (the cadet had only been here for a year) to be suddenly treated with discipline? please help and tell me if I have conducted myself badly thanks! (I am a cdt CPL btw)


I had a great deal of understanding and respect about things that you were wanting to achieve and how you were going about it right up to the point where you said you’d swore at cadets. At this point any cadet will have lost any respect they had for you and unfortunately you added to the lack of discipline that you previously mentioned. I feel you should reflect on this and look at how things could be achieved without having to drop to those levels. Remember we are a uniformed youth organisation not military boot camp.


Jonesy’s hit the nail on the head. Your intentions are good, but there are other ways to go about it.
As a team leader (ie an NCO in a flight) you want to bring your team with you. So maybe a friendly chat about the expectations you have, that you want them to be the best flight, and how you and they could work towards that. If some cadets are new, and standards haven’t been too high recently, do they really know what’s required, and how to do it? Set ground rules by all means but you can’t tell them off for things they don’t know. Get them to work together on their uniform prep, if that’s the issue.
You say you didn’t shout, but you did swear. There’s no excuse for that. Yes we all have to raise our voices from time to time, if there’s a safety issue, or to bring a noisy room to order. But you should not be singling out any one Cdt. Language should be firm but polite. This isn’t basic training or one of those military documentaries on the telly!
Also, you refer to the Flt leader telling off. If you’re not the Flt leader, did you discuss this with her/him first? If not why not? You need the people above you on side too, if you want things to change.
You’re lucky this has only gone as far as a Cdt Sgt. It could easily escalate to a hats on no coffee chat with your OC. You need to start again with your flight. Maybe a chat with your Squadron (adult) SNCO is the way forward.


As Jonesey says, swearing at cadets isn’t a good idea. There’s a time and a place for swearing, it’s not on parade (or in most instances when you’re acting as an NCO). You need to maintain your professionalism. Try and make criticism more constructive, for example by saying “you need to polish the body of your shoes more, not just the toe caps” or “the creases fade at the bottom of your trousers”. Give them a target to fix it by, if they don’t ask why and consider discipline (extra duties, polishing shoes during the break etc.). In general, if you have issues with the way something is run approach the person and try and suggest a better way. Mention to your Sgt/OC that you find discipline is lacking in the Sqn and you want to try and improve it.

You have good intentions, but make sure you maintain your professional image so you are respected by the cadets.


There is never ever a time or a place for swearing in any instance, it is very specific in the cadet code of conduct:

Use inappropriate, demeaning or foul language
towards others, (verbal, in writing, by phone,
texting, email or via social networking sites/

ManicMango. A couple of the things you have said in your post are quite concerning and break a good number of the rules and ethos of the organisation. I suggest you speak to a member of your SNCO team or a member of staff and explain the situation that has happened. If you have not already it may be worth you going on a JNCO course to futher your appreciation of your role and where your boundaries are.


I have to concur with other posters here.I was giving your post a sympathetic read right up to the point where you used foul language to those under your command.That is the biggest mistake you can ever make.How exactly do you expect cadets to respect you when you demean them in front of their colleagues?.You should be looking to build team spirit and morale and doing this sort of thing is guaranteed to trash it.I would say a JNCO course is a must for you to teach you what your role is and how far your"power" extends.My final advice to you is a piece I learned many years ago in my service days.No one can function in a supervisory role without respect.You ll also find that if you earn that respect(and it has to be earned) the returns will be fantastic and your flight will thrive.Good luck.


There are means and ways of pointing out uniform issues. Like if a shirt isnt ironed i ask the cadet if they have slept in it? A bit of sarcastic approach but borderline banter. Anyone with continuous shocking uniform i would take to one side have a private conversation with a fellow nco asking them if they knew how to do thier uniform and explain the required standards (they probably dont have a clue!) Skill before will.

If your Sgt gave you a rollocking over making a cadet cry take it as feedback and work on your technique. If it was for telling a cadet off in principle…he needs to review his position and support his junior NCOs to carry out thier role and coach and advise as necessary.

Now if the Sgt was giving you an earful for swearing at the cadets i would of expected him to go to the staff and report it, its above his position. If you were one of my NCOs and i found out you were telling cadet thier uniform was XXXX it would result in a hats on, no coffee chat with leave your rank slides on the desk on the way out.

Swearing at cadets looses thier respect for you and makes you look like an idiot and they just wont do it now. You need to be firm but fair and maintain your cool even as frustrating as it is!!

Like others have said right intentions, poor execution. Think of baby steps get them to work on bit by bit instead if going steaming in on them. Lots of marginal gains create a greater outcome quicker that is sustainable .


Thank you very much as to all the other comments aswell, on reflecting back on what I did I realise it was absolutely out of order and I am ashamed about what I did


Thank you very much, I realise now what I did was out of order and you described it perfectly


I think your right, a JNCO course is in order


I had authorisation from my flt leader to do an inspection


I agree with all the above. But perhaps more importantly, you seem to have taken on board your SNCO comments, come on here for honest feedback and appear to have taken that on board and accepted you made a mistake. That attitude bodes well for the future and if you were on my unit would go a long way to redeeming yourself over the initial mistake so well done on having the maturity to do that.


Good on you for having the guts to ask advice. I guess you had a feeling it hadn’t gone well. We all make mistakes, it’s how we learn from them that matters. Good luck.


I think, as well, it’s important to note that he wasn’t directly insulting the cadets. Everybody makes the odd verbal slip every now and then, and saying “your X is [redacted]” is much more forgivable than saying “you are [redacted]”.

Neither is great, obviously. But the former is more understandable than the latter.

Their attitude is right. Learn from mistakes, seek to improve.


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