Mutual Respect

Wow, just read the boss’s email. Quite something to read. Makes you wonder what the final straw was.

A room full of WAdOs and ARCs saying “they are angry with us!” ?


Paid staff complaining that they have to do more than 37 hours a week!


At times, the message felt slightly unprofessional. It felt like being told off by a school teacher, ending with “I hope I make myself clear”


Interesting the note comes out when the perm staff complain but not the volunteers…

I’m afraid she is living in a world of fantasy if she thinks these things get dealt with. I know perm staff that have continually been rude to volunteers and it’s always ignored as they are under staffed and stressed or seen as just part of their character.


(my bold)

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Or more likely the “too much change” comment was it.

I guess she has had enough of people pointing out her many mistakes to her. Or perhaps they have just started and she doesnt like it.

Either way sending that sort of message wont fix anything.

Removing paperwork, admin, unnecessary bureaucracy and providing a fully staffed HQ who actually do their jobs full time and not like a hobby might.

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What’s the correct CoC route to complain of a bullying culture from HQAC downwards?

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Several weeks between the two… one having just finished and prompting a note swiftly. If it’s such a problem why was nothing published when the issue became apparent the first time.

What she covered in the email is valid, we need to have a professional respect for each other, but it would be good to address what she is saying is the cause of the lack of respect.

I.e. The fact that both paid and volunteer staff are constantly stressed, and what plans HQ are putting into place to combat that. What are the “ways to reduce the pressures on staff and volunteers” ideas?

Also - it’s not rocket science to take your issues up the chain of command, as you would in your work environments, rather than sinking to the level of those who are being rude/disrespectful.

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Interesting though that she mentioned volunteers “deeply upset” at perm staff attitudes and it wasn’t a one way view.

I think she was firm, and if you haven’t contributed to the upset then there’s nothing to worry about. It couldn’t be woolly, because woolly isn’t reassuring to those feeling wronged.

To me, this has been a long time coming. The appearance has been for a long time the management style at multiple levels has been too much of “jump when I say”, to which (quite rightly in some cases) the volunteer response is “why?”. This isn’t the regulars.

There has also existed an attitude of “well you get paid for this” among volunteers, while the paid staff constantly send out “you need to do this, you need to do that” and those volunteers are bombarded with tasks and diktat that they don’t get paid for and have to take extra time to do. It’s understandably frustrating to be constantly taken away from being able to actually contribute in the way you wanted to and give your time in the way you signed up to.

WExO is an incredibly bureaucratic role, and many I’ve known don’t have the required interpersonal and personnel/volunteer management skills to soften that blow.

There’s been talk in the past of an “us and them” attitude between ranks, but far less discussion about the same situation between perm staff and CFAV. It’s a poison that an email from the boss won’t solve.

I highly suspect that the perm staff making these reports have brought some of it on themselves, either with chronic turdiness or acute, harsh reactions to some situations.

I understand much of the sentiment, but am actually angry at the opening line.


HECK NO! Respect is earned and this is exactly what we drum into our cadets. Yet apparently we shouldn’t follow this? If some WExO somewhere isn’t being respected to the point they feel the need to complain, then the problem is with them. And if a volunteer has been an unreasonable buffoon from the outset then they shouldn’t be surprised when someone is terse and unhelpful.

If the scale of this issue is so great that Dawn needs to intervene in this way, then it’s surely either:

  • a widespread culture issue among paid staff causing friction with volunteers
  • a minority of particularly foul individuals who should be dealt with directly instead of tarring all.

Permanent Staff are Civil Servants and therefore impossible to sack, you can raise issues till your blue in the face you won’t be listened to!

I couldnt agree more with everything you said.

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One thing I will add that while “respect is earned”, it’s obviously normal to allow grace in the beginning… But being rude and unkind to the point of upsetting someone isn’t on. If there’s someone you don’t like at work, you bite your tongue and maintain professionalism or end up in a discip meeting. Perhaps that’s lacking because the consequences are… Inconsequential.


Call it civility or courtesy, if not respect.

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Granted, which I followed up on. But problems have a cause. Hopefully there’s more going on behind the scenes.

Must confess I was expecting at least an oblique reference to ACC in the message.


Maybe some of Teflon’s past comments are not all inaccurate.

Maybe aunty Dawn still hasn’t grasped that this is voluntary rather than being in the Regular or Reserve forces, where the full force of military law can be applied. The CFC removed CFAVs from that, the law of unintended consequences.


The RAFAC has a culture of ignorance over lack of ‘mutual respect’ and Dawn’s email is a mockery.

It is obvious from Sqn level that our WEXO is a bully and manages their permanent staff and volunteers with a flippant Jekyll and Hyde approach and a Wing Commander who has been publicly outed for bullying by victims and witnesses through numerous all.wing emails and NOTHING is done.

As an organisation many are still living in the past and a rule by fear approach.

I’ve been telephoned (no email trail that way) in response to emails where I have challenged decisions to my WExO and been made to feel like a naughty child after being spoken to in a derogatory manner, asked how I dare challenge their decisions or actions which in my opinion are wrong. I am not spoken to by my managers at work who pay me for what I do in anything other than a calm and professional tone - yet it is acceptable in my Wing for RAFAC CFAVs to be spoken to like that by Civil Servants and senior RAFAC officers.

Comdt needs to get her permanent staffs houses in order before sending such emails to the volunteer cadre also.


And you wonder why there is a problem recruiting and retaing CFAVs.