New OC Guidance

Good Evening Everyone!

I have just been given the official nod that I will take command of my first squadron starting early in the new year! I was wondering if anyone has any guidance they can give me on the potential pitfalls and tripping points for a new OC/OIC.

I have been at the unit since being a cadet (Although I’ve been at other units in the middle), as Training Officer & Dep Oc for the past 4 years, and commissioned for the past 3 years, so I’m familiar and well established with the staff and the squadrons uniqueness.

I would appreciate any feedback anyone could give!

Thanks in advance!

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Change nothing in your first month.
Observe. Listen.

Then change what you think needs changing.

Ultimately it’s your trainset.

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Biggest piece of advice I can give anyone taking a command role?

Remember the word No

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Thankyou for your feedback! Need to be careful I don’t derail it :slight_smile:

Thanks! Out of interest who do you find yourself having to say no to? Sqn Staff, Wing staff, 3rd parties? :slight_smile:

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Just think about quality vs quantity

It’s better to do a smaller package of activities and do a better job than stretch yourself thin trying to deliver the whole shabang.

Don’t be affraid to Say no if you can’t support it or deliver anything in a way that’d most beneficial for cadets.

Fresh new OCs have a tenancy to say how high when asked to jump by someone and have a high burn out risk… Just try and be self aware of what’s actually viable for you and your Sqn

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Understood, i witnessed exactly that with a friend a couple years ago, in the end he had to be talked out of leaving the Corps because he had wound himself up so much trying to do everything!

Thanks for your advice :slight_smile:

Make sure you have an adj who you can trust the squadron with. Make sure you’d be happy at any point to hand over the reins. It just means if something comes up outside of cadet life, you can hand it over temporarily with out adding any stress!

I’ve not been an OC, but have spent a long time as an adj and know from the OCs point of view being able to call me up and get me to do anything has meant to world so the OC doesn’t have to stress out when he’s had to go on work trips at short notice or when close family has ended up in the hospital for example.

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Also there tends to be an assumption you know things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance.
As @Paracetamol says, don’t go in changing things but small changes can make a big difference. Civ comm, get to know them as well as cadets, especially the SNCOs. Everyone will also tell you what’s wrong but often these things are hard to change.
I guess some advice depends on how well you know the squadron and staff there.
Good luck though and this is a very good forum for advice.

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What does the unit do well? Don’t take those things for granted and keep your focus on them.

Could they be better? As per JoT, just a small tweak could make a big difference.

What does the unit not do at all or is its greatest weakness? Pick one, plan with your staff how it could be fixed.

Have an open discussion with your staff, set expectations of each other, find out what responsibilities they have and are happy with, is there anything that could be shuffled with agreement, how can you best facilitate their success, is there anything they want to or could develop personally…?

Don’t forget that your fellow CFAV need attention too.

Give them the bones of your vision (doesn’t have to be grand - my eg above would be “maintain performance in x, build on the success of y, introduce/improve z”) and plan with them how to achieve it, or even if they think it’s possible.

Delegate! You don’t have to keep all of your old jobs, especially if they will take time away from doing your new ones.

There’s no need to rush - if one project takes off or takes longer, don’t start another. Don’t do it day one (we’ve got enough new to handle atm anyway).

Get to know your committee and their plans/ideas, they need to know yours too. Do any want to do more? They’re invaluable when alongside you, but can derail more than you might think.

Be honest, open minded, and collaborative at all stages.

That’s my short, vague response, having been through similar in recent history myself.

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Thanks for your feedback everyone, no doubt it will be very useful over the coming weeks and months!

@Hatchet you won’t go far wrong if you read and implement the 100 top tips for squadron commanders:

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I guess I reflection.
Priority one should be to establish comms with l cadets, parents, civ com and staff as you wont necesaarily meet them for a while due virus.

Get a teams staff meeting and teams civ com sorted asap.

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Not an OC but one point to reflect on is in what circumstances are you joining the Sqn, are you taking the role when there is someone else at the Sqn who wanted it? Will you face any resistance?

Definitely echo what has been said here about making time for your CFAVs.

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take note that after 9 replies no one has said congratulations/well done…

it isn’t an envious role like it once was. :confused:

Take your time, do things at your pace, and that includes making changes, as Paracetamol indicated wait some time, I’d suggest three months so you can really see what is wrong/what needs changing but these are weird times. and Echoing Giminion pick one or two of those shortfalls and tackle them don’t try to fix it all within a month “Rome wasn’t built in a day”

don’t be rushed into anything, ask for help if you need it, use the team that you have and build them up to be efficient - as an OC you’re a manager not necessarily a doer - if you can help everyone else do what they are doing (and chase the reasons why they either aren’t or can’t) then you’re doing exactly what you’re supposed to, ie don’t believe because you’re “responsible” for the success of the Squadron, every task needs to be conducted by yourself.

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Probably the best set of advice I ever came across. I kept it to hand all the time and routinely read it as there was always something relevant and appropriate to the situation in there!!!

A credit to the years of wisdom which underpinned it. Well done Oz.

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Well done.

My big suggestion… beware of people bearing gifts!!

If a squadron (regardless if you are friendly with them) comes wanting to work with you always make sure you get the best for your squadron. Occasionally step back and look at it carefully at the arrangements.
I fell foul in that i had agreed to work with another sqn to do things and it was ok at first then ended up I was doing all the running about but hadn’t actually noticed.

If a WSO comes offering a new member of staff highly recommended! stop and find out why they want a move from the original sqn! Again I fell foul with a member of staff wanting a move I was asked, spoke with them and it sounded like they got a raw deal, took them onboard. At first it was going great made them the training officer, we actually became decent friends. then after a year it started going downhill not attending, sending texts direct to cadet SNCOs telling them change the program tell the other cadets, Went missing for months. Eventually they attended we had a long sit down chat I thought it was sorted only to find I had an allegation of bullying put in and mutual friends were texted telling how I had been physically abusive to them… turns out it was exactly the same as they had done in the previous sqn

So always do your homework

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Thanks for your advice everyone, it will certainly factor into my decisions! Merry Christmas everyone!!

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