Whenever someone joined our A-Team, the first thing the team sergeant and I did was sit him down in our CP (Command Post; a fancy acronym for two old desks in a room at the end of the top floor of an old World War II barracks building) and welcome him to the team. We also gave him a copy of the team SOP—standing operating procedure. The first two parts of that were mine and my team sergeant’s policy letters, basically spelling out our philosophy of things.

One interesting aspect of the welcome was that a new guy often remarked we were the first people who actually ‘welcomed’ them to the unit. Everyone else from the Group, to Battalion, to the company, ‘welcomed’ them with loads of warnings of what not to do and not to screw up and threats, etc. etc., while we were very happy to see them and very positive.

In a reverse manner, whenever I took over a new unit, one of the first things I told them was that they automatically had my respect and that I had to earn theirs’. I was always amazed at how well soldiers responded to being respected right up front; and I have found that extends into the civilian world. Most people want to do a good job and want to be treated with respect. I find people rise to the level of the leadership; or sink with it.  Most of this is covered in more detail in Who Dares Wins, but I want to write about it with a fresh perspective here on the blog, as I sort things out in my head and also want to get feedback from people who have had an array of experiences, as my view is, naturally, my own narrow one.

Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer

Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer

I’m going to be posting more about leadership and other aspects of organizations which I learned in my time in the Infantry and Special Forces, and also as a writer for a quarter of a century. I think it’s interesting stuff to ponder, especially now that I can look back on it all with a difference perspective. So here are some of the elements of my policy letter at the beginning of ODA-055’s (A-Team) team SOP (what’s interesting is I use almost these exact same ones for the inbriefing in my first Nightstalker books when Moms and Nada inbrief a new member):

Here are some excerpts from mine:

Most basic tenet of teamwork is honesty.

With rank & privilege comes responsibility.

Everyone is a leader.

We do everything together.

Don’t get in a pissing contest with a man on a balcony. You just end up wet and smelling. If you have a problem with someone above us, let me know.

Keep a positive attitude.

Discipline stays at team level.

Be on time.

Keep your sense of humor. You’ll need it.

When starting a new job, how were you greeted and inbriefed? Were you given an SOP?