as Role Models
As an individual in a leadership position, you are often set apart from other cadets by such factors as your rank, training, physical stature, parade appointment, responsibilities and maturity. These factors ad the way that they work to set you apart, make you much more of an influential role model than you realize. Because you are set apart, more people can see you and look to you for a good example.
There are two types of examples that you can set. The first type is a deliberate example. This is the type of example that you purposefully set for the cadets in your group in order to teach them something. You are in effect deliberately demonstrating the behaviour and actions that you want to see in them. For example, you might show up five minutes early for your regular training night in order to demonstrate punctuality. The key with this type of example is to know what is a good example and what is a bad one. It would be doubly wrong to deliberately set the wrong example!
The second type of example is the unconscious example. this type of example is more difficult to identify because it is incorporated into your daily life and personality. The unconscious example is set every minute of every day - on and off duty. Take the previous deliberate example where you try and establish punctuality among you cadets by arriving five minutes early. If we modify the situation so that you are the type of platoon warrant officer who always shows up five minutes late, you would be setting a bad example for other cadets to follow. It would also be very difficult to ask them to be on time when you are never punctual yourself. You would be guilty of the attitude that says "do as I say and not as I do."
All this talk about setting the example can be related to the leader's responsibilities as a role model. To be a role model for younger cadets is one of the responsibilities that comes with your promotions and advancement, even though you will not find this responsibility listed in your job description. By virtue of your leadership position, new recruits will look to you for support, encouragement and direction. Any example, advice or teachings that you pass along to the cadets represents a source of learning for them. The old expression "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" holds true in this situation. Cadets will try to copy the example that you give them just as they have imitated some of the examples given them by their parents, teachers, etc. As a leader, you have the responsibility to recognize the importance of the examples you set for others just as your superior officers will set a good example for you to copy. You must be the best leader, citizen, and cadet that you can be at all times, and as a result of your best effort, you cannot help but positively affect those around you.
As a young adult you might have selected Wayne Gretzky or Terry Fox as a role model. Did you ever hear yourself saying "I wish that I could play hockey like him" or "I admire him for his efforts to raise money for cancer research." These are typical thoughts that occur to all of us at one point or another, and they indicate that we would like to improve ourselves in a given area just as our chosen role models have demonstrated by their example. Perhaps your CO demonstrated a leadership style that encouraged co-operation, mutual respect and participation form all staff. As cadet commanding, you decide to copy this style and insist tat each of your NCO's co-operate together and that they respect one another. If you are ever in doubt as to your example, ask this question of yourself: "Am I having a positive or negative influence on the cadets in this corps?"
During the Silver Star Course, you learned the principles of leadership. While these principles are very important to your understanding of leadership in an abstract way, they are not as helpful in providing concrete actions. What follows in the next few paragraphs are some hints that you can follow right away in order to improve your leadership skills. This is not a complete list and there will be many more ideas that others will be able to pass on. Add their suggestions to the list and remember to pass them on to the next person!
Gold Star Handbook (A-CR-CCP-121/PT-001) - Chapter 11