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Eliza Bruce: the relevant lessons learned from holding a bar position

The Seven Pillars of RMC Wisdom?

OCdt Eliza Bruce, 27472 (IV), CWBO, E-veritas correspondent

With the steady transition into exams comes another change of pace, when the current barslate starts to hand over responsibilities and know-how to the in-coming barslate of the winter semester. This past week at the IMs parade during Professional Development, DCdts announced the new HQ positions to the Cadet Wing, and at squadron level meetings, other Officer Cadets were appointed to the various staff and command roles in the squadron leadership structure.

Useful lessons learned from both myself and all my peers who have completed 4, 3, and 2 bar positions, the relevant lessons learned from command and staff positions at RMC can be essentially summarized in several general ideas:

  1. Immediately instill open and clear lines of communication. These will provide clarity, reaffirm, openness that allow information to distill efficiently.
  2. Practice the traits of a supervisor. Hone your situational awareness, monitor the behaviour of your subordinates, listen and adjust to their needs, and appropriately mentor them where beneficial.
  3. Take accountability seriously. You will never stop having to know the whereabouts of those under you as an Officer, and taking responsibility for personal actions and those of your followers will earn the good opinion of those you work for and over.
  4. Explore the freedom of leadership your role might provide. Create your own personal maxims, try out different styles of leadership, and always ask when unsure of the appropriate course of action/double check the exactness of a directive.
  5. Foster a healthy work environment. Exercise the charisma that will make your subordinates trust you and each other, and be respectful and professional.
  6. Prudently enforce discipline. It’s not an easy thing to have to remind your peers about rules and regulations, and to apply the consequences that come with infractions—however, it is one the most vital tenants of military operations no matter where you go. Mission success pivots on it, and when you set the pattern of expectation yourself, it is easier to demand the same of your followers.
  7. Take pride in and enjoy what you are doing! After all, it is by you choice that you are here and being given this significant responsibility, so live it fully and make it your own.

These might not measure up to T.E. Lawrence’s standards for pillars of wisdom, but nonetheless they are timeless self-checks to live by as an Officer Cadet that will easily transfer over into our fast-approaching roles as commissioned members of the CAF.

Good luck to the next roster of barmen!