Respect Based on Discipline

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Respect based on discipline, not popularity

Discipline is the glue that holds a combat team together. Without it there is no unit cohesion, no espirit de corps, and no coordination. However, discipline is a complex product of training, leadership, and respect. It cannot be taught to those who were not given the tools from a young military member. In today’s military disrespect is more based on the situation your are in and whether you are popular with the group rather than a clear definition of right and wrong. I have seen junior members in our army punk a senior noncommissioned officer with total lack of respect and was not punished and sgt’s ignored completely. But I have also seen many NCO’s punk a soldier because the soldier would not back down from right and wrong when lies and false information were being stated, just to protect themselves instead of admitting they were wrong.

It is respect which creates devotion to the team, and the important part is that that respect flows both up and down the chain of command. A leader respects the skills, strengths, and sacrifices of the people who work for him, and by giving that respect, in time and with effort, his troops come to respect him as well. That respect grows into devotion: the devotion of the leader to his troops, to do his best to see them through tough times and bring them home to their families, and the devotion of the troops to accomplishing the tasks of their unit under the vision of their leadership. If you cannot lead with this kind of devotion to your troops you must do the right thing and relieve yourself.

Disrespect, however, has exactly the opposite effect. If a leader disrespects his troops, he fails to earn their respect and therefore fails to create devotion to the team. His attitude will be noticed and will become detrimental to morale, which in turn will hurt the combat effectiveness of each troop as well as the whole. Because he cannot respect his troops, he will also fail to...
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