JLBC Cadet Corps: Leadership Roles
Until you gain experience in performance counseling, you should probably make a plan before you sit down with the cadet. Often performance counseling will be on the spot – pull the cadet out of formation or class and find a place to have a private conversation. If a cadet is behaving in ways that disrupt fellow cadets or take away from their learning, you address the situation immediately or as soon as possible and try to get them back on track quickly. That may be a quiet correction, but it may need a slightly more extended conversation.
A more planned counseling session may be necessary if a cadet becomes a frequent problem. Put some thought into the behaviors you want to cover, find an appropriate time, and approach the situation calmly to get the cadet back on track.
In any counseling situation, make sure you follow the rules in JLBC Command SOP: have your conversation so that no one else can hear what’s happening, but don’t shut yourself in a room one-on-one. Either keep the door open, go to the side of a large room where no one can listen in on your conversation, or take a walk outside, given at least one other person. You can invite an impartial observer to sit in the room with you if you need to. If you choose to do this, don’t draw them into the conversation – they’re there to provide a witness to the discussion.
Think a little about the cadet in question. What kind of attitude do they convey during class or drill? What is their motivation for being in JLBC Cadet Corps? It’s much easier to get a cadet who likes the program and wants to succeed to stop negative behavior than a cadet who doesn’t care about the class and doesn’t want to be there. There are also factors you may be unaware of – problems at home, problems with other people, or even significant social issues. Part of being a good leader is to know when you’re out of your depth. At this point, seek advice from your Commandant!
Step 1: Examine the situation
• Find out from the cadet why the behavior is happening
• Misbehavior is almost always caused by
o Lack of motivation
o A need to get attention o A condition for acceptance
• Sometimes “external” factors cause the misbehavior
• Ask the cadet
• Listen to the response
• Restate the response
• Ask clarifying questions if need be
• Help cadet understand how misbehavior affects others
• Try not to let the cadet get away with the answer “just because” or “I don’t know.”
• With enough examination, we all can come to understand why we do the things we do
• Allow cadet to examine with you the alternatives to the misbehavior
Step 2: Problem Solve
• Consider solutions to the misbehavior
• Moving the cadet’s squad