Chapter 5: Leadership with Fear
“Don’t fear me, fear my superior. The Drill Sergeants.”
I mentioned before in “The Punishment” about how I managed to motivate people to listen to me. As I said before, I was a squad leader, and no one would listen because they felt like there was nothing I could do to punish them.
Until I found the gold mine.
I was very good at PT (Physical Training), and towards the end of basic I scored a 300, which is the highest score you can possibly get on a APFT (Annual Physical Fitness Test).
Well, most of the time as punishment, we would go through “Smoke Sessions”. Basically, it is where the drill sergeants make you do whatever exercise they want for however long they want you to do it for. For example, we did push ups for 30 minutes straight with no breaks in between. When we would get very tired, they would switch to another exercise for another 30 minutes. We had a Smoke Session that lasted four hours. Very tiring and physically demanding, because you are pushing yourself past the weak point.
So, put two and two together. I’m good at physical fitness, and my squad won’t listen to me. What do I do? Threaten them with Smoking Sessions.
“What are you gonna do, smoke us? As if we will listen to you.”
“No, but I’ll let the drill sergeant know you’re not listening to me, and he’ll smoke us all. And we all know I have a much easier time during these smoke sessions than any of you.”
Keep in mind I wasn’t surrounded by the brightest group of people during basic training. All of a sudden, they saw the big picture. They don’t want to be smoked, most of them are lard asses. I found an incentive for them. Fear.
I might seem like a tattle tale by doing this, but the only reason I did was so I could keep my squad out of trouble. With them now listening to me, I could keep them informed and squared away. I had the most obedient squad out of the entire platoon. And if anyone in my squad got in trouble, I took the fall for them. Most of the time it wasn’t even my fault, just their sheer stupidity.