What is respect? Respect can be in various forms. It can be knowledge, self awareness, trust, character, honesty, understanding, and a positive attitude. But respect also has to be earned. If you can’t respect yourself then you won’t be able to respect others. To gain respect you have to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Without respect you can’t have team work and care for other peoples well being. 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. Discipline is the glue that holds a combat team together. Without it there is no unit cohesion, no espirit de corps, and no coordination.
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However, discipline is a complex product of training, leadership, and respect. 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 recognize their true strengths and employ his forces to the best of their respective abilities.
If, on the other hand, a troop fails to form respect for ANY leader, no matter how good that leader is at their job, then that troop forms a sort of uprising point… a point of discontention that saps unit cohesion and draws any other malcontents to it. Such behavior undermines the authority of the leader as well as the spirit of the unit which allows troops to go into combat together. As such, a person with such an attitude should be quickly silenced by his NCOs, SNCOs, and peers, who should quickly recognize the adverse effects his actions may have on the unit.
There is another type of respect that is important to a combat unit: respect for the enemy. Only by recognizing where your opponent bases their combat effective maneuvers and realizing the ways in which they shape their movement to maximize their strengths can one truly know their enemy… and by knowing his enemy, a military leader is able to employ tactics which avoid areas where the enemy is strong and instead strikes at the enemy’s weakness. By failing to respect his enemies (on some level at least), a leader fails to recognize the value of the enemy’s tactics and therefore knows nothing about the enemy’s strengths.
Without that knowledge, he can’t know anything real about the probable disposition of enemy troops, their movements in the field, and the points where it would be unwise to assault them. Every action, then, requires more effort and more sacrifice from his own side and plays into the well maneuvered plans of the enemy. Such a situation can be overcome, but only at the cost of more resources than would otherwise be needed. A Unit regardless of military branch is only as strong as its weakest link. The moral of the unit is often measured by the respect the enlisted men have for their superiors.
If there is disrespect then the moral will be low and the performance or productivity of the unit will also suffer. Respect is just one of the many building blocks that make up the United States Army’s Ecosystem. These basic elements are outlined in the Army Values. The army values are; loyalty, duty, respect, selfless Service, honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The army values are ordered in such a way not so as to list which of our values are greater or more important than that of another. It is merely for drilling these staples of core fundamental values into our minds, using the ever effective, tried and true L.
D. R. S. H. I. P acronym or spoken as “Leadership. ” you see, in the absence of one value trait, the others deteriorate and crumble with it. For example, without loyalty, respect is not present. If you are a disloyal member of the team you fail to contribute to the team in a manner that is respectable. The lack of loyalty is disrespectful and in turn awards you none for yourself. Respect is described as esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability.
In the United States Army it is inaccurate to say you are required to respect the man or woman behind the rank. The greater rank does not imply a greater human being. However, It would be quite accurate to say that in the mechanics of the relationship between a lower enlisted soldier and a Non-commissioned Officer regardless of the enlisted soldiers opinion of the “person” the lower enlisted service member will “respect the rank” and treat the Non-commissioned officer with the same respect that is due to the rank worn.
This hierarchical design is intended to maintain an order based on qualification and experience. It states in the Phantom Warrior Standard book that every soldier obtains upon arrival to Fort Hood that, “Courtesy among members of the Armed Forces is vital to maintain military discipline. Respect to seniors will be extended at all times. ” I realize now that I have at times been disrespectful to my NCO’s. I apologize for this and will work harder at keeping my temper down. If needed I will attend an anger management class. My wife will also help me at home to be more patient and not get angry so easily.