25 April 2016

Pragmatic Leadership

Conversing with Willard about "back when" always reconnects synapses long dormant.

We were talking about effective leadership and an anecdote popped back up.

One my morning NCO responsibilities was to make sure the bathroom shitter toilet latrine was cleaned up before first formation.

Normally this is done quickly and efficiently, but we'd hit two snags.

First was the smokers putting out their butts in the urinals.  This had led to clogged pipes and misery for everyone.

Second was the lint trap on the dryer never being cleaned between uses.

I solved the first problem by putting one of those sand-bowl ashtrays outside the bathroom shitter toilet latrine door, with a sign "BUTTS GO HERE" in red letters on a white sign.  Then with a tongue in cheek, "Smoking not permitted in this area without permission of the Installation Commander.  Use of deadly force authorized," under that in much smaller letters.  They noticed, they laughed, they used the sand instead of the urinals.

The second problem got a sign as well.  I explained that it was a fire hazard to leave the lint in there and if our dryer caught fire, it'd be gone and unlikely to be replaced because the powers that be would cite negligence on our part in its loss; so unless you wanted to use the base coin laundromat, clear out the lint.  Logic actually worked when I treated them like adults and the lint trap got cleaned.

For about a week.

My fellow barracks dwellers didn't suddenly stop obeying the signs.

My platoon sergeant saw them and asked, "what happens if you catch someone disobeying?"

I said that I'd council them first time and article 15 them second time.

"You don't need signs for that.  Take them down."

A week later at oh-my-fucking-God-thirty the shitters backed up so bad that the first floor of the barracks was rendered uninhabitable for days.  I don't know how much of the battalion budget went into fixing it, but it was definitely a clog caused by cigarette filters.

I cannot definitely say if it was MY bathroom shitter toilet latrine that caused the clog, we were on the fourth floor of four, but the timing was perfect.

The sign went back up.

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