Cadre take different tacks on leadership

Through their experiences, cadre in the Corps of Cadets at Norwich have learned how to use different types of leadership to their advantage.
Interviews with cadre find they may employ different styles at different times and see the benefits of being flexible. Buty ultimately, how they choose to lead often comes down to what they feel comfortable with.
Cadre are the upperclass cadets that have volunteered for the engaged task of training the freshman rooks to meet the qualifying standards it takes to be a member of the Corps of Cadets. It is a cadre’s responsibility to teach, coach and mentor rooks, and they do this through experimentation of leadership styles.
Although there are many different types of leadership styles, most cadre practice one of two main styles while training rooks: transformational leadership, and transactional leadership.

Natalie Heilman, a 19-year old sophomore, education and psychology major from Davenport Ind., said being exposed to different leadership styles as a rook helped her see the pros and cons of how the various styles work.
After completion of her freshman year as a rook, Heilman thought transformational leadership was the most effective style of leadership on her as rook. She said her cadre explained to her why she was doing certain tasks, instead of simply demanding that she do them.
“Transformation leadership is the idea of working with individuals or a group to develop them,” explained William Hodges, a 21-year old senior and criminal justice major from Kennett Square, Pa.
According to Hodges, the other style of transaction leadership takes a different approach and is essentially a system of trades. With transactional leadership, the person in charge rewards the subordinate. Some cadre use incentives like longer shower times as a way to get their rooks to follow directions, he said.
Current cadre member Skylar Grathwohl, a 20-year-old junior, health science major from Mattituck, N.Y., practices a hands on approach where she likes to develop people.
“I’m not a yeller, I’m more of the hands on, let’s sit down and talk about things (type of person,)” said Grathwohl. “I always say be human first.” She said she is a firm believer of the transformational style as she believes it suits her personality best.
“I think with freedoms that I do have, I can really focus on the group of (rooks) that I have, and really focus on their development,” said Grathwohl.
Although she now practices transformational leadership, she didn’t originally start with it when she was first given a position as cadre, she said.
“I yelled during rook week and I didn’t think it was really me,” said Grathwohl. The transformational leadership style is something that came to Grathwohl when she realized yelling, “wasn’t her.” According to her, she gets maximum results by being a mentor rather than an aggressive enforcer.
She said not only was changing her leadership style helpful but, in doing so she learned a great deal about how people work.
“It’s cool to see and learn how people tick. You can talk to one rook one way, and speak to another a different way, and they will take what I say differently and react to it differently,” said Grathwohl. “You can’t just go in and act the same with everybody. You have to learn who you’re dealing with before you really develop them.”
Rooks soon become aware of how different cadre go about teaching in different ways. According to Heilman, some members of her cadre staff increased her performance by explaining to her the purpose and making her want to strive to do her best.
“By him telling me the reasoning behind everything and wanting me to be as best as I could be, it made me want to do better,” said Heilman.
In trying all of these leadership styles out, there are a few traditional ways to measure the success of each style. One of the big performance measurements often applied to rooks is room organization.
Rooms need to be organized according to a set of guidelines that is the standard across the entire corps. This standard is known as the room standard operating procedure (SOP), which is taught to the rooks their first week on campus. Throughout their period as rooks, they are expected to keep their rooms to this standard every day.
According to Grathwohl, room inspections are an easy way to determine performance because it shows the level of effort rooks put into a daily task. Some put in the effort, which alerts Grathwohl that they are doing well, while others will have sloppy rooms. Grathwohl can then determine which ones need to be addressed and corrected.
“I’m trying to find a way to motivate the struggling rooks. I base how I’m doing as a leader off the kids that aren’t doing so well,” said Grathwohl. She then attempts to speak to them and convince them of the importance of room standards rather than scream, yell or flip beds.
The transformational leadership is heavily invested in purpose and motivating rooks through explanations. “I think I’m a transformational leader because I give them a purpose,” said Shane Ryan, a 20-year old junior who is a computer security major from Voorhees, N.J.
“I’m not going to make them do something if it’s useless,” said Ryan.
However Ryan said while transformational leadership is his preferred style, sometimes he will employ transactional methods.
“I think I’m more transformational, but I do see a place where transactional can be effective,” said Ryan. He said that his rooks sometimes shut down with the reward/punishment use of the transactional style of leadership.
Ryan is going through something that just about everyone goes through in a leadership position: learning. According to some cadets who have already been cadre, your leadership style will fluctuate between whatever the goal is at the time.
“I think it’s all situational dependent,” said Hannah Malone, a 21-year old senior majoring in management from Manchester, N.H. “There’s both a time to punish them and a time to reward them. But there is also a time to develop and tell them why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
Malone developed the skill to shuffle through different leadership styles as time progressed in her position. She said it can depend on the rook’s performance at that exact moment that causes the leader to shift between leadership styles to obtain maximum efficiency with the task at hand.
Some current cadre staff have already figured out the need to switch back and forth between leadership styles. According to Makenna Wade, a 20-year old junior majoring in computer security and informational assurance from Pensacola, Fla, the time of the year is a factor in what leadership style she’ll use.
“In the beginning (of training), it was all about, this is what you need to learn, this is what’s getting done,” said Wade. “It was more of us showing (rooks) how to do it, and then they need to execute it.” At the launch of rook training, it is an intense pounding in knowledge that relies heavily on transactional leadership.
As the year progresses, rooks begin to learn what is expected of them, and when they don’t meet that standard, cadre address the problems differently. At this point, Wade said she shifts from transactional leadership to transformation leadership to help the struggling rooks develop and improve.
“You have to know the training timeline and where you are in that timeline,” said Wade.
Although Wade knows when to use each style of leadership to get maximum results, she prefers the transformational leadership because she likes to be a mentor and develop the rooks as good people and better cadets.
However, using the transformational leadership requires getting to know someone well, which can have its pitfalls. With cadre getting personal with rooks, it can sometimes lead to a breakdown of authority, where the rook begins to look at that cadre member as more of a friend rather than as a superior.
Wade says she has learned how to keep the line between friends and respected superior. “It is a professional environment. You can talk or chit chat, ask them how they’re doing, but you don’t need to know every aspect of their life in detail,” said Wade.
“As a cadre member, I make it a point to not talk about myself.” “We’re not to the point where we can have a two-way conversation. They can tell me about their day and problems and I’ll listen and give them some advice but, it shouldn’t be the other way around,” said Grathwohl.
According to Anna Czuch, a 21-year old senior majoring in computer security and information assurance from Newtown, N.J., rookdom is not just a time for the rooks to learn the standards, but it’s also practice for the cadre to find out which leadership style suits them best.
“Rookdom is for the rooks in a degree, but’s really it’s for the juniors to see how they are as leaders,” said Czugh.
The practice and experimentation of different leadership styles has different effects not only on juniors but on the rooks themselves.
“To be a good leader, you need to be a good follower first,” said Grathwohl. “Having all these different cadre members with different leadership styles, they get to see all that diversity. You get to pick and choose what you like and don’t like.”
“Being able to see the different leadership styles, which were good or bad, it was good to see how they worked,” said Heilman. She has now experienced first- hand the results of each different leadership style used by her cadre and she can pick what she wants based on efficiency, and how she felt as a rook last year.
“Having all these different leadership styles presented to you, you get to figure out what you like, don’t like and what you want to be like,” said Grathwohl.

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