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How To Use Ranks; military v militia



Yay! You’ve chosen a rank system, now what?


Now may be the time to take a look at what role a rank plays in your organization.


In the military rank is used for organization, but so much more is connected with it. Pay is a big one, status another, proficiency… eh, you’d be surprised.


Rank in the militia is a tool for organization and purpose. Unlike the military, rank should be much more fluid meaning; John is a Captain and has been here over 3 years. A life event has happened and John can’t give the role the attention it needs, he steps down and Fred steps up.


This is not a negative on John. Knowing ones limitations (and asking for assistance) is a strength, and a group that can share the yolk of burden in trying times will most likely weather the storms in life.


Ranks can be used as an organization for communication as well.


One should consider people who can teach rather than ones who are proficient, but can’t show others to do the same, for leadership roles.


Some folks get hooked on how the military operates and how they treat lower enlisted/ranked. In the military you are in a legal contract, if you tick off the wrong person they can ruin your life.

This is not how it should be in the militia. People are lazy, poor listeners, and flaky. It is what it is, but you can not start yelling at them like they’re some private. They are patriots, or at least have some modicum of themselves that wants to be.


In a later blog I intend to talk about “proficiencies” and accountability which should help in choosing people for ranks.


And just a reminder, you don’t need a rank to be a leader.


Thank you and stay tuned.


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The difference between a 'militia' as the term is used here, and a professional military, is that the professional military has state power behind it, which means it can compel behavior.


This is true even if the professional military is a 'volunteer' one, as the American military has been for nearly fifty years. Once you sign that piece of paper, you are under the compulsion of law to obey all the legal orders of your superiors.


As anyone who has been in the military can tell you, sometimes these 'superiors' are of poor character, and/or don't know their job very well. But this is inevitable -- perfection is not for this world, and the American military, in terms of getting the right people in the right job, is better than a lot of others, particularly Third World militaries, where promotion -- or insertion -- into a higher rank often depends on bribery, or being the relative of someone with power.


So professional militaries have the power to compel obedience: you don't get a choice about when or where to train.


Not so, the militia. Everyone is a volunteer, who can quit in one second.  Or, they can 'quit', by simply stopping attending sessions.


And this is what will happen if assholes take the leadership: over-inflated egos, self-loving narcissists, know-it-alls whose self-worth is validated by putting other people down.


And there are, unfortunately, a lot more of this personality type around than there should be. These people often cause split after split, because no one can get along with them except a few poor souls who get groomed by the narcississtic 'Supreme Leader'. [ See here:https://medium.com/@narcissisticabuserehab/5-tactics-narcissists-use-to-groom-their-targets-1397d4825052    ]


I don't know if there is some way to avoid these people, or to quietly remove them from contact with a growing militia unit. The very nature of a militia will attract people who are not in the middle of the scale for many personality types: obviously, militia members will be people who have an above-average interest in political issues,  and who have a below-average committment to personal safety above all else. These are good traits to have. But other 'extremes' may also be attracted.  How to weed out the toxic cases is a problem.


It would be useful if people who have had experience of this problem could post some testimony about it.   


This is not a problem confined to the militia.  The Church of England, of all organizations, has this problem as well: [ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/13/church-considers-psychometric-tests-experts-raise-fears-clergy/      ]


I thought this article was particularly interesting, although it focusses on religious organizations. I've quoted parts of it, and provided a link to the full article at the bottom -- the emboldening is mine:




ABUSIVE church leaders are in the headlines. The reports range from horrific instances of serial sexual abuse to cases of everyday bullying, manipulation, and making threats. The Church is grappling with the problem, but seems to be struggling to find ways of managing it. A crop of newly published books venture to offer an explanation.


The central insight that they offer is that positions of leadership, as well as self-appointed positions within groups, can attract a certain kind of person: they are those with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). It happens in the secular workplace, too, where its prevalence has been analysed, and, to some degree, exposed in recent years. But that has not yet happened in churches, where there is good reason to think that people with this type of ill-health are active, too.


Clinically speaking, someone with an NPD has a personality that works to maintain self-esteem by gaining affirmation from outside of themselves, and to expel from within themselves what they cannot tolerate about themselves. It is a disorder, because this personality structure profoundly and routinely affects their capacity to form relationships.


It is a widespread problem in the general population. One large study, from the United States, estimated that rates ran at about eight per cent among men, and four per cent among women. These levels rise in workplaces, and, among managers, rise still further. The research also highlighted that NPDs are one of the most under-diagnosed mental-health conditions.


They conducted their own research. They sent questionnaires to church leaders in a mainstream Protestant denomination in Canada. The returns were startling, suggesting that more than 30 per cent of ministers “met the diagnostic requirements for a finding of NPD, both overt and covert”.

A CRUCIAL first point is that there is a good kind of narcissism. It is a basic element in any happy life. It is the type of love which enables you to like yourself. With it, people can feel comfortable in their own skin. They can forgive themselves, tolerate their faults, and relate to their darker side rather than try to suppress it in shadow.
THERE is a trickier kind of narcissism, however. It arises from a difficulty with self-love. In the most embedded cases, as with NPDs, it manifests as an inability to like oneself. The pain of such people is not that they love themselves, but that they are engaged in a constant fight to do so.


When it is intolerable, they develop strategies that attempt to bury the self-loathing and hate. Some will become omnipotent in their behaviour: they try to create a reality in which they are loved (adored?). A Twitter-hungry politician might fall into this category.

Others will try to charm those who surround them. They need people to feed love to them. The waspish comedian may be suffering in this way.


A third type regard themselves as perpetual failures. On the surface, their life may appear to be OK: they will have work, family, and enough cash. But none of it satisfies, because nothing ever feels enough.


The second type, charming narcissists, are different. They need audiences, too, and so will seek out places where compliant groups can be found, as in a parish. But they want something else from it. As Sutton explains, this type of narcissist craves constant praise and flattery; he or she desperately needs to believe that he or she is beloved.


Again, however, a dark side is present. It will become apparent that these individuals are fragile souls. They are thin-skinned. They will break down when challenged too many times during a meeting, perhaps erupting in what is called “narcissistic rage”. They will be intolerant of even mild attempts to question their performance or judgement, and will nurse wounds for years, even decades.


TREATING NPDs is hard. The reason is twofold. First, the origins of the self-loathing are buried deep. Sufferers are likely to have been abused in some way themselves, often as children. That will have left what is sometimes called a “basic fault” in their personality — hence the phrase “personality disorder”.


Second, individuals with an NPD generally do not want help. The more omnipotent types will be unaware of their need. The charmers will be, secretly, terrified of what they suspect is wrong, and will hide their pain out of shame.


Outside of psychotherapeutic treatment, Sutton says that there is only one certain bit of advice for handling NPDs: avoidance. The question to ask yourself is whether you like the individual you are dealing with, he says. If you don’t, then don’t have anything to do with him or her.


He calls it the “no-asshole rule”. It is a philosophy that has the benefit of being clear. “We all want a life where we encounter and are damaged by as few assholes as possible, we want the same thing for those we care about, and we don’t want to behave like or be known as assholes,” he writes. Although the advice is clear, however, it is not always practicable, especially in a church. [But it is a question of life-or-death for a militia. A militia is not an arena for narcissists to act out their delusions of grandeur. The mission comes first -- regardless of hurt feelings. Doug1943]



THERE is another side to this advice, too. People with NPDs tend insidiously to spread their distress. It is one of the ways in which an NPD is recognised on mental-health wards in hospitals. For example, a doctor may be convinced that there is nothing wrong with the individual concerned, while a nurse is sure that there is, because he or she is faced daily with abuse or attack.

Let Us Prey: The plague of narcissist pastors and what we can do about it, by R. Glenn Ball and Darrell Puls, is published by Cascade Books (£23)

The Asshole Survival Guide, by Robert I. Sutton, is published by Penguin (£12.99)

Toxic People: Dealing with dysfunctional relationships, by Tim Cantopher, is published by Sheldon Press (£9.99)

Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist and writer. He works in private practice and at the Maudsley Hospital, south London, in a personality-disorder service.


[SOURCE: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2018/23-february/features/features/gazing-into-the-pool-narcissistic-personality-disorder  ]


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