Everyone who has been in the army community knows there are two types of troops: those who work, and those who do not. It’s often a given that commanders are the most active, hardworking members of a community, but what happens when this isn’t the case?
Some commanders are not neglectful of their own volition. Sometimes the wrong person is given too much responsibility, in a well-meaning display of ignorance on what makes a good commander. It’s possible that this person showed great promise when working with a co-commander or high command. Maybe they brought their army to new heights under the wing of their predecessor, surpassing any expectations made of them. However, when the time comes for them to lead alone, the second shoe drops. This inevitably leads to their performance coming crashing down.
If a person needs to rely on those around them to lead well, can they truly be considered a commander? Merely having a role is insufficient to make someone a leader. Similarly, not having the commander role does not prevent them from being one. A necessary attribute of being a leader is the ability to calmly and precisely handle any internal and external conflicts that may arise without needing to fall back on someone more experienced.
Another situation that can give the illusion of a good, or present, commander is when they take succession off the heels of a truly dedicated leader. It’s easy to be handed a fully-functioning army and continue to keep it running. But it’s a lot harder to maintain this for a long period of time. The army might continue to thrive for the first few weeks after the new commander takes leadership. Yet, this can quickly lead them down a slippery slope.
The new commander may assume that this strong state is easy to maintain. This inevitably leads them to think that they are an amazing commander because they lead a thriving army. But as time passes from when their predecessor retired, the army inevitably falls from its high spot, leaving the new commander floundering for a reason why. Rarely do they think to consider themselves as a reason. It is important to realize the need to take charge and lead the army, and not rely on their mentor.
Even if the above situation might not seem ideal, it is not the worst. That spot is reserved for the lazy commander, who willingly abandons their army and checks on it once in a blue moon. They take all the credit for any successes but do nothing to contribute to it. Their high command is generally the driving force of the army. They are forced to take on the full responsibilities of leading through wars and tournaments. This happens without any praise, which inevitably goes to the wrong person. The lazy commander is not always absent, though; they can often be found making friends with troops while their staff does the work they’re neglecting.
Not only is this a difficult situation for everyone involved, but it can also quickly spiral. Consequently, it can lead to resentment being harboured against the inactive commander for not doing the job they were trusted with. Not only this, but the lazy commander might not even feel the need to come alive. They may believe that their presence is enough to keep everything running steadily. After all, why have a productive commander when you can have a friendly one? If their high command keeps the army alive and running well, then one could assume they are a great leader. This makes the inevitable confrontation about their inactivity all the more difficult.
On the flip side, there are commanders who do not reach their full potential until they’re allowed to work alone. Working independently allows them to work away from the pressures of those supervising above them. It is this situation which makes it clear whether a person is truly a good commander or not. Having the ability to maintain and grow an army alone and allowing it to thrive is one of the greatest achievements for a leader. Commanders who rely on the successes of others to boost themselves up, and who prove themselves incapable of leading alone, were never good commanders in the first place.
Leadership is never easy, whether you are leading the best major army or the smallest S/M. Each army presents its own unique set of challenges which a leader must always be willing to tackle head-on. Alongside this, they must still be able to create a community of fun and support for their troops. Do you think that commanders who are inactive deserve to be called out? Or does the community set expectations for commanders too high? Let us know your thoughts!