The RadOp Mindset : The key to good teams
Updated: Dec 24, 2019
Its cold, miserable and dark as shit! It’s a 2am in a Brecon wood block and I’m in an appointment on an Infantry training exercise as the officer in charge of the platoon. Its stressful, exhilarating and all consuming. All-consuming to the point that you forget to eat, do basic field admin such as put your sleeping bag away or change your socks.
Being in command requires a lot of brain cells you are thinking about everything and everyone but yourself.
Fortunately for me in this situation I have an absolute legend as my right hand man, my Radio operator (or Rad Op), Ed an absolute dude has been with me through the last years’ worth of training at this point. We have supported each other countless times and this time is no exception.
Ed’s official role is to monitor the radio that links the platoon to our higher HQ. In reality his role is to ensure the commander at that time is at his best possible state to ensure the right decisions are made at the right time.
(Slight tangent: as this is a training exercise the commander position is rotated, in reality on operations the Rad Op position rarely exists by the mindset persists).
This secondary role see’s Ed not thinking of himself but doing all he can to ensure I’m able to make good decisions. He is basically the ultimate team player, humbly cooking rations for me, telling me to change my socks, putting my sleeping bag away etc…
This anecdote alludes to the Rad Op mindset, it is one of putting others first…
Outside of military exercises and operations the RadOp mindset has an incredible capacity to change your relationships amongst your team at work and your friends and family.
The core tenets of the Rad Op mindset are:
At all times think, how can I make life easier for those around me? This may mean submitting a document early for review as you know your boss needs the extra time and has a packed diary. Or it may mean arranging to meet your partner near their office so they can just role out of work into a bar and chill while you fight through the commuters to see them. Either way you are making the other persons life easier while taking on some additional hardship yourself.
Don’t expect any thanks or comment on your good deeds. Don’t do anything with a view to getting browny points, do it because you are selfless and want to help the other person and the team. They may notice or they may not. If they don’t notice then perhaps it’s a questionable relationship and you should send them a link to this article…
If you notice you are the beneficiary of someone else’s Rad Op mindset, reciprocate when you can. If you notice and don’t reciprocate, you’re a dick plane and simple.
When a team starts to operate like this you will start to see a new dynamic appear, where productivity goes up and ownership for the goal is shared rather then just entrusted to the manager/leader.
If we view this from a business leaders’ perspective, you want maximum return from your work force, so promoting selflessness and the RadOp mindset is absolutely in your interest. Your team will start to take true ownership for the work they do.
The catch is, as the leader you must go out of your way to selflessly serve, you need to make time to support the junior members of the business. How you do this may require some creativity but by applying the core tenets outlined above you should be able to find a few ways of displaying the Rad Op mindset.
This touches on an important aspect, yes it may seem that the Rad Op mindset is one way but in reality it is a two way relationship. My RadOp , Ed, was looking after me and my job was to look after him and the rest of the 30 troops at that specific time, so I was selflessly serving those around me despite being the one in charge.
So as a leader you have just as much responsibility to apply the RadOp mindset as your right hand man/women or team does.
Interestingly enough in the corporate world the people who display the best Rad Op mindset in most offices are the Executive assistants. Partly because its their job (but they could do their job without the mindset) but the really good ones always go the extra mile and ensure not just the boss is looked after but the team and guests.
This can at times mean that people take the EA’s role for granted. Note also that the EA’s are normally paid the least but are nearly always there out of hours and supporting throughout the weekend/bank holidays…
Another angle to apply this to is your Love life, How do you go out of your way to ensure your partner is bouncing through life with the least amount of friction and stress?
So here’s my challenge, how can you apply the Rad Op mindset in your work and in your relationships ? The benefits are vast but it will require a change in how you view communication and time allocation.
Can you think of one way you could apply the Rad Op mindset to your work life? And your social life?
Good luck, let me know if you give it a try.
God Bless, Dave