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  • Morale

    Apologies in advance if this comes off a little ranty, this has been bothering me for a while now.

    Morale is a critically important resource. It not only determines the quality of our leadership, or squad cohesion, and individual performance, but also (and perhaps most critically) our enjoyment of the game. With good morale, even a losing fight is a good fight. With poor morale, it's tough to enjoy a victory, and even harder to achieve one.

    However, I'm starting to see attitudes and language in a lot of squads and platoons lately that is defeatist, accusatory, whiny, or negative. This is absolutely poisonous for morale, and it quickly ripples throughout the entire organization and makes us both ineffective and miserable. Our ineffectiveness then gives rise to additional negativity and a downwards spiral occurs. Then, when the leadership finally burns out and looks for replacements to keep everything going, potential squad leaders are too demoralized to want to bother, especially since they know that the people they'll be leading will be difficult to work with because they're also demoralized.

    I'm not calling anyone out in particular, here, because this is not any one person's problem and I've seen a LOT of people engage in this. Certainly, a platoon or squad lead has more influence by which to spread these sorts of attitudes, but individual squad members can often be just as culpable. Making sure everyone is having a good time, win or lose, is everybody's responsibility.


    So here's some general thoughts/requests:

    If you're frustrated with a series of failures, try to maintain a "can do" attitude. If you can't, fake it to the best of your abilities, or take a breather!

    If you feel the need to criticize someone in the chain of command, do it in private if at all possible to avoid undermining the confidence of the squad or platoon.

    If you feel that an order given is a poor decision, follow it anyways. A poor plan well executed is better than a good plan executed in half-measures.

    If you're in command, it's never your subordinates fault, even when it is. If your squad or platoon isn't performing to your expectations, instead of blaming them ask yourself what you can do with what you've got, or what you can do differently. Slow down the pace, give your subordinates a chance to pull together, and choose an easier target if it's available.

    If you've got something negative to say, whether it be about balance, overpop, or whatever other irritant of the moment it may be, keep it to yourself! If it doesn't actually help you, your squad, or your platoon play any better, it doesn't help anybody and can only discourage them.

    Give people an opportunity to breathe and regroup, especially after a loss or a nasty grind.

    Be encouraging. Celebrate and call out success, and honour a solid effort even if it failed. If the big victories aren't happening, celebrate the small ones.



    Ultimately, remember that this is a game. We're here to, in the end, have a good time. Try to enjoy it, and do everything you can to improve the experience of your fellow players and avoid sabotaging that experience!

    Anybody have any thoughts on maintaining morale? Am I on base or completely off my rocker? Lemme have it.




  • #2
    Re: Morale

    Excellent write-up, starstriker, I've been noticing this a little bit lately myself. I'm reminded of a post from a couple months ago by (I think) E-Male on the subject of platoon leading that sometimes when a situation is frustrating enough for long enough, he has to remind himself to not let it show. He stressed how important it is for a leader to be self-aware of their mood and how it affects their subordinates. He said that when he noticed that starting to happen he would intentionally break up the situation somehow, calling a five minute bio break, perhaps, or even stepping down as PL for the night.

    I think it will also be important for anybody in a leadership situation to be open to someone pointing out that maybe they should take a break.

    Actually, I think TG platoons should take breaks more often. Currently we seem to be in the habit of calling a five minute break during continent switches and the ends of alerts and sometimes when platoon leadership is handed off, but I think it would be beneficial to take maybe a 5 minute break every hour, or 3 minutes every half-hour. I see a handful of obvious benefits right off the bat:
    • First off, organized bio breaks. Might cut down on the number of "AFK 2min" we have to deal with in the middle of ops.
    • Forces a chance to assess and reorganize. I sometimes see squad strengths rise and fall without a corresponding change in how the squads are employed. I'm a strong believer in self-awareness, and that if we can't accurately gauge our own strengths and weaknesses, how can we hope to compare ourselves to our enemy and hope to win?
    • Gives squad members an opportunity to leave without disrupting squad operations. I know that personally, there have been times where I had to leave a squad that was depending on me to provide some function, often transport or when I am the only medic or somesuch. It's not a good feeling for me, and I don't imagine it's pleasant for the squad that I have to leave behind.
    • Provides mental contrast. Minds need breaks in order to stay clear and sharp, and that's no different for squad members than it is for the leadership. I've found that no matter what it is I'm doing, if I do it for too long I can start to zone out and lose focus. I for one am certain that my own tunnel vision has caused me to miss some detail that, had I noticed, would have made a crucial difference in some fight. I might even have single-handedly lost an alert by being careless and not calling out an enemy contact or being slow to react to an attack and letting the enemy gain a foothold. When this propagates across an entire squad or platoon the effect must be staggering.


    Now I'm certainly not advocating taking a break in the middle of a huge amp station fight or right at the tail of an alert simply because hey, it's been 55 minutes! I am, however, strongly advocating some thoughtfulness in our actions that I feel has been lacking lately, and I feel that injecting some thoughtfulness into our normal affairs could give a substantial boost to both effectiveness and, perhaps, morale as well.


    Edit: I seem to have strayed further from the original topic than I intended. I still think it's relevant, so I'll leave it as is for now.


    A pilot who doesn't have any fear probably isn't flying his plane to its maximum. -Jon McBride, astronaut

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Morale

      Guilty lol I'll work on it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Morale

        I have not really experiment this since when i play it's almost only TG squad but that's probably because of the moral drop. I think the idea of break suggest by daelon is a good way to put moral back up. If you are being defeated for some time you ask everybody to take a break that way everybody will calm down and people that are really raging will just leave. Sometime someone that is raging will not leave just because he want revenge so if the whole platoon take a break he cannot have is revenge and will go by it's own or take a break with the rest of the platoon and be ready next for maybe a more easy target. The only time i've seen a PL or a SL raging it's because there not enough cohesion so he cannot do what he want with the number of people he have and that a big hard for the pride if you cannot win fight 60% VS 40% the TG tag is there and you want to be proud of it

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        • #5
          Re: Morale

          Yeah I agree with Hannibal, I haven't really seen any "bad" or "low" morale. At least not in my squads / platoons when I am leading. But then again, I try to get into appropriately sized fights for our force size, and so we tend to win a lot unless the enemy massively reinforces and we suddenly become very badly outpopped. And then we still win (or at minimum do a nice tactical action which is satisfying in and of itself). That is, unless people are not listening / not cohesive. So I am not sure what you are referring to?

          But as I confessed to in pennyman's post on good sportsmanship, I have seen myself getting upset a couple times lately with squads with a lot of pubbies in them and not following orders. The other night I broke up a platoon (2 squads) because everyone was all over the place and not following orders. If that is what you are talking about, then I plead guilty.

          But out of these recent experiences / reminders, I added this line to my Squad Leader course outline, under the section "tone as leader":

          -tone as leader
          -be a cool dude
          "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Morale

            Randy you might not see it because people check what they bellyache when in a squad with you. You are a bossman by the nature of what you do and how often you volunteer to do it.

            I know for a fact that people bellyache, that disagreements in orders/objectives lead to grumbles, and that losing continuously creates a battleworn mindset. I know I'm guilty of a few of these things and I've been trying to stop it from showing in my play and I try to voice against it when I hear it from others. At worst, if I really get a sense that there is a leader/member disconnect I try to tell the leader with a /tell that they might want to focus on raising troop morale before continuing along the same lines.

            Great writeup Star. Morale in games is often overlooked but one of the most critical elements of our species' will power. It is a strong component in videogames as well, perhaps the one resource that parallels with real world tiring.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Morale

              Randy, I'm not sure how well you'd be able to judge it from a PL position, since your only contact is with the squad leaders, assuming proper comm discipline. I know when I've seen the PL get frustrated or start berating his troops it DEFINITELY has an effect, even on me, and even when I'm not the target!



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              • #8
                Re: Morale

                I agree strongly with most of the points StarStriker made.

                Speaking for my self, low morale for me depends on my mood/expectation vs squad cohesion to odds ratio. If i'm in a flexible mood I can tolerate a less cohesive platoon or lower odds of success. But if i'm logging on hoping for good TG discipline vs fair odds and instead get a platoon full of blueberries and we are playing multi-continent wack'a'mole zergs for an alert, I tend to log off before too long. I have also noticed when we have newer leaders running TG squads and we don't have enough officers, NCO's, or long time members enforcing the TG standard effectively I get discouraged as well. I think I have grown accustomed to a higher standard of play in PS2 then most others in the game. We had a Blueberry question our ways in platoon chat as it did not please him and I had to explain to him that we hold to a higher standard and he was welcome to leave. I took pride in doing so.

                But I do have a suggestion that I think would help alot of my issues and likely that of others: TG only squads more often. Now I say this because yes im a little selfish and elitest in that I hold TG to a higher standard and I enjoy our increased success rate vs the zerg and other platoons. Second however is we have leaders like Randy who lead, lead, lead, and then lead some more. It is obvious to me that some days they are totally willing ready and motivated to run open squads and then some days they are looking for TG level discipline/tactics for which they cant get out of the blueberries, yet open squads are run anyway. All im saying is take a break from feeding the poor commoners so often. It may hurt recruiting but TG isn't a heavy recruiting reliant outfit anyway. I feel we spend alot of time developing the community of NC and not of time developing TG. Granted this is all relevant to the time I have spent on only, as I am not on all the time and cant speak to my off times.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Morale

                  So much to love about that post VLAD, where to begin. Unfortunately I must spread some reputation around before... you know.

                  "higher standard... I took pride in doing so." yay!

                  "take a break from feeding the poor commoners so often." LOL!

                  TG squads/platoons are always in high demand guys, therefore don't be afraid to kick people who are not following along.

                  I think a good mix is one strong TG SL, a couple high BR TG regulars, a couple more lower BR guys or guys maybe newer to TG (regardless of BR) ad then fill out the squad with a few pubbies.

                  Perhaps we need to get back to keeping the squad "Outfit only" until it mostly fills up, and then open it to the public. Or, if too many pubbies are getting in and it's getting out of hand, check that "Outfit only" box and re-enable recruiting, until the concentration of TGers increases again. This way I think we can keep quality and still let a few lucky pubbies in to enjoy the experience.

                  Also there are a lot of guys from other outfits who regularly join our squads. Many of them are cool dudes and good team players. And some end up leaving their other outfit and joining TG after playing with us for a while.

                  I guess ultimately it's important to keep a balance between being open / recruiting and keeping a quality TG experience (which, incidentally, will drive recruiting in and of itself). I think I will add a line in the SL course outline about keeping this balance and keeping quality.
                  "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Morale

                    Yeah. I'm of the opinion that non-TG squad members aren't a problem so long as you have an SL who's prepared to pay attention and cull the herd if they're not tagging along and working as a team. For my own part I really ought to be a bit more trigger happy on that. There are a LOT of pubbies and even people from other outfits who love playing the game our way and do a fine job of it, and I'd hate not to have them.



                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Morale

                      I agree with couple things that starstriker1 said.

                      But,
                      If you feel the need to criticize someone in the chain of command, do it in private if at all possible to avoid undermining the confidence of the squad or platoon.
                      I cannot always agree with that. As a squad/platoon member, when I am lead by someone proven incompetent, despite his evident good will, I will prefer that someone puts the cards on the table so everyone could know the fact that the situation has been acknowledged and properly taken care of.

                      If you're in command, it's never your subordinates fault, even when it is. If your squad or platoon isn't performing to your expectations, instead of blaming them ask yourself what you can do with what you've got, or what you can do differently. Slow down the pace, give your subordinates a chance to pull together, and choose an easier target if it's available.
                      Don't know if it must be taken all in a same bundle, so I will put "un bémol" (idea of nuance, dat lack of vocabulary...)
                      I have a clear flashback of when Randy is yelling at me, pissed because he's so invested in this game and I ruined an alert tides-tipping Gal' drop on Peris Amp Station.
                      I am the kind of person that bounces when you hammer on his head. I learnt from that incident. Everyone in the squad did and, most important, none of us scratched that high-performance tactic and everyone who died/didn't succeed/etc. had his justice done on the spot. Everything was quickly back to normal.
                      Remember there are more than one reaction to severe criticism.
                      However, if you were most pointing the general capabilities of a given group, I fully agree with you!

                      Plus,
                      Be encouraging. Celebrate and call out success, and honour a solid effort even if it failed. If the big victories aren't happening, celebrate the small ones.
                      100%
                      :D

                      Breg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Morale

                        I believe in this balance you speak. However more often than not I feel the scale is tipped towards the casual blueberry heavy platoons. When i'm in my disciplined down to business moods it always hurts to see two TG run squads with 50% or less TG squad make-up and the PL asks for a volunteer for a third squad. This when 95% of online outfit members are already in the squads. If I had my way the squad make-ups would never be less then 75% TG members. These are my ideal conditions, though I could and do handle/enjoy less then this standard without much complaint. This is however just my personal opinion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Morale

                          Originally posted by starstriker1 View Post
                          Yeah. I'm of the opinion that non-TG squad members aren't a problem so long as you have an SL who's prepared to pay attention and cull the herd if they're not tagging along and working as a team. For my own part I really ought to be a bit more trigger happy on that. There are a LOT of pubbies and even people from other outfits who love playing the game our way and do a fine job of it, and I'd hate not to have them.
                          What this game really needs is a way for squad leaders to remove bad apples from their squad permanently, or at least for 6 hours or so. (and the platoon leader to have this capability as well, although I think it would be more useful at the squad level.)

                          I have been a part of so many squads where squad members are no where near the main squad or objective area. It is rather strange. People just join a squad....then go do their own thing? To this day, that behaviour befuddles me. (ok, rant off).

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                          • #14
                            Re: Morale

                            Quick question, does changing a squad to 'outfit only' after non-outfit people have joined kick the non-outfit members from the squad? If not, this would be a great solution to the issue where people just keep rejoining.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Morale

                              It does not kick people, which we oftentimes use as a method to combat this. But to make it work, the private Squad AND Outfit Only box must be checked.
                              Questions about those who deserve it!
                              "Remember, no survivors" -Myself and probably what explains my methods the most

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