4 Quick Tips To Groom Your Cadets, Better

posted in: Hands, Hearts & Minds | 0

You can’t take the discipline out of a Uniformed Group. So how do we even begin to instil discipline into our juniors and peers? Effective disciplining can shape their character, and we all know it requrires a lot of time and patience to make things work. We’ve all been there, done that; so we’re gonna be sharing some secret tips in this last post of 2015, just for you!

Woman with her fingers in her ears

Tip #1:The more you SHOUT, the more they SHUT you out!

“Drag your feet some more! Never mind, carry on 20” was a phrase which I heard constantly back in my CCA days – which you might probably recognise nowadays as corporal punishment. Shouting may be effective ONCE, but it definitely isn’t in the long run. Sooner or later, your cadets will be immune, and then… what? It should be done sparingly to maximise its effectiveness, and should be one of your last resort.



Tip #2: Physical punishment is not a means to an end

Physical punishment MUST be used in discretion, as not all cadets are able to cope (both mentally and physically). Safety should always take precedence, and you must be able to gauge their limits. A simple rule of thumb would be as follows: if you can’t complete the punishment yourself, don’t ever think your cadets can. Hence, it is highly not recommended and it should only be used as a last resort, and under direction of your YOs.



Tip #3: Value-add the learning process

Gen Y peeps are always asking: whY is it like this? whY do that? There should always be an end in mind: to groom their character. This comes through value-adding their time and experience during unit training. Let’s break that down further:

  • Pick value(s) you firmly believe in and enforce it strictly on yourself and your cadets. (same simple rule of thumb: if you can’t do it., don’t expect them to do it as well)
  • Constantly remind themselves and yourself, and help them to develop a habit to remind themselves. This is to prevent cadets from relying too much on you to enforce it.
  • Always use teachable moments to highlight the importance of the values:
    • e.g. Occasionally safety is compromised, and someone gets injured as a result. Use that as an example on why safety should always be a priority. It takes a lot of experience to be able to grasp these teachable moments, so do try and experiment to see what works, and what doesn’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to use yourself as an example to a lesson. Let’s be honest, we are not perfect and do mistakes occasionally, and I think it is cool to admit your mistakes in front of your cadets at times. Definitely a plus point for you, and they’ll even look up to you even more!
  • NEVER have the intention to use scolding as a way to insult cadets in any way. Your purpose is teach them, not to ruin their day. Don’t make things personal. Focus on the mistake(s), NOT the person!
  • NEVER let your emotions get the better of you. Control it and focus on what you want to do. Choose your words wisely, otherwise the learning process may leave both parties bitter.
  • After things have calmed down, take your time to explain why you scolded them, and you may even want to apologise for being harsh.


And lastly,


Tip #4: Invent!

We all love new things, so go forth and seek new and better methods to groom and discipline them. Here’s some which I particularly like:

  • Silent Treatment – it’s more scary for someone to stare silently at you, compared to someone who keeps shouting and screaming. It’s a sure attention grabber.
  • Finding Positive Examples – highlight cadets displaying good habits and encourage them. It keeps them going and wanting to perform better.
  • Heart-To-Heart Talks – if you go the time and at the correct moment, you might just find out more from their perspective on why sometimes they behave in certain manner. Perhaps it will give you ideas on how to deal with them next time.


In the end, we all have our own ways to groom our cadets. We hope the tips will be useful in your future unit trainings. Remember, our goal is to develop them to become a better person, through holding their HANDS, and touching their HEART and MINDS. (:


Happy new year to all, and train harder and better in 2016!