The Front Right Seat Selection

Over the past few years I have been keeping notes on specific measuring traits and characteristics  of what the front right seat detail leader needs to have.  Personality traits are huge for this position, but understanding every other position of a close-in detail along with multi tasking abilities have to be measured before the specialist can occupy that seat.  Mental acuity and the ability to forecast well ahead of any matter is a hard characteristic to measure unless you have examples from previous details.

The front right seat detail leader is a chess player with a poker face.  He is a field commander that can articulate what is needed without showing any signs of duress.  He/she is able to keep the morale of the shift through long arduous and difficult hours while dealing with multiple personalities.  For me, one of the earliest signs of weakness is a front right seat detail leader that calls the POCC [Protective operations command center] and asks for confirmation on every decision in the form of an informative call.  He is a real case example:  “The principal has scheduled 2 OTR’s today and I am going to push call-signs 1 and 2 ahead to do a hasty advance.”  I don’t need to know that.  The second example is this: “Our motorcade and arrivals are bringing too much attention to us, I am going to push the shift to the site ahead and start the close-in on the apron.”   The FRS Detail leader has worked with me when I have done this before but instead of being confident in his decision he was looking for my response as to whether it was a good decision or not.  Both examples are good decisions.  If I have to briefed on every decision I might as well be the DL.

Positive affirmations when specialists do a good job goes a long way with their confidence to make sound decisions.  As I have said before I come from an institution that used negative reinforcement.  Meaning you only heard from the supervisors after your screwed up.  That type of leadership kills a persons confidence because he/she is always second guessing.

We hotwash every day of a detail as well as do a pass-down on static residential details.  This is a way to give positive reinforcement of the good things that were done in front of their peers as well as deliver positive corrective actions.  I have observed newer specialists very nervous due to the high expectations at BPI.  It is the job of the FRS detail leader to reign that nervousness in with reinforcement.

Here is an example of a funny yet true story:  A few years back I put Mark’s brother and my oldest son completed their EP course.  I purposely did not attend so that the pressure of me being there did not hamper my son’s ability to learn.  The expectations were already higher for the both of them and if you ever work with Mark and me you’ll see it is not a game. Shortly after their course completion I put Mark’s brother on a traveling detail on a very important client.  The detail leader was call-sign Peppermint.  When they arrived a day ahead to plan, Peppermint called me and said that Mark’s brother was too nervous to think straight.  He said that he attempted to call him down, however in the back of his mind he was afraid to embarrass his brother.  Little did we know, but Mark had already gave him a call that turned him into a soup sandwich.  Once Peppermint found out, he called Mark and told him to back off of him.  That was a strong decision and sound decision by a Great Detail Leader.  He recognized where the issue was and addressed it immediately.

The same thing happened when Mark’s brother worked with us on a 7 man close-in detail in DC when Mark was my ADL.  I had to have a pow wow with Minister after I saw his brother start to evaporate right in front of my eyes, yet he actually was impressing me more than some of the senior specialists there.  In fact, he got very sick and I was going to sit him down, but he refused and forged through it. 

The front right seat detail leader has to be the boss, the shift guru, motivator and the answer man.  He can not get weary in the midst of his team.  Confidence is infectous and if you ever want to see a detail fall apart, have a non qualified front right seat DL as the boss.

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