The Mech Touch Chapter 823
821 Exercising Leadership
Ves leaned back in his chair while playing with the mechanism that allowed him to draw the Cadisis from his vambrace. The C22 Earth Ant fit him well so far, and Ves was satisfied with its comfort and level of protection. Out here in the field, none of the Vandals or Swordmaidens ever shed their suits and combat armor unless they took a shower or something.
Many even slept in their suits in case they needed to wake up during an emergency.
Still, the bulk and weight of the suits hindered everyone's movements and slowed down their work. This didn't matter too much to Ves who mostly worked behind a terminal, but many of the mech technicians still weren't used to servicing mechs while encumbered with hazard suits and the like.
Ves tutted in disappointment. "These screw-ups are slowing us down."
It didn't help that some miscellaneous tools and equipment started failing at random. One day, a floating bot carrying a mech part shut down out of the blue, causing it and its part to fall down right on top of a team of mech technicians.
Ves and the chief technicians rapidly revised the safety rules after that incident. From now on, the bots and mech technicians moved in their own demarcated areas of the workshops.
These inexplicable failures reminded Ves and the others that the negative effects of the astral winds continued to wear down upon their machines. Nothing could prevent the turbulence in spacetime from messing about with their machines, especially when they were active.
Ves particularly concerned himself over their 3D printers. Having reconstructed one from the ground up in the past, he knew very clearly how many small and delicate components these printers relied upon to perform their complex tasks.
This was why he added a daily routine to the already-heavy workload of the mech technicians. They needed to perform a detailed diagnostic of the 3D printer and some of their more sensitive tools such as the plasma cutters.
It would be catastrophic if the plasma cutters lost containment and spilled over all of that hot plasma over the hazard suit of the mech technician using the tool! As much as hazard suits claimed to be resistant to heat, hot plasma meant to slowly cut through mech armor would instantly burn through the surface of a hazard suit without any delay!
"It's like herding cats all day!"
Too much work needed to be done. Mechs had to be repaired, safety routines needed to be revised, screw-ups needed to get fixed and the mech technicians had to get their heads straightened out.
It didn't help that Ves had to pick up the slack when some of the newly-promoted chief technicians failed to do their work. The Vandals still suffered from the assassination of some of the old officers and chiefs.
While it did help him exercise his leadership abilities and make him more adept at commanding the men and women, Ves quickly became annoyed at how many fires he had to put out every day.
As a perennial delegator, Ves began to think of a way to fob off the work to someone else. Ves had better things to do with his time than to solve every little problem by himself. He turned to the only mech designer without any defined duties.
"Yes, Ves?" The young woman turned to Ves with a clueless expression.
"I think it's time for you to learn how to supervise the mech technicians."
"Uhh… no thanks. I'm fine with letting them do their own thing."
"You're not a real mech designer until you take control over your own workshop. Come on, Ketis, it's for your own good. You're theoretical foundation is good enough to solve the vast majority of problems that crop up in the workshops. It will be an interesting learning experience for you. Once you go back to the Swordmaidens, you'll be able to take control over some of Mayra's duties in her stead. Isn't that what you always wanted?"
Through some persuasion on her part, Ves convinced his student to take over some of his work in supervising the workshop.
Though it was rather improper for a Swordmaiden mech designer to be intimately involved with the operation of Vandal workshop, no one cared enough to put a halt to the practice. Ves enjoyed a considerable amount of respect and fear from the rank-and-file through his frequent contributions.
The Vandals knew he suggested wild plan to overload the power generators and throw them onto the invading sacred god. Though costly in many ways, it beat the alternatives and prevented them from suffering more casualties.
Of course, he also earned a lot of fear from his earlier experiments. In fact, the mech pilots enjoyed a temporary reprieve as the dwarf captives normally being exploited at the Mind Blender all rested inside Pairixan's dead stomach right now.
Captain Byrd already sent out some scouts to capture more dwarf chieftains and warriors from the surrounding tribes, but it took time to replenish the Mind Blender's cells with new captives to resume the mental resilience training sessions.
In any case, all of these contributions made Ves unassailable in a way. In the absence of a higher-ranking mech designer such as a Journeyman or Professor Velten herself, nobody truly knew how much authority Ves held.
Captain Byrd might be the only person who could rein him in, but she got swamped with so much work that she hardly paid attention to anything that wasn't urgent in some way.
Therefore, the Vandal mech technicians started to become accustomed to taking orders from a Swordmaiden.
The good news was that the mech technicians assigned to the ground expedition hadn't formed a negative impression of Ketis. Unlike the mech technicians back aboard the Shield of Hispania, the work crews on the ground hadn't witnessed her saying anything negative to the mech technicians, so she essentially started on a blank slate.
Though the Vandals all learned by now that the Swordmaidens extensively relied on slaves, they became extremely proficient at ignoring circumstances that didn't directly involve themselves. It wasn't as if their hands were entirely clean either.
For the next few days, Ves showed her the ropes. Despite the uncertainties surrounding her actual authority, with Ves by her side he essentially instilled the message that Ketis formed an extension of his own considerable authority.
That helped out a lot with the initial pushback, though for some reason many mech technicians continued to resist her instructions.
Ketis frowned as she watched the work crews go right back to their old habits despite being told to do otherwise by her just then. It was as if she didn't exist!
"What do I do when the men don't listen?"
"You give them a good kick in the butt." Ves replied without remorse. "It's not the proper way to lead the men. If these are your own employees, then you need to worm your way into their hearts and earn their respect. That's not possible in some cases. Sometimes in your life you're being put into a situation where you have to take charge of a random crew of mech technicians who don't know you and don't respect you. That's when you have to have to get physical."
That sounded very familiar to Ketis. She already started to grin. "How far can I push the men?"
Ves noticed that she got the wrong idea. "It's not about the pain, nor is it about punishment. Nothing good will come if you put the mech technicians in the infirmary. The goal is to make it clear to them that you're the top dog in the workshop. It's a dominance game. They're much more willing to follow your cues if they fear the consequences of earning your ire."
"So I basically have to bully them until they're scared of me?"
"It's not bullying. It's exercising leadership."
"Is there a difference?"
"Sometimes, there isn't." Ves admitted. "Bullying your way into authority is a short-term solution when time is short and you don't have anything better to rely upon. The true challenge is to transition into a more dependable form of leadership. You can't keep bullying the mech technicians and expect them to work hard and with passion."
"So I have to make them like me?" She frowned. "I don't see how I can do that when they see me as a bully."
Ves smirked. "There is a thing called Stockholm Syndrome. People's mentalities can be remarkably pliable when you exert the right pressure on them. The key is to use both kindness and harshness to indoctrinate them into following your orders blindly. When they no longer question you whenever you tell them to do something, that's when you've succeeded in turning them into your lackies."
Through his hard work and continuous efforts, Ves had long reached this stage among the Vandals. Ketis had a long way to go in comparison, but by keeping tabs on her progress, Ves might learn a thing or two himself about taking charge.
Having observed how people like Captain Orfan, Captain Byrd and Major Verle exercised their leadership continued to enrich his own understanding of this critical skill.
Following his student's evolution on this area allowed him to confirm some of his theories and refine his future approach.
Once he finished his instructions, he pushed Ketis onwards, who walked menacingly towards the lacksadasical mech technicians. In her heavy combat armor, she made for an intimidating sight and slightly towered over the mech techncians who predominantly wore hazard suits.
"Alright, you lazy bums, since you're so thick-headed that you think you know better than me, it's time for a lesson from your Great Auntie Ketis! GET OVER HERE YOU SAD EXCUSES OF MECH TECHNICIANS!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel，faster updates, better experience，Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.
In the following ten minutes, she essentially browbeat the mech technicians into acknowledging her dominance. The chief technician who attempted to intervene got smacked into the ground by Ketis, instantly imprinting the image into the memories of everyone who was present.
She no longer brooked any nonsense from the ineffective chief technicians!
Sometimes, the one with the biggest fist had the most say. The Swordmaidens already ingrained this rule into their bones, but the Vandals weren't entirely accustomed to this brutish method of asserting authority.
The presence of Ves at the sidelines any attempts at calling for higher authority to stop the bullying. His implicit permission and approval for Ketis to do her own thing was already a silent message in itself. Besides, it wasn't as if she actually asked for much.
Ketis did not let her power over the mech technicians inflate her mind. She kept her priorities straight and focused on correcting mistakes and compelling the mech technicians to do their work properly instead of abusing her power for petty power games.
After a few days of handholding, Ves became reassured that Ketis know how to push the mech technicians into action, to the point where he felt his presence wouldn't be needed anymore.
"I'm very proud of you, Ketis." He unabashedly praised his student. "Your Swordmaiden methods may not be all that appropriate, but you dialed them back sufficiently so that the men won't hate you that much."
She smirked contemptuously at the mech technicians. "They're not that different from our slaves back at the Swordmaidens. They're all sheep. These ones just forgot that and needed a firm reminder."
Ves wasn't entirely sure it was healthy to look at the mech technicians in that light.
"There is more to leading the mech technicians than making sure they comply with your instructions. True leadership goes beyond that, and attempts to motivate them into working harder on their own accord. A true leader would be able to draw out their latent potential and increase their performance beyond the norm."
"Like Commander Lydia?"
"That's a very good example." Ves smiled. "Think about how Commander Lydia built a strong pirate outfit out of nothing in the span of a couple of decades. It takes more than terrorizing her Swordmaidens to grow to this point. Do you think you can be the next Commander Lydia?"
Ketis looked uncertain of herself. Filling the shoes of a legendary pirate commander took a lot of guts!
"You can do it, Ketis. You're destined for more. I believe in you."
She finally let out a relieved smile. "Thanks."