A NOTE FROM TOP- ASKTOP readers today I have the distinct pleasure of sharing a short essay written by a trusted friend and a professional/caring leader. I encountered 1SG Owens, as a young SSG! She displayed exceptional and intense intestinal fortitude by standing up to senior leadership (CSM,COL, MG, etc), when she felt something needed to be fixed. She was successful because she was consistently calm, factual, and professional in her approach. Her argument was always thought out with the end in mind. It is rare to find this type of courage in a young leader. I hope you enjoy her words of wisdom and I strongly encourage you to share your personal stories on the site.
As a MSG with only 16 years in the Army I am often asked how I got promoted so quickly. My answer is simple: I’ve always “lucked up”! I was surrounded with great people and I took the opportunity to get to know who I work with and who I support. When I speak of getting to know someone I mean showing a genuine concern for their Family, wellbeing, and understanding their weak areas and strengths.
It is very easy to point out someone’s weaknesses however as an Leader we need to understand that no one is perfect and providing assistance or complimenting their weaknesses with your strengths can accomplish the mission with a greater sense of purpose and unify the team. Soldiers will go the extra mile if they know you care. When they personally respect you that’s leadership…all Soldiers have to respect the rank/position…that’s self-discipline. When they know you care they respect you as a leader and by extension your position.
Show you care and you will not only come to know your Soldiers; your Soldiers will to open up and provide you with feedback. When they let you know about an issue its time to share your knowledge, lessons learned or provide assistance by finding a subject matter expert (SME) that can assist them. As leaders we find these SMEs through ACS or other supporting agencies.
Our goal as leaders should be to develop our Soldiers so that we can entrust them with leading our own children in future combat operations. Will you trust your Soldiers to lead your child or loved ones in the future? If your answer is “No”, I would encourage you to find out why the answer is “No” and strive to ensure it becomes an absolute “YES”, I can trust my Soldiers to lead my child into combat. Keep in mind that how your train is just as important as what you train. Make your Soldiers better, develop them as leaders early, share your hard won lessons learned, encourage self-development, going to college, financial readiness, physical fitness, tactical and technical proficiency, etc.
Not every Soldier is cut out for the Army and that’s ok. Develop these Soldiers as best you can, integrate them into the team, ensure they are step up for a successful separation. After all we want them and their families to talk about their Army experience in a positive manner. If a Soldier is being chapter from the service, do your best to set them up for success, let them know you do care about them and their personal success after the Army. There is no need to belittle, mistreat, or abuse separating Soldiers. Treat them with dignity and respect. Encourage them to learn from their mistakes in the Army. Encourage them to be successful in their future endeavors.
Remember our Soldiers and their Families are our Nation’s most precious resource! Less than 1% of the Nation is fighting 100% of our Nation’s battles. Therefore our Soldiers and their Families deserve everything we have to give as leaders.
So how did I get promoted so fast? My Soldiers got me promoted because they made me shine. Train your Soldiers as if your child’s life depended upon your Soldiers becoming an exceptional leaders…because it DOES!