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How do I conduct a monthly counseling on a Soldier that was on leave for the entire month?

Top, I have a Soldier that was no leave for the entire month. My chain of command wants me to do a monthly counseling on the Soldier. How is this even possible...it makes no sense to me?

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As you know counseling is an important developmental tool.  It is frequently overlooked or done in a minimal way.  The situation you are describing can be viewed from several perspectives.

Different Perspectives

From a Leader’s perspective you may see it as a waste of time.  The Soldier may see it as  the chain of command covering their bases to make sure a policy is being complied with.  The chain of command most likely sees it as serving several purposes.  It reinforces the unit’s counseling policy, ensures compliance, but more importantly if the counseling is done correctly it ensures the Soldier is provided key information and communicates to the Soldier that the Leader and chain of command genuinely care about the Soldier, their well being, and their professional development.

Preparing the Document

How you execute this counseling session will determine how the Soldier receives/interprets your efforts but more importantly your execution will also determine (in part) how the Soldier executes the plan of action.  In my experience the best way to conduct these type of counseling sessions is write the counseling statement as if the Soldier had been present for the majority of the month.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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