all=1 Q&a | - Leader Development for Army Professionals
Get Tabbed - How to Graduated Army Ranger School

Discouraged – NCO won’t Train me!

Get Tabbed - How to Graduated Army Ranger School

Discouraged:  First whatever you DO NOT GET DISCOURAGE!  Keep in mind this is only a temporary situation.  The good and bad about the military is things change.  You could be reassigned within your unit.  Your NCO or yourself may come down on orders to go to a new duty station.  Things change.  Stay positive.

Requesting a change of unit:  99.9% of the time transferring to another unit is not going to happen.  Asking for it can do more harm than good.  You are needed in your unit.  You may not feel that way but every Soldier is a commodity the chain of command needs to succeed in their mission.  They need everyone pulling their weight.

Not Assigned in Your MOS: Sometimes this happens.  Just because we have an MOS does not mean we get to work in it.  I worked outside my MOS numerous times during my career.  I did not want to work my MOS but I had a wise leader once tell me “GROW WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED!” In other words, do an awesome job in the duties and responsibilities you are assigned to.  The rest will take care of itself.  

Here is an example I recall from my career:  A young generator mechanic out of AIT came to our unit and was handed a mechanics tool box and told to learn how to work on trucks.  He stated he was a generator mechanic and the Leader stated: “When a generator breaks down, I will let you know, now go work on trucks!”

Why did the leader say this?  We only had 4 generators in the unit and the Soldier would be wasting their time sitting around to do work on a generator so they employed the Soldier and cross trained him as a truck mechanic.  The Soldier did not really care for the answer but the Soldier had a positive attitude and went on to become one of our best truck mechanics in the unit. 

Guess what when the generators need to get fixed…he got called and he was a better generator mechanic because he had more mechanical experience . Once you have let your Leader know you want to work in your MOS they know that you want to work your MOS.  Don’t continue to ask about it.  It will just upset them.  In most cases your leader can’t influence that decision anyway.  They need you to do the job they are asking you to do!

My NCOIC is not a Great Leader: Ok not all leaders are good leaders.  If a leader cares that is a great start. If they don’t care then that is another story.  Let’s assume the leader cares because 99.9% of them do and sometimes Soldier just don’t see it.  When we look at a Leaders rank, we automatically assume that the Leader knows everything about their job and should know how to do everything required of them.  Unfortunately, this is not reality. 

Example:  When I was a young SFC I knew that I knew everything about being a 1SG and I would make a great 1SG because I could hit the ground running and do the job.  Then I became a 1SG and had an eye-opening experience.  Yes, I was young and hungry, I fixed problems like crazy…but I did not know what I did not know.  There was far more to being a 1SG then I expected. It was only after I finished my 2nd tour as a 1SG that I think I was a solid 1SG.  That does not mean I was a bad 1SG it just means there was a lot to learn and I am sure there were Soldiers and leaders below me that felt I did not care or did not know my job.  I always cared…very deeply, but I am sure I made plenty of mistakes in the execution of my job in the early days of being a 1SG. 

So cut the leader some slack.  Maybe they are learning a new role. You can only hope they do their best and that they learn from their mistakes.  It is not your place to speak to them about their mistakes.  Get to know your leader. Try not to complain (I am not saying your are complaining just making a point).

Eager to Learn: You stated you are eager to learn.  That is an Awesome start.  Now how do you learn.  Let’s think about a couple of things you could consider:

  1. Grow Where You Are Planted: This means if you are a generator mechanic but you have to work in the orderly room.  Then be the best Damn Orderly Rook Clerk there is.  Learn everything you can. Read the regulations become the Subject Matter Expert.  Example:  When I was a PFC I was an Artilleryman but my commander decided he needed me to be his driver.  I was not at all happy because I wanted to shoot the guns and the Commander’s driver position was usually looked down upon because they were not working the gun line.  I became the best driver I could and learned everything I could: How to emplace aiming circles, how to scout new positions, etc. but my commander also allowed me time to go to the gun line to learn my job.  We were both highly satisfied in the end.
  2. Consider a Mentor: You might want to consider finding a mentor or a couple of mentors.  First ask your squad leader if they will mentor you or if you can look for a mentor that can help train you in your current duties (whatever they are), and then potentially find a mentor that can help you stay on top of your MOS skills (once you have learned your current duties).  I am not sure of your MOS but in some cases you might be able to go to another unit during Sergeant Time Training say once a month.  EXAMPLE:  I had a young intelligence E-4 that was new to her job.  Once a month I allowed her to go the Intelligence battalion and receive MOS training so that she remained proficient in her MOS.

Favoritism:Unfortunately, sometimes this does exist.  In some cases it is a misunderstanding.  EXAMPLE:  I was a young PFC and I was new to the unit.  Every detail that came up I was put on it.  At first, I assumed it was because I was new to the team and had to pay my dues.  Then I felt like my Squad Leader was upset with me.  Regardless I did what I was told without complaining and to the best of my ability.  One day I asked my Squad Leader if I was doing something wrong.  He stated: “Absolutely Not! You are doing Great! He asked me why and I told him that every time a detail came up, I was put on it and I just felt like I was doing something wrong.  His answer surprised me: “Gerecht, I never thought about it that way, I guess it was just easy to ask you to do it.  You never complain and you always do a great job.  I will try to fix that in the future.”  From then on details rotated through the entire squad.  My point is he didn’t even realize he was doing it. 

Be Careful What You Ask For: Now keep in mind you have to be careful what you ask for.  Because when you ask for more responsibility, when you make it clear you are hungry to learn the Leaders will being piling stuff on.  Once they trust you may have more work than you can physically do. This is because leaders sometimes abuse outstanding troops (without realizing it) because we know they will get the job done and not complain.  It’s not fair and it doesn’t happen all the time but it does happen.

Not feeling Comfortable: This is part of being new to a unit.  I agree 3 months is a long time but part of the relationship process involves you and you getting to know your team and your unit.  You may have to earn their trust and this may include talking with them on a personal level, volunteering to help them with some type of task, asking them to teach you how to do something.  The good and bad thing about the Army is someone is always leaving a unit or unit requirements change.  This means that you or your leader may come down on order for another unit.  You may get reassigned within your battalion because of personnel shortages or they need your MOS in another unit.  The bottom line is you never know.  Keep the Faith, don’t burn bridges when you leave a unit by saying things that might come back to haunt you.  The Army is a very small place.  You may see these people again in the future so be polite, professional, and respectful in dealing with all people.  You never know you might work for them again, or they might end up working for you…. Example:  As a young E-4 I had a Squad Leader E-5.  A few years later I was an E-6 and he was still and E-5.  He ended up working with me.

Trust: Typically, there are two types of people.  Those that give you 100% of their trust up front.  They trust you completely to do what’s right but when you violate their trust you may never get it back.  Then there are those that you have earn their trust.  I think most leaders are this way.  They give you a little bit at a time until you have their complete trust.  Trust is a two-way street. Trust is best achieved by developing a good relationship with strong and clear communication.

Change the Picture:  Another way to say this is change your attitude.  Have a positive outlook on what you are asked to do. Become involved in making things better.  Talk to your leaders and team mates.  Being positive usually brings about results and opportunities you never knew existed.

Things to Consider

So here are some things that might help (some we have already discussed):

  1. Grow where you are planted. In other words do the best Job you can do with the duties and responsibilities you are assigned.
  2. Find every regulation and manual you can find about the duties and responsibilities you are assigned.  Read them, learn them, become the Subject Matter Expert.
  3. Find every regulation and manual you can find about your MOS and read it. Become the Subject Matter Expert.  Look for correspondence courses on your MOS, your MOS might even have YOU TUBE videos.  There are plenty of resources out there.
  4. Change Your Attitude
  6. Know you are making a POSITIVE Difference when you do your job to the best of your ability and seek knowledge from your leaders and peers.

Finally, I share this with you.  As a young Sergeant a Staff Sergeant looked at me while we were in the Orderly Room one day and he said “Gerecht do you plan to make the Army a Career?”  I said “Yes.”  Then he said something that changed my life.  He pointed to all the books shelves in the Orderly Room with all the ARs, FMs, and other manuals (this was before the internet), and said “Then you better learned everything they can do to you, and everything they can’t do to you!” That was his way of saying learn everything you can.  That night I signed out a regulation and took it home with me, put it in my bathroom.  Every time I went to the bathroom I read. I did this until I read every book in our library.  In the end I became the walking encyclopedia everyone would come to for information.  He made me a valuable commodity to my chain of command.  I applied this to everything I did even after I retired from the military.

NOTE: Only you can decide the best course of action for your situation.  I do not know the specifics of your situation.  Take this information with a grain of salt and think about how you might move forward.  My comments are based on my experience…not your exact situation. FOLLOW US Facebook/Twitter/Newsletter

Mentor Military:



YOUTUBE:  Mentor Military


Share Your Classes and Other Presentations: We are always looking for examples, classes, briefings, SOPs, templates and other information we can share for free in the Resource Center. Please help us help others by sending your ARMS ROOM stuff to:

Note: This response is based on the information you provide. My comments do not represent the US Army or US government positions. Furthermore, my comments should be used for information purposes only.

Follow us and never miss a post!

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.

You might be interested in…

Get Tabbed - How to Graduated Army Ranger School

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.

Leave a Comment

We will never publish or sell your email address, nor will we ever send you information you have not requested.