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Top 7 Leadership Tips for Today’s Army NCO

The Mentor - A Comprehensive Guide to Army Counseling and Leadership

Today, I want to share my top 7 leadership tips for today’s Army NCO. These tips are unconventional tips that you might not learn in your NCOES. However, I believe that all of these ideas can benefit you immensely if you keep an open mind and apply what you learn.

# 1 Focus on High Standards and Progress

No one is perfect. Your Soldiers are not perfect and neither are you. Therefore, rather than focus on perfection, you should focus on high standards and progress. Set the standards high and try to improve a little bit each day. This pertains to you personally and to your unit/section.

# 2 Always Put the Customer First

In the military, we have customers. For example, if you work in the S1 Office, everyone who comes to you for support is your customer. Your job is to provide world-class customer support. Don’t look at your customers as an inconvenience. Realize that you get paid to take care of your customers. More importantly, realize that your customers don’t have a choice where they get their service from. They are STUCK with you. So go the extra mile and provide them exceptional customer service. That is your job!

# 3 Pull Your Team to Success, Don’t Push Them

The days of being a dictator are long gone. The most effective military leaders pull their team to success they don’t push them to success. Try to lead by inspiration, rather than by brute force and ignorance. Be the team Captain who leads by example and inspires others. Don’t be the person who does nothing but bark out orders all the time.

# 4 Believe in People That Others Overlook

Some of the best military leaders I’ve ever met could turn the misfits into superstars. They had the ability to believe in people that no one else would believe in. I’ve found that most Soldiers and organizations are a reflection of their leader. A good leader can turn bad Soldiers into good Soldiers. And a bad leader can turn good Soldiers into bad Soldiers. Try to see the good in people! People will rise to the level of expectation you have of them.

# 5 Help Your Team See the Big Picture

We all want to belong to something greater than ourselves. We all want to know that what we are doing is part of something greater than ourselves. One of the best leadership tips I can share with you is to help your team see the big picture. Whenever possible, explain how their job fits into the big picture and always give a task and purpose when you have someone do something. Let them know why they are doing the task. Don’t just say “because I told you so.”

# 6 Listen More Than You Speak

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them in that proportion. Always listen more than you speak. You can’t learn anything by talking, but you can learn a lot by listening.

# 7 Admit When You are Wrong

As leaders, we all make mistakes from time-to-time. When you make a mistake, admit you are wrong. I know that might be difficult to do, but your Soldiers will respect you that much more if you can admit when you were wrong.

Final Thoughts

In summary, these are my top 7 leadership tips for today’s Army NCO. By following the advice in this article, you will become a better military leader. What are your thoughts?

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Charles Holmes is a former Army Major. He is the author of 12 books and creator of the popular website Part-Time-Commander.com. His website provides helpful leadership tips and training advice for Soldiers in the Army National Guard and Army Reserves. Charles spent 15 years in the Army as an enlisted man and officer. He served on Active Duty, in the Army National Guard and in the Army Reserves. Some of his previous duty assignments include Platoon Leader, Company XO, Battalion S4, Shop Officer, G4 Plans Officer, Fuels Officer, Company Commander, Brigade S4 and Brigade S3. He is currently the owner of Holmes Internet Marketing, a company that specializes in internet marketing and affiliate marketing.

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  • Jo Rusin


    Great summary of some basic principles of leadership, and not just for NCOs. Officers can and should use these, as well. My bet is that somewhere along the way you must have had a good plt. sgt. or 1SG who coached you well.

    • Part-Time-Commander


      Thanks for the comment, Jo.

      Yes, I’ve been fortunate to work with some great mentors, both in the NCO and Officer ranks.

      I’ve also learned a lot from reading. I try to read 2-4 books a month to help me hone my skills.


  • Preston


    Great points, Chuck! Thanks for sharing and welcome aboard.

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