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How do I convince my chain of command to put me in a leadership because I am the senior person, but a junior leaders is in charge?

I outrank 2 Squad Leaders in my platoon. I just got to the Unit and I think I should be in a squad leader position not working for someone I out rank.

The comprehensive guide to the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP)

1ST THANKS FOR CONTACTING ASKTOP.NET  Let’s look at this from a different perspective.

If you were a squad leader and you were doing a good job and a more senior NCO came into the unit would you want to be moved out of your position or would  you want to at least want to get credit for your time as a squad leader on your evaluation report?  Odds are you would want credit.

Typically the senior individual would be move into a leadership slot in accordance with their rank and MOS.  Sometimes senior leaders chose not to put a senior person in charge.  This can be for a variety of reasons.  These could include:

  • They are happy with the current individual
  • The current individual will be leaving soon so there is no need to make an immediate change
  • Sometimes leaders are concerned that the new person is not the right person for the job either because of 1st impressions or a records review gives the leader concerns about the new leader.
  • Perhaps the leader responsible for the change out has another important job they want you to do
  • Maybe the unit is over strength and they are looking to cross level your rank to another platoon or unit
  • Last but not least it is possible the leader responsible for making the change simply has not thought of the issue from your perspective or does not see this as a top priority.

The first order of business is to always look at the issues from all sides.  Get the facts.  Do not make decisions based on emotions or perceptions.

What is the correct procedure?

Usually the correct procedure is to place the senior individual in the leadership position, have a transition plan moving the senior leader into the leadership position within a reasonable amount of time (Example: 90 days),  or the senior leader in charge of making the decision of where the new leader should be slotted should counsel the leader as to why they are not being placed in the contested.

Potential courses of action:

  1.  Grow where you are planted.  Simply do the best possible job you can do where you are placed with a very positive attitude and tone.  I fully understand sometimes this is hard to do.
  2. You can choose to approach the leader and have a discussion about your concerns.
  3. You can request a transfer to another Platoon or company for a leadership position
  4. You can do nothing

If you decide to approach your chain of command

You need to think through the situation, be factual, calm, unemotional and offer solutions.  The last thing you want is to be seen as emotional individual that does not think through an issue.

What if you push your way into the position?

You could also be setting yourself up for failure.  If the leader does not want you in that position or feels you tied their hands they can make life tough for you.


The person placed in charge by a senior leader in the chain of command is in Charge and you are required to follow their orders.  Keep in mind if you out rank them they usually cannot rate you.  Someone senior to you must be your rater and they must usually be senior in grade to you.  See AR 623-3.  The key is to find a way to address the problem that is a positive solution for everyone. Treat People Like You Want to Be Treated!

Hope this helps!

Did you find this information useful?  I would appreciate your feedback!


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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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