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                 them into the Army culture and half the battle is knowing who they are so you can help facilitate their growth.
Do what they do. If Trainees are doing PT, you do PT. If Trainees are running an obstacle course, run it with them. If they are marching, you lead from the front. No one has ever been inspired by someone sitting on the sidelines. While it may not be in our duty description explicitly, an inspired Trainee will work harder, do better, and be more likely to graduate. Additionally, it is not enough
just to do what they do, you must practice what
is preached. If they have been told they cannot
put their hands in their pockets and you do it,
you have just set a new standard. A platoon will naturally adopt its leaders’ personality so, have high standards, a positive outlook, and strive for excellence in all you do because it will be contagious. (FF #32) Trainees are always watching, and they will do what you do, so be worth emulating.
Trainee Azimuth Check: Would you like to lead your Trainees in a FORSCOM unit? Would your Trainees choose to follow you, if given the choice?
LOE 2: Your Drill Sergeants
Drill Sergeants are a force of nature and “their willingness to integrate you will make or break your time as a PL.” (1LT Weimer) If they are invested in developing you and we are invested
in taking care of them we will have achieved the perfect professional symbiosis. Naturally there will be growing pains, but if we do our job right we
will elevate their quality of life and the quality of Soldiers trained. Most everything you do in relation to the Drill Sergeants can be categorized into three roles: (1) Rater (2) Caretaker (3) Administrator.
Rater. “You don’t have power over anyone; you have a responsibility to them.” (CPT Harris) We
are here as PLs and part of that means we will be rating NCOs more experienced than us. You owe it to your DSs to counsel them on your expectations within the first 30 days of your arrival. Your mission during those 30 days is to learn all the standards outlined in doctrine and by those around you. Keep in mind “there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.” (FF #27) Coming in
too hot is a sure-fire way to alienate DSs. Know
your lane, know your DS’s lane, and work out anything vague alongside them. Your professional relationship with them is sacrosanct so do not mess with it unless it is warranted.
Caretaker. Your Drill Sergeants are always expected to perform well. You must take care
of them: fight for them to get time off, or go to schools, or anything that helps alleviate their pressure. This means you should know them well
so you can best lead them. That may mean taking
a tongue lashing or reeling them in, but mostly it means putting them first. They work hard, and as a leader you should be working harder. Do not expect gratitude for your efforts; it is your job as a leader to care. “Nobody cares how much you know until they know you care.” (FF #28)
Administrator. We are the primary planners and evaluators, NOT the primary trainers. That said, do not confuse your role as administrator with that of a secretary. We should lead from the front; we are Platoon Leaders not Training Room Officers.
It is easy to plan in a BCT environment because everything is cyclic, but there is always room for improvement. Learn everything you can your first cycle and ensure you look to DSs for guidance. If you have a hard time give it a cycle. “Repetition breeds confidence, confidence breeds competence, and competence breeds mastery.” (BG Beagle)
Drill Sergeant Azimuth Check: Have you
taken the administrative burden off your Drill Sergeants? Have they decided you are worth protecting and developing? Would they trust you to bear the full burden of responsibility for your platoon in their absence? Would they choose to work with you again?
LOE 3: Your Peers
I could not have gotten through my PL time without my battles. Since PLs have gathered here en masse we have knowledgeable peers around to lean on. I have found good peers play different roles, namely that of spy and therapist.
Like with espionage, you should act as their eyes and ears and vice versa. My Battalion Commander, LTC Jacobs, calls us the “Lieutenant Protection Agency.” Being part of the LPA means we share information. It also means sharing hard truths with
Open Challenge
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