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                   An Effective BCT First Sergeant: Lessons Learned and Best Practices
 Company First Sergeant is the most demanding yet rewarding position I have served. The lessons learned during this
assignment have been invaluable. The on-the-
job education you receive in management and leadership is nothing short of world-class. As they say, a mistake is a terrible thing to waste. I hope to share with you- the current and future First Sergeants of Fort Jackson a few of these lessons.
A First Sergeant as a Communicator
You and the Company Commander are
one. What does that mean? You are both the representation of the company and all it does
or fails to do. The command team must be on
“the same page” and share a unified message. Supporting one another is a crucial component of a healthy command climate. How do members of the organization feel included if the commander and First Sergeant are at odds?
Getting communication right starts with you.
As the First Sergeant, you are the conduit for information. You have an intimate knowledge of every Soldier and family issue in your company. One of the mistakes I made early as a First Sergeant was not prioritizing a morning and afternoon sit-down with the company commander. This oversight caused the commander and me to be out of sync with where we focused our attention. We take a few minutes after our company sync to share what we are focusing on for the day. We also get together at the end of the day’s training and share what we observed and any issues needing addressed now, and what can wait until tomorrow. Both have become battle-rhythm events.
1SG Ben Connell
Vertical communication both up and down echelon is another foundational piece of a successful First Sergeant. Your commitments accumulate quickly. Develop a streamlined way to communicate this to the company. What works best is separating the information into three components-
1) Mission-critical- actioned within 24 hrs. 2) Mission essential- actioned within 48 hrs. 3) Mission enhancing – actioned >72 hrs.
Distinguishing and prioritizing information allows the company to focus on what is important. Additionally, do not be shy in highlighting
your company’s achievements to your higher headquarters. The command appreciates sharing in your successes, and your Soldiers will appreciate the recognition.
An Accountable First Sergeant
If not you, then who? If First Sergeant does not make the correction, then junior Soldiers think the action is acceptable. Enforce standards and reward top performers. Your company depends
on you to do the right thing and hold yourself
and others accountable. Do not let the day’s ever- growing demands get in the way of taking care of yourself. Keep a disciplined approach to physical training. Set the example by holding yourself accountable.
You and the commander cannot be everywhere. This is where your Drill Sergeant certification program adds significant value. The trust earned by the Drill Sergeants through a
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