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                  The reasons can vary but are often due to a lack
of accountability and development in previous positions. Here in BCT, we must understand
that most leaders never led more than a handful
of Soldiers and are expected to lead a large formation and peers of the same grade. This can
be very intimidating and stressful. Due to a lack
of seasoned senior NCOs at the company level,
the 1SG is critical in taking more of a direct role
in molding these Leaders into not just good Drill Sergeants but great NCOs. For our junior officers, we receive both junior and senior Lieutenants. Historically our second Lieutenants are highly motivated, ready, and willing to be molded. Unfortunately, many of the First Lieutenants
arrive with many bad habits, and it takes multiple cycles to break characteristics of immaturity, procrastination, and the lone wolf mentality. Again, without a seasoned NCO for each PLT, this requires both the Commander and 1SG to take a more direct role in developing these Leaders.
Discipline
I firmly believe every Trainee, Soldier, and Leader has the potential to be great. But it all starts with discipline to do the small things right. The culture of holding standards starts from the top and requires constant observation and informal/formal counselings. This is very exhausting, but if you
do not maintain pressure, your gains will be lost. Expect to be the bad guy on some occasions, but explaining the purpose can go a long way. Use your knowledge of empathy and present it in a way that your audience can understand.
Influencing
With an oversimplified understanding of our Cadre population, now the question is, “How do
I persuade these individuals not just to do their
job, but do it to a specific standard? Another oversimplified answer is through purpose, direction, and motivation. 1SG Jason Guerrero was vital in this process and displayed to me firsthand how to make this impact. With purpose and direction being relatively self-explanatory, I found the motivation to be the more difficult element to leverage. Below are some observations as to how we tackled this challenge.
Motivation
Motivation is tricky but essential. What motivates one may not motivate another. As leaders, we have to tailor our actions to get the most out of an individual. Is the target audience aggressive and accepting of direct criticism, or are they less mentally resilient and need a little pep talk now and then? Understand your environment and that you cannot lead all organizations the same. Find the balance that works for your team. Diplomacy is an essential tool that you must learn how to leverage. If you choose to be the hammer in every situation and you will fail.
Curiosity is often a forgotten trait that is beneficial to your team. Inventions, discoveries, and best practices are developed due to this
trait. For whatever reason, we as adults often suppress curiosity because we may see it as childish or unnecessary. Encourage curiosity
and creativeness within your organization and watch the performance bloom. Accept the risks that your Soldiers will do somethings outrageous like building a fort on TA 15A or establishing a cult-like presence by painting everything gold. More time than not, they will improve training in some capacity because they are now invested with their own ideas that are deemed valuable by their Leadership. When your Soldiers feel their thoughts and actions are valued, they will strive to support your intent. Through curiosity, they will also become more knowledgeable of the operational environment and make recommendations to you. This is what I expect out of my senior leaders to rely on their knowledge and expertise. When I
see a Soldier go out of his way to improve the organization, this is easily the proudest moment
I have as a Leader. They are placing others first without expecting anything in return. There is a genuine love for the organization and mission, which I value greatly.
The easiest way to motivate is to reward and recognize. Quantify and qualify standards so that all know them. The new Drill Sergeant of the Cycle standard implemented by 193rd IN BDE exhibits this concept perfectly. I also exploit the use of platoon streamers for both Trainees and Cadre. As quoted by Napoleon Bonaparte, “A Soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” There is
Building Teams
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