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                  a lot of pride the Drill Sergeants take in winning these simple pieces of cloth. A prideful mentality of a Drill Sergeant easily transitions to that of his/her Trainees.
Lastly, say thank you. Words of affirmation cost us nothing but can mean the world to those who continue to work hard. Use it and use it often.
As stated before, our junior leaders are often
not accustomed to the responsibility of large formations. Therefore the idea of ownership over the actions of many can be alien. This has been a difficult obstacle to overcome, but once Leaders understand this concept, it pays dividends. To push this idea of ownership, the Command team must aggressively practice mission command and allow Leaders to figure out how to solve problems based on guidance and intent. Push this idea, and push it hard. It is a struggle with the amount of turnover experienced. Still, by finding our Leaders’ threshold of failure and maintaining a reasonable amount of pressure, they will become accustomed to making difficult decisions independently.
We have all learned tools to increase performance, but to maintain consistency, we must implement systems such as TTPs or SOPs. These systems force repetition and are critical to unit success. Through systems, all know the standards, and our chance for continued success remains high.
Overall we cannot be effective if we do not build positive relationships. Daily interaction
with the team needs to be consistent. I am guilty
of being in the office all day without exposure to others, but this is the wrong answer. Get out and assess your people and daily operations to get a feel of the organizational heartbeat. LTC Terrence Soule, CSM Garrett O’Keefe, and CPT (CH) Shane Withrow are excellent examples of exhibiting what it means to be on the front lines and consistently building relationships with Soldiers. I always hear them asking both our Cadre and Trainees the fundamental questions: “How are you?” or “How is the team?” Consistency in showing interest in your subordinates creates the foundation of building trust.
The Power of Perception
Personal and public perception can easily promote or degrade the effectiveness of your organization. I learned this the hard way. The perception of your organization from your Leaders, peers, and subordinates affects the type/amount
of support and trust that you will receive. When Leaders from other organizations want to be a part of yours, this builds more pride among your Soldiers. If you are experiencing the opposite, you will have a tough time because it is very easy for your subordinates to believe negative undertones. If you are experiencing the latter, then there is still hope. Keep your head up and just keep rowing.
A positive perception of your organization is not exclusive to just Soldiers. The perception of family members also affects the performance of your team. As a Lieutenant, I will admit that I did not care for SFRG events nor fully understand their purpose. Yes, they build morale and bring the team together but what I did not realize was the opportunity
for families to build relationships among one another and with unit Leadership. Many military families feel isolated and do not feel any emotional attachment to the organization. Utilize these opportunities to bring everyone together (spouses, kids, dogs, cats, parakeets, etc.) and display that the Leadership cares about their wellbeing. The feeling of belonging builds cohesion inside and outside of the organization and retains good Soldiers. Put the work into hosting simple BBQs, Christmas parties, etc., and over time, you will see attitudes about the organization improve.
Overall, the common denominator in building teams is establishing trust and investing knowledge into each Soldier. This is what we, as leaders at all levels, should prioritize. We cannot do everything ourselves, nor should we try. Spread your knowledge and experience into others and watch them grow into force multipliers. This task is not for the faint of heart, but everyone has the potential to do it. Regardless of the current state of your organization, just get out and ask, “How are the men?” and use that as the path to building a great organization.
CPT Freeman is the Commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 193rd Infantry Brigade.
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