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                 own way, which may not necessarily be correct. Ultimately, they create bad habits that often go unchecked.
Coincidentally, the lack of development at
the junior level leads to an absence of leadership qualities upon promotion to NCO ranks. Recently, the Army has extended time in grade to 36
months vice 24, to allow more maturation and development for leaders before advancement to senior grades. The extension is evidence far too many Soldiers are promoted quickly, aiding in the gap of experience. A gap in experience combined with an immature leader does not bode well for success. The “I made it” mentality could set in. How many times have we heard a leader say, “I have mine, you need to get yours?” The statement can be perceived as a scapegoat for completing
a task. I have always heard our Soldiers take on
our leadership personalities. Therefore, it is likely NCOs attempted to figure out their own way vice being shown proper leadership. In time, the 36 month time in grade requirement could benefit the NCO corps as more seasoned leaders come through the ranks.
During my tenure with 120th, a vast majority of NCOs I encounter never served in any leadership capacity before becoming a Drill Sergeant. When I asked a SSG at the time of her selection to become a Drill Sergeant whether she was ready to lead and train troops, she replied “no.” Her response was paradoxical to me. A prerequisite to becoming a Drill Sergeant is between the rank of Sergeant and Sergeant First Class. One could surmise the Army expects an NCO to have an understanding of skill level 10 tasks. I do not believe it’s the Drill Sergeant Academy’s entire responsibility to prepare an
NCO to be a Drill Sergeant. In theory, each Drill Sergeant Candidate should come to the academy with a base knowledge of what is expected of them given the coveted position.
The Army needs Drill Sergeants, so it is not feasible for the Army to remove NCOs from orders because they lack squad leader time or have never served in a position to lead Soldiers. Culpability falls on the corps, unit NCO development programs, and the NCO as well. They must
be resourceful enough to seek out mentorship
and volunteer to train and lead Soldiers within their formation simply for their professional development. Those same NCOs are often led by inexperienced NCOs, thus creating a vigorous cycle
of unprepared leaders set to train America’s sons and daughters.
At the crux of the problem may be society.
On a macro level, the generational gap now seen across the Army could have ramifications toward leaders not walking the talk. At this very moment, there could be as many as three generations in
any organization: Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z. Communication is a vital part of the development, and holding leaders accountable has to be mentioned. Are we communicating properly? Given the generational gap, are the messages being received appropriately? Elizabeth Andal, a blogger from, says, “It comes as no surprise that several distinct generations are mingling
more now than ever before, and communication between these groups is increasingly important and challenging” (Andal, 2014). Generation X are more direct communicators. They are from the Army of “do what I tell you to do and don’t ask questions.” Similarly, Millennials come from this Army-style; however, they started to ask why we do what we
do. Generation Z, who are more in touch with their feelings and emotions, often need to understand “why” before taking action.
Andal also wrote, “Values differ in the workplace” (Andal, 2014). With so many different generations in organizations, it may be a daunting task to cultivate an environment where young leaders want to learn the right way. The way the older generation may lead and mentor may not resonate with a millennial fringe Generation Z leader. Despite the age gaps, the lack of experience, or lack of development, the problem remains and must be fixed.
How do we fix it? The basics. In my opinion, it’s really that simple. Getting to know our leaders
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