Back to Basics: A good leader equips Soldiers with basic life skills

| June 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sgt. Maj. Dale Sproule
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command



The Army is resurrecting an old theme, the “Back to Basics” mentality.

Soldiers are saying this is a new buzzword or a new Army program, but that is far from the truth. In fact, the “Back to Basics” culture dates back to when I joined the Army.

B2B is an enabler allowing us to take care of ourselves, and our fellow Soldiers. It guides how we coach, teach and mentor Soldiers.

My role models set a good foundation derived from culture, tradition and standards, allowing me to be empowered to train and lead.

Our concentration of effort after 9/11 focused on the conflict of war and not on garrison operations. We developed, managed, trained and led Soldiers to detect, engage and defeat the enemy. But as we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, our noncombat mentality has been lost, which affects our ability as an organization to take care of Soldiers and families.

Currently, our junior Soldiers are very intelligent, but they lack the interpersonal skills necessary to be engaged with their subordinates and families. In our ranks, we have Soldiers who do not know how to balance a checkbook or know what an Army Emergency Relief, or AER, loan is.

We need to have a systematic approach for Soldiers to learn their jobs, as well as to learn how to care for themselves and the Soldiers they lead. We need to show the Soldiers and leaders, through counseling, how to reinforce those learned skills.

This approach begins at the squad level. When you make your leader’s book and track the welfare of your Soldiers, you will learn their strengths and weaknesses.

Ask yourself this: As a leader, are you conducting home visits to see how your Soldiers and their families are doing? Do you know if your Soldiers, whether they are single or married, are having any family, personal and/or financial problems that will hinder them in garrison and/or the field?

Do you, as a leader, know what you need to do to execute and to assist in such a scenario?

By learning about your Soldiers, you can better help them and guide them in the right direction. You, in turn, will know how to take care of your team, and by taking care of your team, you will begin a lifelong learning process of building individual leadership skills.

We are a Profession of Arms; we should emphasize the importance of professional reading, the study of your particular job skills, and the study of regulations that govern the Army. The military has a myriad of programs and systems emplaced to help and guide you and your Soldiers. Take advantage of all the opportunities laid out in front of you.

B2B ethos is to look at the three pinnacle principles: Be, Know and Do.

•“Be” technically and tactically proficient.

•“Know” to place the Mission first.

•Always “Do” what is expected of you by taking care of the families under your charge.

The programs and systems are in place and are readily available to use. It is now just a matter of training as to what the programs are and how to implement them in the unit and with the individual Soldier.

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Category: News, Standing Columns

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