Operations, 18th Medical Command (Direct Support)
I remember when joining the Army 20 or so years ago, noncommissioned officers carried leader books with Soldier data cards and family information.
However, after 9/11, the Army became so good at deploying Soldiers, equipment and units, that leader books have gotten away from this “garrison Army.”
We have to get back to the basics, and it starts with you. No matter what buzzword you use — “garrison leadership,” “back to basics,” “muddy boot leadership” or “oak tree counseling,” getting back to basics means one thing: engaged leaders!
One of the key elements of basic leadership engagement is sponsorship.
According to Army Regulation 600-8-8, “The Total Army Sponsorship Program,” sponsorship establishes trust between junior Soldiers and leaders.
As soon as Soldiers and NCOs make contact, whether in person or via long distance, bonds are established. Only then will Soldiers start to feel at ease with their ensuing transition.
Sponsorship when done right assures Soldiers that their NCOs care.
In the 18th Medical Command (Direct Support), sponsorship begins when Soldiers are identified on the gains roster. The unit then sends an email to incoming Soldiers that identifies their sponsor. Sponsors make telephonic contact with incoming Soldiers within three-five days to get initial background information and answer any questions.
Upon arrival, sponsors meet incoming Soldiers and their families; however, sponsorship doesn’t stop when families have been dropped off at a hotel. Sponsorship continues through orientation and in-processing.
Another key element of basic leadership engagement is enforcing Army standards. Enforcing Army standards takes competence and understanding of regulatory guidance. Engaged leaders accept the challenges of educating themselves and drilling down into the spirit of regulatory guidance so that they can articulate the guidance with accuracy.
For example, the 18th MEDCOM is incorporating the Army’s new physical readiness training manual, Training Circular 3-22.20. NCOs need to look at the manual, recognize the changes and enforce them.
As engaged leaders, we must ensure all training is conducted in accordance with AR 350-1, “Army Training and Leader Development.” Only through engaged leadership can we educate and train tomorrow’s future leaders.
Remember, it is not OK to say or think, “Do as I say, not as I do.” The proper mindset must be, “Watch me and do as I do.”
My name is Chapman and I am a Soldier!