Sponsoring, knowing, talking are ‘basics’ for every leader

| November 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sgt. Maj. Marcial Tumacder
9th Mission Support Command



John C. Maxwell, a world-renowned leadership expert, said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”

I think this is an excellent quote for all leaders, especially senior noncommissioned officers who want to focus on bringing back the basics.

A similar statement is found in the “Soldier’s Guide,” in the Army Values. According to the guide, our individual effectiveness, as part of the Army team, comes from within, from our background, our character and our values.

Our Army is an organization that is guided by values. Army values are the basic building blocks that enable us to see what is right and wrong in any situation.

They build the warrior ethos, and they are mutually dependent. You cannot follow one value while ignoring another.

Within the Army Reserve, I have noticed two ”basics” that have fallen to the wayside: sponsorship and knowing our Soldiers.

Sponsorship. This is near and dear to my heart. I’ve been sponsored and been a sponsor. Having a viable sponsorship program in any unit is part of taking care of Soldiers and their families.

Imagine a brand new Army Reserve Soldier coming into a unit without a sponsor. What would happen to this Soldier on his first battle assembly?

A first impression is a lasting impression, which takes me back to Maxwell’s quote. Leaders must know and show the way for a new Soldier.

Knowing Soldiers. The second “basic” that is very close to my heart is how well we know our Soldiers. Part of getting back to basics is to know our Soldiers’ personal and professional lives. Leaders must be cognizant of their Soldiers’ family and work situations.

Knowing gives leaders the opportunity to find out if our Soldiers have any issues at home, work or even school. We must have a very good knowledge or understanding with Soldiers’ life situations.

Knowing our Soldiers is in line with Army Values and the warrior ethos.

In my 25 years in the Army Reserve, I have seen many leaders who epitomize the quote from Maxwell and the Army Values. Moving up through the ranks, I tried to emulate these leaders and follow their lead.

Another one of the keys to success in getting back to basics is communication. Many ways exist to communicate and maintain a positive and active professional relationship with our Soldiers. Today’s young Soldiers won’t answer a phone call, but they will respond immediately to a text message or a social media posting through Facebook, Twitter or some other social media outlet.

Social media is prevalent and an excellent tool to communicate to our young Soldiers. However, technology is not a replacement for face-to-face interaction, but a new tool in the tool kit.

Being leaders, we need to remember sponsorship and knowing our Soldiers. Living the Army Values and the warrior ethos every day, in every action we take, reminds us of who we are and what we stand for.

Living the Army Values helps us know the way, go the way and show the way.

(Editor’s Note: Tumacder is the senior enlisted advisor, Operations, 9th MSC.)

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Category: Leadership, News, Standing Columns

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