Garrison leadership is a lost art after 10 years

| October 25, 2013 | 0 Comments


Command Sgt. Maj. Roderick Taylor
Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion
25th Infantry Division

As a sergeant major working division- and Corps-level staff jobs, I have always looked for ways to continue to develop the junior leaders around me.

Upon arrival at each assignment, I have carefully assessed the capabilities of these junior leaders, and time after time, I have observed the same deficiencies: The junior leaders of today don’t have a complete picture of what right looks like.

I recall briefings with Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler in theater and at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., upon my selection to the command sergeants major list. In these briefings, he encouraged senior noncommissioned officers to get “back to the basics” and stressed that because we have been a nation in conflict for the past 10 years, we have lost the art of leadership in garrison, unintentionally sacrificing the basic leadership skills focused on during the late 1980s and 90s in favor of combat, technical and tactical training.

I have used several approaches to get junior leaders back to the basics.

I began with reinvigorating our NCO Professional Development Program and selecting topics that allow young leaders to foster thought, interact with each other and gather from each others’ experiences. These sessions included instruction on standards and discipline, and lessons learned on the different blotter incidences occurring within the battalion and how they could have been better handled.

We discussed topics such as Army Physical Fitness Test statistics, profiles, weapons qualification, vehicle and weapons maintenance, immunizations and missed appointments, and I stressed how important these statistics are to unit readiness.

Finally, we capped off the discussion with things that could re-establish esprit de corps, bring tradition back to the unit and continue to instill pride in our time-honored NCO Corps, such as NCO induction ceremonies.

All these topics we discussed collectively and developed a plan to assist platoon sergeants and squad leaders to develop better skills to manage and monitor our Soldiers.

Solicited thoughts and ideas on how we can continue to develop our junior leaders — with an emphasis on the word “our” — fosters relationships with senior leaders, charging them with the responsibility of assisting with getting at the issue of back to the basics. I hoped this way of thinking would get them to see that this just wasn’t my problem, but a problem that we, as senior leaders, have to tackle together.

The area that I continue to work on today is the re-establishment of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club (SAMC) within my unit. The SAMC re-emphasizes professionalism, selfless service, caring and understanding — all of which are the characteristics we want our junior leaders to embody — and is a forcing function for senior squad leaders and platoon sergeants to get back into the regulations.

It is my hope the passing of information at our NCOPDs, bringing back the fine tradition of NCO induction ceremonies and the prestige of the SAMC will draw more junior leaders back to the basics and restore the lost art of leadership in my unit and units across the Army.


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