Soldiers’ talk challenges solutions within their ranks

| July 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sgt. 1st Class Ivory Izevbizua, HHD, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater (MIB-T), lead a group of Soldiers into a discussion on leading by example during a NIMS workshop at the AMR community center, June 22. The group discussed what they consider to be the standard and the substandard of what it means to lead by example from their perspective. (Photo by Sgt. Shameeka R. Stanley, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater Public Affairs)

Sgt. 1st Class Ivory Izevbizua, HHD, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade-Theater, leads a group discussion on leading by example during a NIMS workshop at the AMR community center, June 22. The group discussed what they consider to be the standard and the substandard of what it means to lead by example from their perspective.

Story and photo by Sgt. Shameeka R. Stanley
500th Military Intelligence Brigade
Public Affairs

ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — There’s no such thing as a perfect squad; however, a solid foundation built on trust, effective communication and confidence between leaders and subordinates is a great recipe for a culture that strengthens readiness at every echelon.

During a “Not In My Squad” (NIMS) workshop, here, on June 22, leaders and Soldiers of the 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade-Theater, formed small groups to discuss issues that could affect trust, communication and cohesion.

NIMS is the Army’s campaign to fight sexual assault, sexual harassment and anything else that could have a negative impact on Soldiers’ overall well-being and mission readiness.

“I hope that the Soldiers have confidence that things will be changed and know that what they said will be taken into consideration,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ivory A. Izevbizua, Human Resource noncommissioned officer in charge, 205th MI Bn.

Throughout their Army careers, regardless of their rank or position, there will be times when Soldiers face difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, situations.

These challenges will cause them to make tough decisions and to adjust, adapt and act accordingly.

However, this is what makes the Army unique and builds it into the strong fighting force it is today.

Within NIMS the groups, one thing everyone agreed on was that respect and perception are very important.

The goal is for Soldiers to be able to trust their leaders at the lowest level as they lead the way by example.

A common stigma is that Soldiers are afraid to bring up uncomfortable issues to higher leaders because they feel no one cares about their concerns and they are not being listened to.

The NIMS is a platform to counterattack that stigma by allowing leaders and subordinates to identify and acknowledge problems and seek solutions.

During one of the group discussions, some of the NCOs expressed that it is time to get back to the basics.

They asked for the time to mentor, train and develop their Soldiers because they care about their well-being. The participants not only wanted them to see that, but know that.

“The Soldiers understand that change doesn’t happen overnight, but they want to make sure that their issues and concerns are being heard and something will be changed,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sabrina R. Vaughn, Sexual Assault
Response coordinator, 500th MIB-T.

“As leaders, we are genuinely concerned about the health and welfare of our Soldiers,” she added. “We want to promote a positive environment.”

Although it took a few minutes for the Soldiers to open up, they were able to engage in conversations that allowed them to see things from a different perspective and what it is they can do to contribute to the overall goal, which is to maintain a climate that is free of anything that would affect mission readiness.

The discussion was necessary. Leaders became aware of what’s going on in their squad and could become proactive.
Although Soldiers are counseled every month on their performance, sometimes it takes an open conversation amongst peers for them to feel more comfortable with how they feel and have the courage to express themselves.

In return, the NIMS gave leaders the opportunity to hear from their Soldiers, take appropriate actions to address issues, and to come up with a plan of action to mitigate any potential risk.

“The Army does a good job talking of Soldiers in all aspects,” said Staff Sgt. Michael McKinley, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 205th MI Bn. S6 (Communications). “You have to have your personal values on top of the Army values. It is important to live the Army values 24/7.”

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