During the lesson, it was learned that common problems are capable of causing leaders and managers to fail when it comes to the areas of responsibility and management. Simply being aware that this can occur is able to help an individual to not be involved in it happening to them. One of the key factors is to define one’s own strengths and weaknesses. This would also help to determine the individual’s ability for handling larger amounts of responsibility. When it comes to training non-commissioned officers and junior soldiers, two of the best principles for me to use from these lessons are to build a close working and professional relationship with the brigade commander and to use the COIN-environment, war-fighting principle. These would be able to ensure that I become a more effective brigade sergeant major.
When moving from the operational level assignments to the brigade sergeant major post, this summer, it will be very important to build a strong relationship with the brigade commander. This relationship, with the brigade commander, is not only vital for myself, but it is important to the health of the brigade, as well (Hughes, Ginnet, & Curphy, 2008). Instead of remaining just one of the guys, I will be holding a post that is vital to the effectiveness of the command team. This means that everything I say and do will be scrutinized. Other members of the unit will be watching my actions for both political and policy based issues. When I choose how to act to something, I need to remember to be careful and deliberate, in all of my decisions and behaviors. Simple things, like joking around, can be misunderstood or taken out of context. This could end up negatively impacting myself or others, within the unit and command environment.
As a brigade sergeant major, it is important for me to be able to prepare my unit for wartime missions. One military leadership tool that is very effective is the COIN-environment, war-fighting principle, which refers to the fact that anyone can impact how successful a mission is on the battlefield, as shown in the lesson’s story of the strategic corporal (Krulak, 1999). Everyone in the unit, no matter the position held, is cooperating, as a whole, with the sole objectives or winning the hearts and minds of the locals. This will help to separate the insurgents from the support and safe havens that they once had. It is up to the command teams to ensure that the subordinates are fully aware in the understandings of the second and third orders, along with how these orders will positively or negatively affect engagements with the locals. If there is not a thorough understanding, then there is a likelihood that the mission will not be successful, and it may even put the unit in harm’s way. With this kind of failure, it would not be a failure of just the one person that did not understand, it would end up being a failure for the team, as a whole.
Hughes, R. L., Ginnet, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2008). Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience (6th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Krulak, C. C. (1999, January). The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War. Marines Magazine. Retrieved March 13, 2013, from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA366413