Lead with the best version of yourself.

The Power of a Note


By Joe Byerly

Tonight I read an article in the Army Times titled Nearly Half of Soldiers say Army isn’t committed to them and for whatever reason it made me think of a handwritten note I received almost 10 years ago from my Battalion Commander.  It reads:


I just want to thank you for all the hard work you have done over the last several months.  You have shown great initiative and aggressiveness in all the tasks assigned to you.  You have made a tremendous impact not only on your Troop but also in the Squadron.  Your efforts are not going unnoticed.  I am not saying by me only.  I am saying that your men notice what you do and the professionalism that you exhibit.  It is refreshing to see young LTs  like you, knowing that you are going to be one hell of a leader!

                                                                                                  Keep it up!

                                                                                                     _________ 6

I’m not sure I still have all of the Army memorabilia that I’ve acquired over the years, but I’ve still kept that note.  I keep it as a reminder that a small act, something as simple as a handwritten correspondence, can let a junior leader  know that his or her service and sacrifices are appreciated.  It probably only took him 10-15 minutes to do it, but it still resonates with me almost a decade later.

To many junior leaders the microcosm of their unit (Brigade and below) is the Army, and if we show them that we care and are committed to them, in their eyes the Army cares and is committed to them.

I challenge anyone who reads this post to take a few minutes out of their schedule and let a subordinate know that you appreciate their efforts with a handwritten note.

8 thoughts on “The Power of a Note”

  1. Notes are a great motivator so long as they are real. As soon as folks figure out your notes are ghost written by a tasked subordinated all credibility is lost.

  2. Very true. My father received a longer, very personal bloke to bloke letter from his battalion CO while in hospital recovering from wounds in NG during WW2. It was not officer to soldier but as equals. Still treasure it today.

  3. A great tool for the rucksack; thought provoking and easily implemented. Will use in later endeavors. Thank you sir.


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