Lead with the best version of yourself.

Don’t Look the Part, Be the Part

by Oren Abusch

In the early spring of 2020, my Battalion ran a two-week marksmanship course. Each day, NCOs would go to the range to hone their shooting skills and, on one particular range day, I noticed an NCO kitted in the most expensive after-market gear money could buy: an OpsCore helmet, Peltor ear-protection, a water-cooled plate carrier, Lowa boots, and a Crye-Precision Combat blouse and pants. Simply stated, he looked the part of a tried and tested warrior. 

However, he was struggling to zero. Finally, in a fit of frustration, one of our more senior NCOs looked at him sarcastically and said “all that Crye, and no precision.” 

His remark captures a core issue in our current army: a culture that values looking lethal over lethality itself.

Opportunities and Applications for Executive Coaching in the Army

by BG Brett Funck

It’s likely “coach, teach, and mentor” is a familiar phrase for those in the Army.  However, understanding and differentiating the three items is less familiar. The Army is growing its exposure to executive coaching and learning along the way. The focus of this short article is executive coaching, how it differs from mentoring, and possible risks.

A leader most commonly selects a mentor to provide guidance, advice, support, and insights based on their years of experience. Simply put, the younger leader asking questions of the more seasoned leader. The mentor provides insights and most commonly a path to solution. This is the most common form of mentoring, but not the only way. Mentoring still belongs in the Army; however, leader growth is more significant with a complementary mixture of mentoring and executive coaching. 

Making the Case for an Army Peer-to-Peer Rewards Program

by Aaron “Butch” Pucetas

The Army’s current rewards system is mostly top-down, leader-driven, and formal in nature. If a Soldier excels in an event or area, their supervisor recommends them for a reward and it is processed through the chain of command. Once verified and approved by the chain of command, the Soldier is rewarded with time off, recognition at a unit formation, and/or an award that improves their performance file. In this rewards system, it is up to the supervisor to witness the exemplary behavior and initiate the process. Then the chain of command must verify and approve the reward. Furthermore, the accounting of the rewards is left to the unit. Command teams and their public affairs professionals must mine unit newsletters, S1 files/systems, and other data sources to paint a picture of how many “good things” happened in the unit over a given quarter or year.

Lessons Learned Leading Zero-Experience Ad-Hoc Teams

by Brad Crosson

Thanks to a recurring overseas exercise, I have had several opportunities to take about two dozen people who have never met before and quickly turn them into a functioning team. I measure my impromptu teams’ success by how well these strangers turn into a team in three short intense weeks. There are a few thoughts that come to mind that help direct my actions. Hopefully you find them useful should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

The Cornerstone of Our Profession

By Marc Meybaum

As we raise our right hand, our oath is expected to be, and must be, an honest commitment to serve. Honesty is called forth in the very first act of every military service member in our modern volunteer force. It is our first act of spoken truth as we pledge to support and defend the constitution.  

This expectation of honesty nurtures the very trust and confidence that the American people have in military service members. An argument can be made that honesty is the virtue that underpins many others within the context of our military service. Honesty is necessary to embody other virtues vital to military service such as obedience, discipline, courage, integrity and likely others. If trust is the foundation, honesty must be a cornerstone of our profession, and it exists in various forms, in our actions, in our thoughts, as intellectual honesty, and in our words.

Two Steps to Being a Good Teammate

by Tom Dull 

Unique to the military profession is that, upon entrance, the servicemember is instantly accepted and considered part of the team. Whether a scout team, infantry company, or brigade staff, soldiers are always a member of a team (and most of the time members of multiple teams at once).

Although teams might be unique through their personalities and locations, all military teams are typically similar with a distinct three component hierarchy. Most military teams have a leader at the head of the respective unit, junior leaders interspersed across the unit to transmit the senior leader’s intent and guidance, and subordinates to carry out the leader’s orders and operations. All three components are necessary to form the team and vital for it to function and achieve success.

Enduring

by Hannah Wentland

For a long time I have struggled to write or even share my thoughts. The first notion inhibiting me is always, “Who am I to write something worth knowing?” I fear I lack the credibility to sit at the table and champion my voice: I lack the rank, title, experience, badges, and a myriad of other spoken or silent markers of merit. Still, even more pervasive, is my fear that anything I say will be construed and generalized as blanket truth for other women in similar positions. Indeed, this is one of my greatest career hurdles and daily struggles.

My perspective and experience cannot speak for an entire gender. Furthermore, my niche of being a female combat arms officer still does not mean I can speak for all women in these roles. I want you to hear my voice and know there is truth in my experienceꟷ that many probably share it, as well as my opinions, but it is only one part of the whole. The very thing that polarizes me from people is what makes me diverse, allows me to bring something to the table, and fosters a dialogue to ensure we, as leaders and stewards of the profession, create the best environment we can.

The Bear: A New, Relevant Source of Professional Development

by Zach Batton

By and large, military leaders are not diversifying their sources for professional development. 

Once and Eagle, Black Hearts, Black Hawk Down, and This Kind of War are just a few repetitive staples in most reading/watch lists. However, many junior leaders are bored with the same “assigned” material. 

For those searching for a different source for junior leader professional development, The Bear is a formidable choice. The series is loaded with common workplace situations like adjusting to new leadership as well as changing corrosive behaviors. Moreso, there are many similarities between those situations and the Army’s Principles of Mission Command (ADP 6-0) and Leader Development (FM 6-22). Though it does not take place in a military setting, The Bear can be a valuable tool for learning how to establish mission command and instill change within an organization.  

Attack the Stigma!: How Leaders can support Mental Health Maintenance

by Mandi Rollinson

What is mental health?

Despite the stigma existing in contemporary culture around the term “mental health,” mental health is not a condition in and of itself. It is a fact of being human. 

The WHO defines mental health as: “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to [their] community.”  If you’re thinking, “Well, what does that mean?”, then you aren’t alone.