Lead with the best version of yourself.

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.

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.

Every Soldier A Warrior: Bridging the Divide Between Combat and Support

by Benjamin Phocas

After twenty years of counterinsurgency, with some spending entire combat deployments in an air conditioned office on a city sized forward operating base, it has become easy for soldiers not at the tip of the spear to treat the Army as a simple nine-to-five job. Simply stated, an attitude of complacency became pervasive. Peacetime has worsened this attitude for every branch, with the true purpose of the Army, fighting our nation’s wars, taking a backseat as everyday priorities pile up.

The One Thing Series: Seeing the Best in People

by Brad Ruttman

It was very difficult to choose the one thing I wish I knew before taking command. After 8 years of operational and strategic level command, there are so many. However, there is one in particular that I never thought that I would say as a military member: to be the best leader you can possibly be, you have to see the best in people first.

For most in the military, we grow up in the tactical realm where we formulate “the way it should be” in our brain. The idea that someday, “when I’m in charge, I’m going to do it right.” After actually taking command, we find out it’s really more complicated than we thought. 

The One Thing Series: You Are Not the Point

by Ben Durdle

Our education plants the seed of our perceived exceptionalism, our training waters it, and our experiences prune and bathe it in sunlight. We have signed up to do something extraordinary and believing we are capable and, in many ways, exceptional, is a valuable characteristic to possess.