By SFC Allen, Justin R.
United States Army
As a soldier crosses the line of responsibility and transcends into the Corp of Non-Commissioned Officers he assumes many roles. Though many individuals wear the chevrons indicating their grade, these soldiers must fulfill responsibilities concurrent to their position to earn their title of Sergeant, and be a true leader of soldiers. Field Manual 6-22 Army Leadership (2006) defines leadership as “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.” In my own words Leadership is mentoring soldiers, setting the example for your subordinates to emulate, training to accomplish the mission, and being available to assist in their needs. Despite the difference in wording, I believe the commonality would be, regardless of the situation leaders need to be devoted to their soldiers.
Today’s Army, as it is one that will be in conflict for the foreseeable future, presents many leadership challenges. Leaders must know how to conduct themselves and care for their soldiers in both garrison and deployed environments. Garrison leadership involves understanding the soldiers training needs, their family life, and ensuring you’re available to provide guidance in areas such as finance, relationships, major purchases, conduct off duty, etc. Garrison leaders though not in consistent presence with their soldiers are faced with numerous challenges and must understand the ins and outs of their subordinates character and conduct so as to mitigate any type of event that would affect their mission capability. The training environment even as it is focused around inert warfare is one of hazards, soldiers and young leaders are just getting acquainted with their equipment and execution of their specialty. As a Platoon Sergeant I would be focused on risk mitigation, delegation, instruction and checking to ensure my subordinate leaders are fulfilling their responsibilities. A challenge that I am often faced with as mid-way leader (Leader that is neither senior nor junior by my definition) is when to execute and when to supervise, in the majority of instances subordinate soldiers and subordinate leaders need to be supervised to ensure they are executing safely and accomplishing each sub-task associated with its particular mission, however, it is also important that leaders become engaged with their soldiers to demonstrate proper work ethic and to demonstrate proper execution techniques, based on my experience operation in conjunction with their leaders motivates soldiers to work more efficiently.
Leading in a deployed environment entails many of the same challenges as leading in garrison, however, operating and living with your soldiers for an extended period of time presents additional challenges. In a deployed environment risk mitigation is one of the most important aspects of leadership, soldiers are operating more frequently in a larger scale environment, the potential for accident and injury is nearly endless. In this aspect junior and senior leaders must consistently emplace and supervise controls to ensure the safety of their subordinates. Deployed environments often add difficulty to everyday tasks, such as chow, laundry, hygiene, and general cleanliness. It is the responsibility of squad and team level leaders to monitor their soldiers and ensure that they are getting proper sustenance, food and water, and are managing their cleanliness, personal hygiene and the general police of their area. The most difficult aspect of operating in a deployed environment is managing the Leader/Soldier relationship, operating in a confined environment and spending the majority of your time with your subordinates can create an imbalance in the Leader/Soldier relationship. Soldiers seeing their leaders let down their guard and act like