NCO Leadership

NCO Leadership

The leadership stuff you did for years is not going to change, but technology and equipment are. What I see as challenges are recruitment, retention, suicide prevention, safety and things like that. I think leaders have to have more communication today. There are a lot of people that just aren't sitting down and talking to their Soldiers, not only talking to their Soldiers, but talking to their chains of command.

SMA Jack L. Tilley

Technology doesn't improve your leadership ability. You have got to lead those Soldiers, train those Soldiers and maintain the standards even in wartime - spend time with the individual Soldier.

SMA Julius W. Gates

We have a world class Army with the best Soldiers in the wold... and a world class NCO Corps to train, lead and care for them. They deserve no less.

SMA Jack L. Tilley

The most valuable thing you can give a Soldier is your time.

SMA Jack L. Tilley

As a leader, if you check something, the Soldiers will stay focused on it.

SMA Jack L. Tilley

A leader does not 'choose' the best or most opportune time in which to lead. A good leader takes the challenge whenever and wherever it presents itself and does the best he or she can.

SMA Richard A. Kidd

It takes guts for an NCO to use inherent authority and responsibility in training, maintaining, leading and caring for soldiers.

SMA Glen E. Morrell

What challenges are we going to face in the future? I think you have to look at what the 21st century is going to bring us. It’s obviously going to bring more digitization, more computerization, and a tremendous leap in the technological arena. History shows that when we moved into the 20th century, the Army decided it needed a different kind of NCO. It was a mechanized age, and they needed to bring more leadership into it. The Army needed an NCO who was skilled in the leadership abilities and the technical skills of his MOS at that time. Now we’re going into the 21st century with the computerization and the technological leaps we’ve made. We still need an NCO Corps that’s motivated, dedicated, and smart, and a Corps that can deal with ever-changing environments because we’re going to continue to deploy, we’re going to continue to be busy, and we’re going to continue to have the number of troops we have now.

The NCO has to be skilled in how to take care of the technical skills we’re now using. But you can’t forget the leadership that’s also involved and that there’s a soldier on the end of that technology. NCOs have to continue to get down in the trenches with the troops. They have to put eyes on target to see what the troops are doing and to share the hardships with the troops. The NCOs have to see how the troops are living, how they’re training, how they’re working, and the NCOs have to be there so they can make the decisions and guide their troops on the right path. It will be a more skilled NCO in the technical skills, but there’s still a leadership dimension that’s embedded in all this technology. It still takes a leader to say drink your water, put gas in the generator, check your socks- to make sure that you have beans and bullets and that the logistics show up on the battlefield when you need it. That’s all about leadership.

SMA Robert E. Hall

When NCOs stand in front of their soldiers, they will see a reflection of themselves. Look into their eyes, and you’ll know how well you are leading.

SMA Gene C. McKinney

The main purpose of being a leader is to be someone who cares enough to bring the group together to accomplish a mission successfully, to allow people to grow, to allow people to be safe, and to allow them to be able to take care of their families. A leader does not “choose” the best or most opportune time in which to lead. A good leader takes the challenge whenever and wherever it presents itself and does the best he or she can.

Leaders have to be everything they want their soldiers to be- soldiers learn to be good leaders from good leaders. We talk about leadership and say that to be a good leader you must have candor, commitment, courage, and competence. If you truly care you will do all those things. If you care about our nation, if you care about the Army, if you care about the soldiers and their families, you’ll ensure you possess those qualities.

You must love being a soldier; love being around other soldiers; love leading, training, and caring for soldiers and their families; be technically and tactically proficient; be dedicated, motivated, physically fit, mentally alert, and morally straight; believe in your fellow soldier, in your Army, and in your nation; strive to be all you can be. And, if you’re a leader, want the same for those in your charge.

SMA Richard A. Kidd

One of the things that makes our Army great is that we train and plan for all of our soldiers to be leaders. When the time comes, whether at peace or at war, the American soldier has and will rise to the occasion. Over the years we have seen many changes in our Army- vehicles, weapon systems, uniforms, and organizations. However, one thing has not changed- the responsibility entrusted to U.S. Army noncommissioned officers to lead, train, take care of and serve as role models for our soldiers. The greatest privilege is the honor of leading America’s finest men and women both in war and peace.

SMA Julius W. Gates

Another form of protection for our soldiers during war and peace is safety. When I was promoted to SGT, my platoon sergeant, Franco, sat down with me and explained that I was no longer one of the boys. He said my job was to train my soldiers so they could do whatever our leaders asked us to do and to make sure that none of them got hurt doing it. I challenge every noncommissioned officer to develop and enforce a tough, caring attitude for the safety of our soldiers, both on and off duty. Soldiers expect their sergeants to be professional, set the example, and kick them in the butt when they need it.

SMA Julius W. Gates

The purpose of leadership is to accomplish the mission- to get the job done. This challenge to get the job accomplished is the same whether a soldier is a squad leader, a leader in a staff assignment, or a company first sergeant. This challenge also applies whether the people being led are active-duty soldiers, Army Reservists, National Guardsmen, civilians, or retirees.

There is no secret to good leadership and good units. We must set the standard of excellence, meet that standard, and help all soldiers to meet it. Leaders at all levels must understand that the keys to success are effective communication and demonstrated leadership. You could fill bookcases with everyone’s interpretation over the last 10 to 15 years of the term, “Sergeants’ Business.” It is really simple. It is leaders’ business. When you get right down to it, everything soldiers do- on duty or off- is NCO business. Noncommissioned officer leaders must know themselves, their subjects, their soldiers, and their soldier’s needs. Furthermore, they must be capable of inspiring young leaders with their knowledge. That cannot be done by words alone; it must be done by personal examples of ethical and professional excellence.

In a service in which high technology and increasingly sophisticated new equipment are being viewed as the keys to maintaining a modern fighting force, individual soldiers remain the most important asset in achieving battlefield success- but they still are only as good as their leadership. It is the leaders from corporal to general who are the responsible ones for maintaining a climate of opportunity, growth, and caring which allows both cohesion and initiative to flourish. If you’re technically and tactically proficient, comply with Army standards and policies, and lead by example, you won’t have any problem. If you don’t, you’ll have problems with your soldiers. You can’t fool them. You never could, and you never will. “Leadership by example” is much more than a cliché; it is a way of life. We hold the future of the NCO Corps in our hands. We each leave our mark in one way or another.

SMA Glen E. Morrell

Soldiers are intelligent, well-motivated, and will tax the abilities of those appointed over them with their demands for aggressive, positive leadership to provide the guidance they need to become professionals. Our specialists fourth-class and below want a sergeant who acts like he or she is in charge. They want a professional who sets standards and then enforces them. They want a leader who will stick up for them. But, most important, they want somebody who knows the regulations, enforces them fairly, and gets on with the job at hand. Good NCOs are not just born- they are groomed and grown through a lot of hard work and strong leadership by senior NCOs.

SMA William A. Connelly

Back at headquarters is where you solve the biggest problems and prepare yourself to tackle still others, but the best study of soldiering is soldiers themselves, and you cannot do that sitting behind a desk. It is important that besides visiting the troop units you get to what I call the “two-four-sixes,” the detachments of only two people here or four there or six over that way.

SMA William G. Bainbridge

It is the noncommissioned officer to whom the soldier first turns when he needs information, counsel, or other help. Squad leaders, platoon sergeants, and first sergeants create the leadership environment in which today’s Army concepts thrive or expire. The quality of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps determines in large measure the quality of the Army.

SMA Leon L. Van Autreve

Leadership doesn’t just happen. Leadership is an art. The exercise of leadership connotes dedication, vigor, and endurance- three qualities so essential in a military leader. A good leader is like a good athlete. He must, first of all, have a love for the game. Then he must learn the fundamentals, practice them until he gains a degree of excellence and, finally, continue to strive for higher proficiency for as long as he remains active in the sport. We need to examine ourselves from time to time: to see if we measure up as good leaders. Pull out that worn copy of FM 22-100 and read it again. You may find it a whole lot more interesting this time. The big challenge for NCOs at all levels, from division right on down to fire team leader, is to keep the morale of the soldier boosted. If his morale is good, his fighting ability is good.

SMA Silas L. Copeland

Of the four interrelated qualities vital to a modern Army- PULL- Professionalism, Unity, Leadership, Loyalty- the key quality is leadership.

SMA George W. Dunaway

You find that one of your men has a problem. This means you have a problem, too. What to do? It depends on the situation. It depends on the man, his age and experience, and his actual problem. Your main function is not to solve the problem for him, but to establish a climate of understanding in which the man feels free to seek intelligent help.

SMA William O. Wooldridge