Leadership. What exactly does this word mean? What do I need to know to become a good leader? How can being a leader help me in life? These are all good questions to ask and I hope to enlighten you as you journey to become a leader.
When I was a Specialist in the Army, my First Sergeant used to always tell me that in order to be a leader meant to know the definition of sacrifice. It took me a little bit to realize exactly what he meant. For years, I watched as my supervisors and those appointed over me gave up time at their homes to make sure their subordinates were taken care, no matter what time of the day it was. Their number one priority was the welfare of each soldier.
I was blessed to have such good role models to base my leadership off, and I am still blessed to call them my friends to this day. I learned what things a leader shouldn’t do and what they should, what accountability meant, and most importantly, I learned what my first sergeant always meant by the word sacrifice.
It was February 2010, a little over 5 months after my unit first entered our 12 month tour in Afghanistan, when I received my E5 (SGT) rank. For those of you who don’t know, this is the first level of a leadership role as a non-commissioned officer (NCO). It was my responsibility as a NCO to make sure my subordinates were taken care of, every second of every day for the remaining 7 months.
Providing direction can have a huge impact on someone’s life. My NCO’s set the example for many of my peers, including myself. HThey not only taught me how showing someone a path can impact your life but theirs as well. A good leader is someone that supports where you want to go, and helps you to get there. He is the one that shows you how to use resources to achieve your ultimate goal. He is also the same man to show you what the word sacrifice truly means. Having a sense of direction provides someone with the help they need in order to accomplish their specific tasks at hand.
Becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, and with time comes mistakes, lessons learned, failures, guidance, willingness to learn, sacrifice and direction. I challenge everyone who reads this posts to think about someone in your life who was a ” leader” to you, someone you looked up to, and think where you were before they entered your lives. Something they did at one point in time helped you become the person you are today.
Being a good leader is also knowing how to listen! If you can’t look past yourself, then how will you ever know what everyone else has to offer? Your subordinates have valuable information that could help you, so why not utilize them and learn from them, just as they learn from you? Something to think about.
Be leader wherever you are, every minute of every day, and every day of every year for the rest of your life!
No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army”. I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the Military Service and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.
Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind—accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers. I will strive to remain technically and tactically proficient. I am aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.
Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!