Command is a sacred trust. We surround the change of command with dignity and ceremony deliberately to dramatize the sacred meaning of military command. A commander is not just the person in the top block of the unit’s organizational chart. A new commander becomes a different person than he or she was prior to accepting command. Commanders are awarded a special trust and confidence to fulfill their units’ missions and care for their people with leadership, discipline, justice, fairness, and compassion, in peace and war. Therefore, we must select them with utmost scrutiny and care, and for the right reasons.
Commanders must be role models, leading by example as well as by authority and influence.
• Commanders must be open and accessible, but not “one of the gang.”General John Michael Loh
• Commanders must promote a positive vision and culture within the unit, and not look the other way to avoid having to face a difficult problem.
• Commanders must distinguish between mistakes and crimes, and deal with them differently.
• Commanders must apply discipline fairly and consistently across the board without regard for friendship, rank, or other discriminators.
• Commanders must avoid favoritism, nepotism, and cronyism in all their forms.
• Commanders must understand trust and loyalty to the entire unit, and not misplace them.
• And finally, commanders must understand when to administer discipline and compassion, and not get the two mixed up.