Monday, November 15, 2010

Advice for the new Commanding Officer

1. Listen. I have a lot of experience to offer. Nothing puts me off more than a new commander that knows it all already. Obviously, you have new ideas and a new perspective, but hopefully, also an open mind.

2. Be decisive. A wishy-washy com­mander is death for an organiza­tion. Make informed decisions as much as possible. See #1 above.

3. Be consistent. As with anyone, you will have both good days and bad. However, if the troops come in and ask the secretary “what kind of mood is he/she in today,” your organization will not be as effective.

4. Be visible. The troops need to see you. I used to put “walk around” time on my commander’s sched­ule. Nothing raises morale more than knowing the commander cares enough to visit them in their work areas.

5.  Don’t micromanage. You don’t have time to handle every detail. That’s why you have so many people in your squadron.

6. Have high expectations of your senior NCOs. Hold their feet to the fire and ensure they are earning the title “senior NCO” every day by upholding high standards and leading troops.

7. Integrate the core values into your squadron every day. If you expect your troops to live by these, you must live by them. I once had a commander who made reference to the core values in every corrective action he took—it was very effective.

From SMSgt Christopher Schloemer, former first ser­geant and instructor at the Senior NCO Academy.

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