5 Things Every Army Leader Should Do

In today’s post I want to share five things that every Army leader should do.  This pertains to Corporals, senior NCOs, company grade officers and even General Officers.

(1)   Read the Constitution: When we join the Army we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.  However, you would be surprised at how many Soldiers have never actually READ the Constitution.  As I see it, this is quite perhaps the most amazing document ever written (other than the Bible).  Do yourself a favor and read the Constitution.  Don’t just read it, study it!  And make it a point to re-read it at least 2-3 times a year.  Every time I read the document I fall in love with my country all over again.  It wouldn’t hurt to print out a copy for your Leader’s Book either.You can read the Constitution right here.

(2)   Study and Know Your Unit History: Most units have an amazing history, especially the line units.  Do yourself a favor and do some internet searches about your unit.  Find out more about their traditions, the battles they participated in, the famous leaders and the Medal of Honor recipients.  Learn everything you can about the Unit/Regimental Colors, the motto, the unit crest, etc.  Become an expert on your unit and be part of the proud of tradition.  At a minimum, know your unit’s and your next higher unit’s history.  Once you study your unit’s history, you should feel a great sense of pride and honor to be part of that tradition.  It wouldn’t hurt to study some of the U.S. Army’s history either. Read about the history of the U.S. Army.

(3)   Read Books About Famous Military Leaders: There are so many famous military leaders, U.S. and foreign.  You should make it a point to study history.  Learn what these successful men and women Soldiers did in their military careers and study their lives.  Study the founding fathers, Napoleon, Patton, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Colin Powell, Pershing, and other great leaders.  You can study someone’s entire life in a three to six hour book.  That is pretty amazing when you think about it.  What took them a life to learn you can learn in three to six hours.  At a minimum, try to read a book about a famous Soldier every 90 days.  It will be time well spent.

(4)   Find Someone Outside of Your Chain of Command As Your Mentor: You need a mentor.  Whether you are a superstar or average performer, you need the mentorship of someone who has gone before you and achieved success.  Few people have adequate mentorship within their own chain of command, especially in the USAR and ARNG, so I suggest you look OUTSIDE of your organization and find someone who has achieved what you want to achieve in your career.  For example, if you want to retire as a Brigadier General, find a retired Brigadier General you admire and respect and ask them to be your mentor.  If they charge you, PAY THEM.  It is money well spent.  If they offer to mentor you for free, seize the opportunity.  Look for people in sister units or retirees.  If you look, you will find a good mentor.  As you progress through your career, you might switch mentors from time to time, or find ADDITIONAL mentors to teach you different things.   That’s quite normal.

(5)   Volunteer to Help Out Other Vets: Veterans have an important role in our society.  As a Soldier you are part of a proud brotherhood and sisterhood.  Consider volunteering in your local community to help out homeless veterans.  Or volunteer to spend time with WW2 Veterans in nursing homes.  Or join a Veteran’s Organization you are passionate about.  It doesn’t have to take much of your time. Even volunteering one hour a month will be beneficial.  You should also join the VFW, AMVETS, American Legion and/or other Veteran’s Organization that lobby for and support veterans.  When you volunteer and associate with other veterans, pick their brain.  Most of these old Soldiers have so much experience and wisdom that would benefit you.  Just ask them questions and listen.  

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, these are the five things that I think every Army leader should do, regardless of their rank.  The bottom line is that we all have the responsibility to serve, to improve and learn, and to give back.  Do these five things and you will be well on your way to having a great career and great life. What are your thoughts?

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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8 thoughts on “5 Things Every Army Leader Should Do”

  1. Every one of these listed tips is a MUST! Knowing your unit history is a great way to motivate your squad. Telling them about an important event in history or role the unit played in a victorious battle will instill pride in your soldiers and give them a legacy to live up to. Everyone wants to feel a part of something, and knowing and sharing your units history will bring your squad even closer.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with this whole post. The Constitution is very important reading. I believe it should be mandatory reading for every citizen of the United States. I am also in full agreement of reading your unit’s history. This will instill a pride and a touch to want your unit to run as well, if not better.

    Wow, you should send this post out to the top ranks of all the armed forces. It would be beneficial for all leaders. Great post!

  3. My absolute favorite part about this post is the first point – Read the Constitution. And basically, it is the job of the Army Soldier to uphold and protect our Constitution, there is a reason it was created in the first place. They are to protect all citizens of the United States from foreign AND domestic enemies.

    By fully understanding what the Constitution says, Soldiers are better equipped to fight, protect and defend his or her country as a whole. I find it really disappointing that there are people out there that take this step very lightly, do not consider our constitution and overlook parts of it, hoping things will work themselves out. This is not the case! Where has our country gone anyways?

    But to bring this back around, I personally would find it beneficial to require a Constitution course that all military officials must undergo before being sworn in – a full, in-depth course that introduces and tests the Soldier on their abilities to fully understand what this country was founded on and why we continue to (at least attempt to) uphold and protect this document.

  4. I would say it is my second…I take a lot of what I know from just watching and observing others. I learn what not to do by watching some of my peers and I learn a lot from watching senior Officers and NCOs. I think a lot of things I see couple with what I read and it just reinforces my learning and leadership style.

  5. Reading books can be the greatest source of influence as a young, or even seasoned, military Officer. The great thing about other people’s experience is that you learn what to do but also NOT WHAT to do… I have tried to establish my own “leadership style” and approach but it truthfully is just a melting pot of my understanding of these other leaders. Patton, for one, is one of my favorite historical leaders and I try to emulate him in a lot of ways…

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