The Company Commander / First Sergeant relationship is vital to the success of the entire unit.
Without a strong command team relationship, built upon trust, respect, loyalty and two-way communication, the command team will struggle to lead effectively.
When a Company Commander and First Sergeant work well together, their unit is like a well oiled machine.
Things run smoothly, and morale is high.
On the contrary, when the command team relationship doesn’t work properly it negatively affects the entire unit.
In my opinion, there are four major reasons the command team relationship has struggles.
They include: undefined roles, weak leadership, micro-management and personality differences.
We will cover them in more detail below.
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Undefined Roles: From day one, I told my First Sergeant to stay in his lane and that I would stay in mine.
More importantly, we sat down together and determined what his responsibilities were and what mine were.
This made life that much easier for both of us.
For instance, my responsibilities were mission planning, collective training and leader development.
The First Sergeant handled individual training, Soldier issues, and administration.
From time-to-time, we occasionally drifted, but kept each other in check.
This helped our command team relationship work well.
Whenever an issue came up, we knew which one of us had to deal with it.
Weak Leadership: If either the First Sergeant or Company Commander is weak, or unwilling to do their job (such as enforce the standards), the command team relationship will struggle.
Both the First Sergeant and the Company Commander need to be strong leaders.
They must be willing to make tough decisions and do on-the-spot corrections.
There’s nothing worse than seeing a First Sergeant or Company Commander walk by a problem without correcting it.
As a leader, your job isn’t to be popular or be liked.
Your job is to lead others.
Sometimes you will have to fire people, hurt people’s feelings and ask people to do something they don’t want to do.
That’s what leadership is all about.
If you aren’t up for that task, you might want to choose a different profession.
Micro-Managing: You see it all the time in the military and in the corporate world.
I hate it.
Micro-management is when you try to do someone’s job for them.
Either you think you can do it better or you do not trust that person’s capabilities.
Either way, micro-management is poor leadership.
If you truly think someone is incompetent, replace them with someone else.
Form a strong command team relationship, determine your responsibilities and there won’t be a need to micromanage.
Personality Differences: I call this the clash of the type “A” personalities.
Sometimes, a Commander and First Sergeant simply can’t get along.
Maybe they have similar personalities.
Or, maybe they just have different beliefs about how things should be done.
Either way, this needs to be remedied fast.
Key leaders must set aside their personality differences to make the command team relationship work.
If you and your counterpart see things differently, find a common ground.
Personally, I think it’s good to have people working together who are opposites.
That way you can feed off each other’s strengths.
These are the four major reasons (as I see it) that some command team relationships don’t work.
Throughout my fifteen years of service, I’ve seldom seen a command team that didn’t work well together.
Most of the time, the Company Commander and First Sergeant put their personal differences aside for the greater good of their unit.
That’s what’s supposed to happen.
In cases where that didn’t happen, one or both of them were relieved.
Now, I don’t want that to happen to you.
If you have a great command team relationship, keep moving forward.
Keep improving it.
You can always get better.
But, if you are struggling with your First Sergeant or Company Commander, the two of you need to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk.
Find out what is causing the problem and find a way to remedy it.
Be open and honest with each other and remember that you are a TEAM.
If you truly can’t work things out, consider talking with the Command Sergeant Major, Battalion Executive Officer or Battalion Commander.
Do whatever you need to do to ensure your command team relationship succeeds.
Your Soldiers deserve good leadership!
Do you have any comments or suggestions?
Please post them below.