In this article, I’d like to share some tips on the Army Squad Leader Initial Counseling.
As a Platoon Sergeant, you have a responsibility to conduct your initial counseling with your Squad Leaders within their first 30-days on the job. This is a formal counseling session that should be done one-on-one, in private, and in writing.
In your initial counseling you will tell your Squad Leader what you expect of them. This includes their job description, implied tasks, appointed duties, additional duties, performance expectations, professional conduct, and anything else you deem pertinent. You will also ask questions, address their concerns, and learn more about them on a personal level.
The purpose of your initial counseling is to prepare your Squad Leader for success in their new job. You owe it to them to make sure they understand what they are responsible for, that they know what to expect from you, and what resources are available to them. Keep in mind, if they succeed in their job, it helps you succeed in your job, so give it your best and do the counseling!
Since you’re a Platoon Sergeant, and this isn’t your first rodeo in the Army, you know the basics about counseling and should understand the process.
In my experience in the Army, and from my many veteran friends I’ve talked with, I’ve discovered that this initial counseling seldom gets done FORMALLY (or in writing). Yes, there might be a brief conversation between the Platoon Sergeant and the Squad Leader to cover performance expectations, followed by a few head nods, a handshake, and a “Yes, Sergeant!” but that’s about it. It’s rarely done in writing.
Not doing your initial counseling in writing is a recipe for failure. Don’t let this happen to you! When you do not put things in writing, the following things can happen:
- Confusion and misunderstanding
- You said vs. what they said
- No paper trail
- Nothing to refer to for future reference
You hope your working relationship goes well, but if things go sour, at least you will have things in writing, AKA “supporting documentation” that back your recommendations or evaluations.
Army Squad Leader Initial Counseling Tips
Here are some simple success tips for Platoon Sergeants about to do an initial counseling with one of their Squad Leaders.
Ideally, you want to do this as quickly as possible. In the Active-Duty Army, try to complete the counseling within their first 7 days in the unit. For the Guard and Reserve, conduct their initial counseling on their first or second drill weekend. Set a time and location where you can knock it out.
Give Them Your Respect
During the counseling, be a professional. Show them your respect right from day one. Let them know they have your trust and respect right out the gate, unless they give you a reason not to.
As I mentioned earlier, put everything in writing. You can fill out the forms after the counseling session, if you want to, but make sure you follow an agenda and have a game plan for the counseling session. I like to gather the supporting documents ahead of time, takes notes during the meeting, and then present the final documents for signature, within 24 to 48 hours after the session.
Ask a Lot of Questions
During the counseling session, ask a lot of questions. As the counselor, you should talk about 20 percent of the time and the Squad Leader can talk the remaining 80 percent of the time.
Find Out What Motivates Them
Figure out what makes them tick, what they’re passionate about, and what their leadership style is. Knowing this information will help you lead them more effectively.
Let Them Make Their Own Assessment of the Squad
This is a big one. Don’t tell them your thoughts on the squad members. You don’t want them to have pre-conceived notions going into the job. Let them grab the bull by the horns and make their own unbiased assessment.
Give Them a Learning Curve
Let them know that you expect them to make some mistakes, especially their first 30-days in the job. Give them a learning curve.
Give Them Confidence
Finally, give them confidence. Tell them you believe in them and that you believe they will be successful in the job. This will help boost their morale and confidence.
Sample Army Squad Leader Initial Counseling Packet
If you’re in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve and are looking for an example Army Squad Leader Initial Counseling packet, this information is for you. I’ve put together a number of resources to help you, the Platoon Sergeant, successfully conduct your initial counseling with your Squad Leader.
Here’s what is included in this Army Squad Leader Initial Counseling Packet:
- 22 minute video covering everything you need to know to have a successful initial counseling session.
- Example completed DA Form 4856.
- Example Counseling Form, completed.
- Recommended Reading list to give to your subordinate.
- Example Interview Questions.
- List of Items needed for your counseling packet.
- Example agenda for the counseling session.
This information should give you a 95% solution to what you will need to have a successful counseling session. All you need to do is complete your Support Form and follow the instructions in this packet.
Items are delivered by email, and can be downloaded immediately after payment is received. All products come with a 30 day money back guarantee. Order it here.
In conclusion, it is your job as the Platoon Sergeant to prepare your Squad Leaders for success. If you help them succeed, it will help you succeed. The best way to get them off to a good start in their job is to do your initial counseling with them. If you follow the advice covered in this article, there is no doubt in my mind you will make it work.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.
- Squad Leader Duties & Responsibilities
- How to Fast Track Your Military Career
- How to Set Goals in the Military
- Drill Weekend Guide
Former Army Major (resigned)
- Drop the Belly Fat Today! Decrease cravings. Lose weight and feel great. Learn how.
- The # 1 Health Product you need, but haven't heard of before! Get the info.
- My Favorite Cup of Coffee. You've got to try this SMART COFFEE. Learn more.
- The # 1 Home Business for 2024 & Beyond! Daily Pay. Take the free tour.
- Get Paid to Shop Online. It's 100% free forever. Earn $30 per referral. Learn more.