Army Team Leader Initial Counseling Advice and Tips

If you’re reading this post, I’m sure you are looking for advice on how to conduct an Initial Counseling with your Army Team Leaders.  If so, I can offer you a few pointers.

As a Squad Leader you have a responsibility to counsel your Team Leaders in WRITING.  A verbal counseling is better than nothing, but it still isn’t good enough.

When you first assume the duties as a Squad Leader, you should schedule the time to sit down with your Team Leaders one-on-one and tell them your expectations, leadership style, how you operate, and what their duties and responsibilities are.  Also, whenever you get a new Team Leader, you should do an initial counseling with them within their first 30 days in the job.  The sooner the better.

Here are a few tips I can offer for counseling your Team Leaders:

1.  Be prepared – You can’t wing a counseling session and expect it to go well.  At least one week prior to the session, get all your paperwork in order.  Draft up an agenda.  Schedule a time and location where you will meet.  Rehearse the counseling ahead of time if possible.

2. Sit down face-to-face – Ideally, you want to meet face to face.  That really is the best way to do an initial counseling.  If you are in separate locations, do what you can to link up and do the counseling in person.  If that isn’t possible, consider SKYPE.  At least that way you can look at each other while you talk.

3. Put everything in writing – Make sure that everything is in writing.  This lets your Team Leader know that you are serious and it creates a paper trail for you.

4. Talk about how you operate – During the counseling, talk about your leadership style, your personality, what pisses you off, how you like to conduct business, etc.  Don’t make your Team Leader try to figure out all of these things on their own.

5. Talk about communication methods – Let your Team Leader know how you want to communicate with them.  Tell them whether you prefer face to face, phone, email, etc.  Let them know what dictates an emergency, how often they should check in with you, etc.

6. Go over their job in detail – Go over your job and their job in detail.  Make sure they know what they are responsible for. Remember that most Team Leader are inexperienced NCOs.  This might be their first job as a NCO.  Have all of their duties written out.

7. Explain on and off duty expectations – Make sure they know what your expectations for them are, both on and off duty.  Cover staying in shape, drinking, drugs, appearance, financial obligations, etc.

8. Find out what you can about them – Get to know them a bit on a personal level.  Find out what their goals are, what makes them tick, what motivates them, what they want out of their career, etc.  Make a list of questions ahead of time that you can ask them to get to know them better.

9. Prepare them for success – You want to prepare your Team Leader for success.  Remember that your subordinates will ultimately determine whether or not you are successful.  Make sure they know what resources are available to them, tips for success, etc.

10. Show them that you care – This one might sound crazy, but don’t be a jerk!  Your Team Leader already knows you are the boss and there’s a good chance they want to impress you and help you anyway.  Treat them with respect.  Be a professional.  Be sincere. Don’t come across as a dictator, or you know what.

Once again, these are just a few tips to have a successful initial counseling with your Army Team Leaders.

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If you would like immediate access to a sample initial counseling packet I created for Army Team Leaders, you can buy it for just $10.  For the amount of time this will save you (the Squad Leader) preparing for the counseling session, this is a very small investment.  Secure payment through PayPal.  Instant email delivery.  Check out this link to see what is included.  Just $20.

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5 thoughts on “Army Team Leader Initial Counseling Advice and Tips”

  1. This is good advice for any new leader. It is important to sit down and have a face-to-face with those reporting directly to you. Set expectations up front, and put things in writing. This makes your expectations clear, and lets your team know that you are serious about your responsibilities, and that you care. I also like the advice about getting to know your direct reports on a personal level.

  2. The best boss and supervisors I’ve ever had did exactly what you listed here. Whether they knew it or not, being direct, up front, keeping an open mind and sincerely leaving the door open for questions or direction has given me the confidence to do my job, take the initiative, work independently and bend over backwards for them because I want them to look good.

  3. Again I see that great Boy Scout motto….Be Prepared. In any type of leadership position, one of the most important things is preparation. By being prepared, the leaders below you will take notice and will learn to follow the same example. If you are not a writer, now is the time to learn. Writing is a huge part of the position. No one likes paperwork, but it is a part of the job. Learn to write!

  4. Great advice Chuck!

    If you want success, following this advice is very important. I do think I would put it in slightly a different order. I would start off the meeting with finding out all you can about the team leader. As that is going on, I would explain my expectations and communication methods.

    You probably didn’t put these here to follow the order. It is just wise to follow all these steps.

    The counseling packet that Chuck offers here is a great resource, and very reasonable at only $10. If I were in the position, I would save myself time and stress, and would pull out my card and spend the 10 dollars.

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