If you are a Company Commander, you must have a unit newsletter. Your unit newsletter helps you communicate effectively with your Soldiers and family members.
In my opinion, communication is a key attribute to leadership success in any organization. One of the biggest challenges for part-time Company Commanders is “information flow.” Because most of your Soldiers and key leaders are only at the armory a couple days each month, it’s challenging to keep everyone informed with the latest information. And as you are well aware, things are constantly changing.
And for some strange reason, it doesn’t matter how many times or how you disseminate information to your key leaders and Soldiers, there is always “someone” who doesn’t know what’s going on.
Newsletters contain two types of information – official and unofficial. Official
news relates to command and mission essential information that the commander
believes families should have to be better informed. This includes Army/Air installation
benefits, unit – sponsored activities, and resources, programs and services
available. Unofficial information is non-mission related information such as recipes,
coloring pages, birthdays, anniversaries and birth announcements etc…Newsletters are usually not the place to tackle tough issues; keep the content simple and to the point. The message is the important detail. ~ Media Defense
In some cases, these Soldiers were told, but forgot. But, most of the time the information flow gets distorted and doesn’t get disseminated properly. It’s very frustrating when you ask Soldiers questions and they don’t know what’s going on. Therefore, you need a solution to remedy this problem. The best way to do that is with a unit newsletter.
From your first day in command, you need to develop a unit newsletter. This allows you to keep everyone informed about what’s going on. Your key to success is to create a simple newsletter format and get input from your key leaders. More importantly, you need to get a good email address from everyone in your unit.
A unit newsletter is a viable solution to your unit’s communication problems. Instead of information getting distorted, everyone gets the same information at the same time, via your unit newsletter.
Your newsletter should mention upcoming training events and discuss last month’s training highlights. You should also recognize Soldier achievements. This includes re-enlistments, promotions, transfers, retirements and awards.
What worked for me during my time in Company Command was the following. Two weeks prior to drill, my Readiness NCO emailed myself, the 1SG, Supply Sergeant and other key leaders. Each key leader wrote a brief article about their respective section. Their article was typically 2-4 paragraphs.
When they were finished writing their articles, they emailed it back to the Readiness NCO. He copied and pasted the articles and consolidated it into our unit newsletter.
When the first draft of the unit newsletter was finished, the Readiness NCO would email me a copy for review. I would edit as needed and send the Readiness NCO back a “final” version of the unit newsletter. The Readiness NCO would then email the newsletter to our entire company one week prior to drill.
The purpose of a newsletter is to help families understand the unit’s mission and keep families informed of benefits and resources available. Newsletters promote family readiness and family camaraderie. ~ Media Defense
I found this to work effectively for our unit. There still isn’t a guarantee that your Soldiers will actually read the unit newsletter, but at least you can eliminate the excuse of them saying they didn’t get the information.
I will admit, there were a few months that our unit newsletter simply didn’t get done. But, overall it was a huge success. It helped me be a more effective leader, and it can do the same for you.
Does your unit have a newsletter? What do you think about this? Please leave your comments and questions below. Thank you.
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3 thoughts on “Army Unit Newsletter”
I never worked in a reserve unit that didn't have a unit newsletter. They are vital to the dissemination of information. Some members will not use the information, but the majority will.
We always had sections for the commander and all the key leaders to give out information, but the most important sections were the lists of appointments, immunizations and PT. These lists let the members and their supervisors know who needed to do what that weekend. It also let members know when classes were being offered, i.e. CPR.
A unit newsletter is a great idea to keep all aware of upcoming items. I would also suggest that you may want to give each one in your command an opportunity to write a short article for your newsletter. It could help inspire your soldiers and you may find one or two that will “step up” and help you with that newsletter. It always seems that when you put a group of humans together, there will be at leaset one writer in the crowd. Great idea and a great post.
I agree with you that newsletters are a powerful tool for Company Commanders. It’s a great way to share important information, recognize achievements and promote cohesiveness among the command. Communication is critical, and a good leader realizes that there is really no such thing as too much. Often time people need to read or hear something multiple times before it sticks. Writing a newsletter is a great way to share information.