Five Tips for Platoon Sergeants Mentoring Their Platoon Leaders

If you are a Platoon Sergeant, consider yourself lucky. You have one of the best, and toughest jobs in the Army. What I admire most about Platoon Sergeants is that they have the opportunity and ability to mentor and develop new Platoon Leaders. In fact, your guidance and leadership has a SIGNIFICANT impact on our Army’s future leaders. Never forget that!

I’m sure it can be quite tough having a boss who is half your age and doesn’t know what he is doing! There are probably some days that you have to eat some humble pie. But don’t fret. One of your primary responsibilities is to DEVELOP your Platoon Leader. And if you are good at what you do, your PL won’t even know it’s happening.

In the paragraphs below, I want to give you a few tips on how to mentor your Platoon Leader the right way. Let’s get started.

1. Think from Their Perspective: The first thing you need to do is think of things from your Platoon Leader’s perspective. They are young, inexperienced and eager. Before you get frustrated or upset with them, please remember that. Before you pull your Platoon Leader aside and give them a “butt chewing” just remember what you were like when you had ZERO experience. When you do pull them aside, be polite and professional.

2. Be Battle Focused: One of the best things you can do is be “battle focused.” That means you need to think and act like a warrior at all times. You should be professional and battle oriented. That means that you provide tough and realistic training. Everything you do should be geared around your war-time mission.

3. Invest 1-on-1 Time: One of the best things you can do is get some 1-on-1 time with your new Platoon Leader. Have them over for dinner once in a while. Get to know their family. Go out to lunch with them. Hang out on the weekends together once in a while. Let them know that you want to have a great working relationship with them.

4. Form a Friendship: I think you should form a professional friendship with your Platoon Leader. Let me clarify by telling you that you don’t need to be buddy-buddy or on a first-name basis. But, you should be friends. My definition of friends are people who know, like and trust each other and can have an open, two-way communication about anything.

5. Do As Much Hands On Training As You Can: The best way to learn is to get hands on experience. Whenever possible, teach your Platoon Leader by showing them, not just by telling them. Let them participate in some of the training you do with your soldiers. Pull them aside when they don’t know how to do something and show them what right looks like.

As a special bonus tip, I would tell you to be patient. You might not see the results of your mentorship right away. I’m sure my Platoon Sergeants wanted to pull my hair out when they were mentoring me. In fact, their mentorship did not have an immediate impact with me. But in the years that followed, I became a great leader. Call me a late bloomer if you want. However, I wouldn’t be the leader I am today if it wasn’t for SSG Shen, SSG Drain and SFC Luna.

What are your thoughts on this subject? How is your Platoon Sergeant? Are you the Platoon Sergeant? Leave your comments or questions below.Thanks for visiting.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

Suggested Resources
Start a New Side Hustle & Get Healthy
Check Out My Online Store
Lose Weight Today!

6 thoughts on “Five Tips for Platoon Sergeants Mentoring Their Platoon Leaders”

  1. These are all very good tips. The platoon leader-platoon sergeant relationship is truly a unique one and requires quite a bit of work from both parties. Your suggestion of a professional friendship is one of the best as it becomes very difficult if there is no mutual respect between you, and it will show to the rest of the platoon no matter how hard you may try not to let it.

    1. Mutual respect is the starting point to a good relationship. Add in trust, honesty and working together and you have the ingredients for a win-win relationship, whether between a Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant or anyone else.

  2. These are great tips. Sometimes people think leadership is about getting people to do what you want, but it’s much more important to be a good mentor and to bring the best out of the people you’re leading. I want to have people remember me years later for the help I gave them, in the same way that you remember SSG Shen, SSG Drain and SFC Luna.

  3. The platoon leader-platoon sergeant relationship is an unusual one, and I’ve fascinated (or at least mildly interested) many civilians explaining the dynamic. Personally I was lucky as a platoon sergeant, as the lieutenants I had were all former enlisted soldiers with experience, one with active duty time. In my experience the good “typical” new lieutenant is the one who’s full of good ideas and enthusiastic about implementing them. All you have to do is rein in some of the more impractical ones, and they’ll do a heck of a job training the platoon. As a junior NCO I did know one of those stereotypical “knucklehead” lieutenants who did his share of not-very-smart things, but he turned into a pretty capable captain (and now major).

    1. The “early years” in the Army will shape the officer’s entire career. What you learn as a Platoon Leader, from your Soldiers, CO and 1SG, will ultimately shape your leadership style. Most NCOs do a great job mentoring their Platoon Leader and teach them what right looks like.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *