Platoon Leader Duties and Job Description

Before we start talking too much about what the Platoon Leader duties, responsibilities and job description are, let me start by telling you that serving as a Platoon Leader is an awesome job.

In fact, serving as a Platoon leader is a fun, rewarding, challenging and exciting job.

Most people coming right out of college will not get the same level of responsibility or authority, as does a new Army Platoon Leader.

Where else can a 21-23 year old be in charge of nearly 50 people and several million dollars worth of equipment in their first job?

That seldom, if ever, happens in the civilian world.

As I see it, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that few people get to experience.

So, what are a Platoon Leader’s duties and responsibilities?

After serving as a Platoon Leaders twice myself, I have a pretty good idea of what is expected of a Platoon Leader.

Here are a few things that come to mind:platoon leader

1. Manager: A Platoon Leader is a manager and leader.

They manage tasks and lead people.

They must get things done through other people.

Most Platoon Leaders supervise between 20-50 Soldiers.

They get assigned a task, develop their own game plan, and delegate the work to their team members.

Finally, they spot check to make sure the work gets done on time, and to standard.

The top thing to remember is that leaders are in the people business.

2. Tactician: A good Platoon Leader is worth his/her weight in gold in the field if they are technically and tactically proficient.

In fact, officers make their money in the field.

They plan and supervise tactical operations, FTXs, Battle Drills and much more.

Any officer can survive in a garrison environment, but it takes an exceptional Platoon Leader to thrive in the field or in combat.

As a Platoon Leader your job is to maneuver your Soldiers in combat to get the mission done.

Even though you definitely aren’t the most experienced person on the team, you are the senior person and you have to make the tough decisions.

3. Training: Platoon Leaders plan, resource, execute and assess training at the platoon level.

They write operation orders, request training resources, conduct mission briefs and assess training.

They also prepare risk assessments and do After-Action-Reviews (AARs) with their Soldiers and with their supervisor, the Company Commander.

The Platoon Sergeant focuses on individual training and the Platoon Leader focuses on collective training.

I like to think of the officer as future operations and the NCOs as current operations.

4. Morale: Platoon Leaders are responsible for the morale in their platoons.

They set the tone for their platoon.

Their leadership style, level of competence and attitude directly determine whether morale is good or bad.

They are supposed to recognize good Soldiers with awards and praise and to punish poor performing Soldiers.

They do this by enforcing the Army standards equally and by leading by example at all times.

A good Platoon Leader shows a genuine interest in the people that they lead.

When they show that they care, their Soldiers will go the extra mile for them.

5. Discipline: Platoon Leaders work with their Platoon Sergeant to enforce the Army standards.

They do not have command authority to administer the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), but they do make recommendations to the Company Commander.

More importantly, Platoon Leaders administer corrective actions to remedy poor performance.

This includes corrective training and formal or informal counseling.

In most cases, the NCOs handle most of the discipline issues within the platoon, unless it is something brought to the Platoon Leader’s attention.

6. Property Accountability: Most Platoon Leaders are responsible for $1 million or more worth of equipment, and sometimes much more.

This includes vehicles, sensitive items, radios and office equipment.

They typically “sign” for this equipment and must maintain accountability for it at all times.

This means they also conduct inventories, reconcile inventory reports and are held accountable for missing and damaged equipment.

7. Maintenance: Platoon Leaders are responsible for the operational readiness of their platoon’s equipment.

They must adequately maintain their equipment to ensure it is ready to deploy at moment’s notice.

This includes PMCS, scheduled maintenance, unscheduled maintenance and services.

Maintenance must be done on vehicles, radio equipment, weapons, and much more.

8. Soldier Readiness: Platoon Leaders must ensure their Soldiers are ready to deploy at moment’s notice.

This includes physical fitness, medical readiness, weapons qualification, profiles, etc.

Platoon Leaders manage their Soldiers on an individual basis and know the strengths, weaknesses and shortcomings of each Soldier.

They must ensure their Soldiers are physically and mentally prepared for combat.

9. Soldier Development: The Platoon Leader works with the Platoon Sergeant to develop their subordinate Non Commissioned Officers and Soldiers.

The Platoon Leader gives classes and oversees the NCO Professional Development (NCOPD) with their Platoon Sergeant.

They also oversee the Sergeant’s Time program, conduct one on one counseling, give classes and send their Soldiers to different military and civilian schools.

While they aren’t normally the ones mentoring their Soldiers, they make sure that it gets done.

1o. Mission Planning: One of the biggest responsibilities of the Platoon Leader is to conduct mission planning.

Whenever given a mission from their higher headquarters, it’s their job to conduct mission analysis and use the Troop Leading Procedures to come up with their own game plan.

They take their game plan and finalize it in an Operations Order, which they then disseminate to their platoon.

This is a LARGE part of their job, planning for upcoming mission.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

  1. Military Police Platoon Leader in the 10th Mountain Division: My Experience
  2. Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader in the 116th Infantry Regiment: My Experience
  3. Army Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Platoon Leader: My Story
  4. Distribution Platoon Leader: Interviews with Real Soldiers
  5. My Typical Weekend as a Platoon Leader

Sample Platoon Leader Job Description

Here is a sample Platoon Leader Job Description, from one of my old OERs:

Serves as the Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Platoon Leader in a Direct Support (DS) Maintenance Company assigned to a Forward Support Battalion part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized).

Responsible for providing DS repair for Land Combat Systems, Electronic Maintenance Systems and Engineer Support Systems.

Responsible for the health, welfare, morale and training for 60 Soldiers.

Also responsible for MTOE equipment valued in excess of $6 million.

Additional duty areas are AER Officer and Supply Officer.

Final Thoughts

This is not a complete, ends-all list for the Platoon Leader Duties and Job Description, but this gives you a fairly good idea about what to expect as a new Army Platoon Leader.

Simply put, serving as a Platoon Leader is a great job.

You will learn so much about yourself, your strengths, your level of competence, and your own military leadership style.

It is the best company grade officer developmental job in the Army.

If you would like to read about my own Platoon Leader experience, read my post about my Ground Support Equipment Platoon Leader experience or my Supply Support Activity Platoon Leader experience.

I think you will enjoy these two posts.

I also developed an eBook that is helpful for Platoon Leaders.

You can find it here.

What are your thoughts?

What do you think are the most important Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities?

Leave a comment below and let us know.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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56 thoughts on “Platoon Leader Duties and Job Description”

  1. Pingback: Job Description Team Leader | HOW TO BE
  2. Hi Chuck, I wanna say one thing that your website is very informative and helpful. It helps me and many other people out there. I am going to join army from next year so can you tell me which are the requirements for platoon leader.

  3. I have an enormous respect for solid platoon leaders, and those who have been solid platoon leaders learn skills that will enable them to lead any group, anywhere.

    I agree with the above comment by Candace Ginestar. In the service, you get pushed to reach your potential quicker.

  4. Great post. I always thought of Platoon Leaders as mostly managers but also in the training, morale, and discipline fields. I knew there was more to it but didn’t really think that through. I think the most surprising one, or job I least expected a Platoon Leader to do is to be a tactician. It makes sense, though, and all the Platoon Leaders I’ve known have been very good at this, also. I definitely personally feel like Platoon Leaders are the people persons of the Platoon– the ones who work closest with the soldiers and have the opportunity to know them the best so that they can help them the best.

  5. Pingback: Army Platoon Size | Citizen Soldier Resource Center
  6. A Platoon Leader is a manager and a leader. These can be two very different things. Managing falls more into the keeping your platoon up to date on training, managing the equipment and maintaining readiness. Being a leader can be more leading your platoon in the field, leading and working with your NCO's and developing your soldiers for the next step in their career.

  7. This was very helpful I’m trying to get a platoon leader position for my JROTC class currently I’m a sergeant and I want to become high and I believed a platoon leader was a good way to go up that is because I’m only going to be a let 2 and I don’t think I’m ready for anything higher. Maybe next year ill apply for a higher position but this was very helpful thank you!!!!

  8. Well, let me tell you, I am totally loving my PL time, leadership challenges! I got them, NCOs trying to push me in a corner! I got that too, but what they got is the horns on this bull, cause “homie don’t play dat”. I definitely feel honored and blessed, along with the challenges comes awesomeness! Accomplishing missions, handling the daily taskings and last minute “hey you”! and still coming out on top is awesome, re-enlisting Soldiers is Awesome! Turning wrenches with Soldiers is Awesome! Leading the Largest platoon in my BN IS AWESOME! But being able to admit your weaknesses is humbling, but knowing that your soldiers see your effort and your will to win with honor motivates them to do the same…and that IS AWESOME!

    1. I think 12 to 24 months is completely acceptable. I think it’s also good to look around at other jobs you might be interested and try to figure out when the person in that job will be leaving that job. That way you can position yourself for success. Just my two cents.

  9. I just graduated from the military academy as a platoon leader I’m now better informed on my job description and responsibilities.

  10. Have been appointed platoon leader by my training officer at the police academy. My responsibilities are to 4 squads of 10 recruits and 4 squad leaders. I'm up for the challenge and enjoying the opportunity.

  11. I spent about two years as a Platoon Leader and I really enjoyed the job. I ended up leaving the Army as a young Captain and entered the civilian world. That was about 20 years ago. I’ve had a successful civilian career, but I’ve never had anywhere near the responsibility that I did when I was a Platoon Leader.

    1. Thanks for serving, Mike. I agree, most civilians don’t get anywhere near the experience that a Platoon Leader gets when it comes to leading others. I don’t know hardly anyone in the civilian world in charge of 50 or more people.

  12. I spent 18 months as a Platoon Leader and I have to tell you Chuck that these duties and responsibilities are spot on. When I first started my job it was very overwhelming. I never expected my first job out of college to be so demanding. Needless to say I learned a lot about myself and about other people.

  13. I think being a Platoon Leader would be pretty awesome. I can’t imagine being that young and being in charge of 20 to 50 people. I think it would be tough and fun.

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  16. Can I please have your permission to use this information about for a school project? The project is in regards to the duties and responsibilities of a platoon leader or guide. Thank you

  17. This seems like a really long list of duties and responsibilities for someone who is so young. How do these recent college graduate Platoon Leaders deal with all this responsibility? In the corporate world, they wouldn’t get a job anywhere near as demanding as that right out of college.

    Martha

    1. Martha, The Military as a whole tends to push people past their supposed capabilities based on age. Young privates grow into effective leaders much sooner than their civilian peers, too. I think the reason it works is that it is a big team, nobody is doing it alone. A PL is responsible for these tasks noted above, but they learn to delegate and then ensure that the tasks are done to standard. A good leader should not be doing all of these things themselves, but should be supervising others and able to discern if things are getting done right.

  18. As a civilian, I am learning a lot about the various positions and responsibilities of different ranks and job titles. I am continually amazed at how many different duties and skills a leader in the military requires. It sounds like a Platoon Leader needs the right mix of brains and social skills to get stuff done, since their duties appear to be quite comprehensive.

    1. It does take a special person to be a good Platoon Leader. Anyone can be an average or marginal Platoon Leader, but like you said, it takes someone with great social skills, brains and a good work ethic to go above and beyond with the Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities.

      Thanks for the comment.
      Chuck

  19. Platoon Leaders sure have lots of responsibilities! I’ve been in the work force 20 years now. It took me almost 10 years to be placed in a position where I supervised five others. I couldn’t imagine being placed in charge of 30+ people in my first job. Talk about an awesome responsibility.

    1. Paulette,

      You are right, it is a challenging first job. But most Platoon Leaders handle it well. I’ve found that most people rise to the level of expectation that we place on them. Thanks for the comment.

      Chuck

    2. Paulette,

      Working as a Platoon Leader is a huge responsibility, but it’s also very fun. Leading others isn’t all that difficult, if you take the time to develop your own leadership skills and learn what makes others tick.

      Chuck

  20. Platoon leaders sure are responsible for a lot. I cannot imagine a civilian having that much responsibility at the same age. I guess that’s why the military does so well developing and grooming leaders.

    Hellen

    1. Thanks for the comment Hellen.

      Yes, Platoon Leaders do have a big responsibility. When I was a new Platoon Leader, I was a bit overwhelmed at everything I had to do. But as I got a little experience, I adapted fine. The leadership lessons I learned during my time as a Platoon Leader shaped me for the rest of my military and business career.

      Chuck

  21. Print a copy of this out and put it in your Leader’s Book! If anything, everytime you open it up you will be reminded what your job is. It is often nice to see, in writing, what is expected of you.

    1. I agree with you, Justin. All Platoon Leaders should have a copy of their counseling and job description in their Leader’s Book. Unfortunately, most Company Commanders never do this counseling with their Platoon Leader, so they never know what their job is or what is expected of them.

      Chuck

    2. That is an excellent idea Justin. Too often when we are in a position for a long period of time we can become complacent and forget what our first priorities are. I believe this happens often to platoon leaders.

      I agree, print it and put it in a location where you will see it often. Your Leader’s Book is probably the best. When you see it, read thru it again and be reminded.

      Very good job on this post Chuck!

  22. My brother is a Platoon Leader in the Marines. I never realized Platoon Leaders had so many responsibilities! My brother is always talking about everything he has to do, but after reading this post I have a true appreciation of what he is responsible for. Considering he is just 22 years old, this is no small feat.

    1. Francisca,

      Thanks for visiting my website. Your brother really does have an awesome responsibility. Most people his age would never get that type of responsibility in a civilian job. Being an Officer and new Platoon Leader makes you grow up fast. When you are responsible for so many people, you have to be mature and responsible.

      Chuck Holmes

  23. Thanks for sharing these Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities. I will start my tenure as a Platoon Leader next month. I’m assigned to a Maintenance Company and am looking forward to the opportunity to lead Soldiers.

    1. Augustina,

      Good luck as a new Platoon Leader. My best advice to you is to be gung-ho, but keep an open mind. Try to spend your first 1-2 months observing things, so you can see how things work. Don’t be too quick to change things. And whatever you do, work with your Platoon Sergeant and keep an open mind. You might be the one in charge, but they are the one running the show.

      Chuck

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