This post will cover the most common Army Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities. We will also provide a sample Platoon Leader job description.
Serving as a Platoon leader is one of the best jobs in the Army. I’m not sure of anywhere else in the world, where someone in their early 20’s, right out of college, has the opportunity to supervise 20 to 50 people and be responsible for equipment valued at millions of dollars.
It is a fun job. It is a challenging job. It is a developmental job. Platoon leaders have a lot to learn. After all, in most cases, they don’t have any real-world leadership experience, or life experience.
You will learn so much about yourself during your time as a Platoon leader. You will develop your people skills, learn Army tactics, learn how to lead others, how to handle discipline issues, conflict management, how a platoon operates within a company, how the Army functions, and hundreds of other things.
If you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve as a Platoon Leader, consider yourself lucky. Don’t take your position for granted. Learn everything you can, keep an open mind, and work closely with your Platoon Sergeant. What you will learn as a Platoon Leader will ultimately shape your leadership style and your military career.
Top 10 Army Platoon Leader Duties and Responsibilities
With that being said, here are the most common Army Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities.
# 1 Mission Accomplishment
The first and most important mission of an Army Platoon Leader is to accomplish the mission. Whatever their mission might be, they need to make sure it gets done on time and to standard. This includes any tasks they are personally assigned to complete AND any tasks their platoon is tasked with.
My Advice: Put the mission first and get the job done. No excuses!
# 2 Take Care of their Soldiers
The second thing Army Platoon Leaders are responsible for is taking care of their soldiers. This is their second most important task, right behind accomplishing the mission. Platoon Leaders are responsible for the health, morale and welfare of their soldiers. While the Platoon Sergeant will be actively involved with many of these things, it’s ultimately the Platoon Leader’s responsibility.
My Advice: You are NOT your soldiers’ friend. You are their leader. You don’t need to be buddy-buddy. You shouldn’t be buddy-buddy. Just make sure your soldiers are taken care of and they will take care of you.
# 3 Tactician
A good Platoon Leader is worth their 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 in the platoon, you are the senior person and you have to be tactically proficient.
My Advice: Study Army tactics whenever you can and do everything you can to be technically and tactically proficient.
# 4 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.
My Advice: Make sure your soldiers are mentally and physically prepared to do their wartime mission. It’s your job to make sure your soldiers are trained so they can fight, win, and return home safely.
# 5 Enforcing Standards
There is only one standard in the Army, the Army standard. As a commissioned officer, your job is to enforce the Army standards to everyone under your authority. When you see something wrong, fix it. Address the issue immediately.
My Advice: Lead by example at all times and inspire people to do the right thing, by following your own personal example.
# 6 Leader Development
One of the important Army Platoon Leader duties includes soldier and leader development. It’s your job to help grow and develop future Army leaders. You need to ensure your people are mentored and developed properly, so they are prepared for increased responsibility in the Army. You do this through coaching, training, counseling, and one-on-one mentorship. You also need to ensure your soldiers get the required NCOES and professional development schools they need.
My Advice: Work closely with your Platoon Sergeant to ensure each soldier in your platoon is being mentored and developed for positions of increased responsibility. You don’t have to do it all yourself, but you do need to make sure it gets done.
# 7 Property Accountability
Most Platoon Leaders are responsible for $1 million or more worth of equipment, and sometimes much more than that. 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 conduct inventories, reconcile inventory reports, do inspections, and are held accountable for missing and damaged equipment.
My Advice: Educate yourself about Army inventories. Talk with the Supply Sergeant and Property Book Officer. Never sign for anything unless you have physically touched it and inspected it.
# 8 Unit 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, on an ongoing basis. The platoon leader oversees the platoon’s maintenance program.
My Advice: Educate yourself about maintenance. Develop a good relationship with the Battalion Maintenance Officer and Shop Officer.
# 9 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 work closely with their Platoon Sergeant to 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.
My Advice: Keep your leader’s book updated and know the status and issues of all of your soldiers on an individual basis.
# 9 Administration
As a Platoon Leader, you will handle lots of paperwork. It isn’t fun, but it’s an important part of the job. You will type up reports, operational orders, awards, evaluation reports, disciplinary items, awards, and countless other things. Handle your paperwork promptly. Do it right the first time. Be organized and never keep one of your subordinates waiting on you for a signature.
My Advice: Pay attention to the details. Verify everything you sign. Be prompt and punctual with paperwork.
# 10 Mission Planning
One of the biggest responsibilities of the Platoon Leader is to conduct mission planning. Whenever given a mission order from their higher headquarters, Platoon Leaders conduct mission analysis and use the Troop Leading Procedures to come up with a game-plan for their platoon.
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 missions.
My Advice: Put serious time and effort into coming up with solid mission plans for your platoon. No plan will ever be perfect. Utilize the 1/3-2/3 rule whenever possible, to give your subordinates enough time to execute the plan.
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
- Military Police Platoon Leader in the 10th Mountain Division: My Experience
- Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader in the 116th Infantry Regiment: My Experience
- Army Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Platoon Leader: My Story
- Distribution Platoon Leader: Interviews with Real Soldiers
- 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.
Simply put, serving as a Platoon Leader is a great job. You will learn so much about yourself, your strengths, your natural talents and abilities, and your own military leadership style.
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.
What are your thoughts? What do you think are the most important Army Platoon Leader duties and responsibilities? Leave a comment below and let us know. I look forward to hearing from you.