Platoon Leader Initial Counseling Tips

Today, I want to educate you about the Platoon Leader Initial Counseling.  If you serve as a Company Commander, you will personally supervise two to five Platoon Leaders (in most cases).  One of your primary jobs is to develop these Platoon Leaders into future Army Leaders.  You can do that through counseling, Officer Professional Development, job shadowing, sending your Platoon Leaders to different schools and much more.

For the purpose of this article, I want to share some tips for doing your Platoon Leader Initial Counseling the right way.  Whenever you first take command, or when you get a new Platoon Leader assigned to your company, you have 30 days to counsel them in writing.  This is when you sit down with them one-on-one and discuss your:

  • Command Philosophy
  • Leadership Style
  • Expectations of Your Officers
  • Personal and Professional Standards
  • Unit Policies, Rules and Regulations
  • Career Planning

Your initial counseling should set the tone properly from day one.  It lets your Platoon Leader know that you care.  It lets them know what you expect of them.  It lets them know that you have a game-plan for them.  And it lets them know that you have your act together as their leader.

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  4. Military Police Platoon Leader in the 10th Mountain Division: My Experience
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Counseling your Platoon Leaders verbally is not enough.  You need to put everything in writing so you have a paper trail.  If you only do your counseling verbally, it’s as if it never happened.  And if you have problems with your Platoon Leader a few months down the road, you won’t have any supporting documents to support your claim that you did the initial counseling.  So position yourself for success and put it in writing.

When you conduct the counseling, here’s what should be included in the packet:

  • A Copy of Your Command Philosophy
  • A Copy of Your OER Support Form
  • A Copy of the Unit Goals
  • A Copy of Your Bio So They Can Learn More About You
  • A Copy of the Unit History
  • A Junior Officer Development Support Form
  • A Working Copy of an OER

You should cover their job description and basic responsibilities.  And you should collect information from them such as:

  • A List of their Personal and Professional Goals
  • Their Most Recent OERs, if applicable
  • A Copy of Their Bio
  • A Copy of Their APFT and Weapons Qual
  • A Copy of their 2-1 and DA Photo

You should compile all of this information and finish their counseling packet.  This is the packet that you will keep with you under lock and key at all times.  It gives you immediate access to any information you might need.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as a perfect Platoon Leader Initial Counseling.  But if you follow the advice I mentioned above and do your best, you will be good to go.

Please know that I’ve put together a sample Platoon Leader Initial Counseling packet.  This would benefit any new Company Commander who needs to counsel their platoon leaders.  You can purchase this packet for $10 and have it emailed to you instantly after your payment is process.  Click on the buy now button to get it.

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5 thoughts on “Platoon Leader Initial Counseling Tips”

  1. I think the best tip in this post was getting things in writing, which protects both parties if an issue ever comes up.

    That way nothing can be misunderstood through a verbal conversation as far as expectations.

  2. Great tips for COs, Chuck. I have seen this with some CPTs, but not all. I think this helps set your LTs up for success. Let’s face it, they show up and do not have a clue as to what is going on, that they owe YOU a Support OER, etc. I sure wish my CDR would have done this with us when I first got Commissioned…

    1. I agree with Justin. I have never had an actual counseling. In any case, I am glad to have this information because it won’t be too long in the future before I will be doing this for my LTs. I just did one for a cadet I got assigned to my platoon.

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