If you are a Platoon Leader, I’d like to share a few tips with you concerning your Platoon Leader OER. In most cases, you won’t have any rated time until you complete BOLC. At that point, you will start working with your platoon and be eligible to receive a Platoon Leader OER at the end of your rating period.
If you’re like most new Lieutenants, you don’t really know what to do or what to expect when it comes to your evaluation report. Therefore, I’m going to give you some pointers so you can have an accurate and good OER. Let’s get started.
Tip # 1 Keep a Journal
The most important thing you can do is keep a journal of everything you do at work. After every drill weekend, or at a minimum of once a month sit down for an hour and write down your major accomplishments for the month. Write down every large and small task that you or your platoon accomplished. Track numbers, statistics and anything you can quantify. Focus on areas such as APFT, weapons qualification, unit readiness, individual and collective training, etc. Do this every single month throughout the rating period.
Tip # 2 Get Feedback from Your Boss
Obviously, your boss is supposed to counsel you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. In either case, it is your responsibility to get feedback from your boss. Let your boss know that you are eager to learn and want to pick their brain whenever possible. Ask them if you can sit down for 30 minutes each month to review your progress and get your questions answered. If your boss is worth their grain in salt, they will do this with you. If you can’t get them to sit down, see if they will do a call or email with you to review your progress. You want to do this each month (minimum each quarter) so you can figure out where you stand with your boss. That way, if there is a problem you can fix it before it becomes a big deal.
Tip # 3 Write a Solid, Accurate OER Support Form
Since you kept a journal during your rating period, you can now write an accurate Platoon Leader OER Support Form. Take 6-8 hours and give it your best. Take all your information from your journal and organize it on your support form. Write your support form so it flows well on your Platoon Leader OER. That way your boss can copy and paste it into your Platoon Leader OER if they want to. This saves them time and makes their job easier. Most bosses will copy and paste your OER Support Form onto your OER if you did a good job writing it.
Tip # 4 Check Your OER for Errors
When you get your Platoon Leader OER for review, check it for errors. Review it closely. Take your time. Look for typos and any inaccurate information. If there is something odd or bad in your OER ask your boss if you can talk about it. Or, if there is an error you can get it fixed. Do this before you sign it. I cannot stress this enough: take your time!
At the end of the day, these tips will help you be proactive so you can manage your own career effectively. If you follow these four steps you will be well above your peers and there’s a good chance that you will get a better, more accurate Platoon Leader OER. I hope that helps.
I would love to hear any tips you might have. Also, I will attempt to answer any questions you may have. Just leave a comment to share your thoughts!
Former Army Major (resigned)
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5 thoughts on “Platoon Leader OER: Tips for New Platoon Leaders Concerning Their OER”
I especially like your advice to keep a journal. This not only documents your accomplishments, but also will give you feedback on how effectively you are spending your time, or what you might need to work harder at. It will also let your superior know that you care about managing your career.
Also, I like your advice to seek feedback from your superior. Not only will you hopefully get some constructive criticism, and perhaps some praise, but you will again be letting your supervisor know that you are being proactive about managing your career.
For anyone who doesn’t know, an OER is an Officer Evaluation Report. Imagine if everyone, civilian and military kept a work journal of facts, statistics, experiences, accomplishments, failures and observations on the job. Regular writing such as this lends to reflection when reread and is great for filing any kind of required report whether accurate Platoon Leader OER Support Form or other. I don’t feel quite qualified to give tips, but I do understand the importance of journaling which is what the school system calls it … all done for the same types of reasons that the Army may suggest the use of it.
Feedback from a boss, regardless of your job, is a great way to pinpoint any potential failings that may prevent future promotions. Keeping a journal of your accomplishments is also something you should always do regardless of your career path. Bosses and subordinates are focused on their careers so it is hard to imagine anyone else keeping track of your successes. Record them yourself and bring these accomplishments to the attention of your boss at evaluation time.
I keep a “journal” in the back of my Leader’ Book. Every quarter when I conduct my quarterly NCO counselings, I also take the time to write down my accomplishments over the past 3 months. Soldiers are on our highest priority, but take some time to take care of yourself as well.
Good for you Justin. It’s wise to keep track of our own accomplishments. If we don’t write down what we accomplish every month or every quarter, it’s really difficult to remember everything at the end of the rating period.