In today’s post, I’d like to educate you about the Platoon Sergeant initial counseling.
Most new Second Lieutenants are recent college graduates with no experience on how to do an Army Counseling the right way. They’re greener than green! As a result, most stumble through the counseling process with their Platoon Sergeant, or even worse, they don’t do it at all!
As a Platoon Leader, you owe it to your Platoon Sergeant to do their initial counseling with them in writing. You owe it to them to tell them what you expect of them, even if you don’t have much experience or know what you are doing yet.
I believe it’s better to do one counseling wrong than not do one at all. For the rest of this training, I will give you some tips on how to do the Platoon Sergeant Initial Counseling the right way.
The primary purpose of counseling is to improve performance and to professionally develop the rated Soldier. A quality counseling session does not dwell solely on the past; it focuses on the future and what can be done better. It is the responsibility of leaders and Soldiers to work together to ensure goals are set and understood, observations are shared, credit for successes are documented, and recommendations for improvement are acknowledged. ~ Ford Hood Sentinel
The Purpose of Your Initial Counseling
The Platoon Sergeant initial counseling will have a huge impact on your working relationship with your Platoon Sergeant. If you conduct the counseling like you are supposed to, and outline what you expect of them, there’s a good chance the two of you will work well together. Even if you don’t work well together, the Platoon Sergeant will still know your expectations of them.
I believe all supervisors owe it to their subordinates to do an initial (and ongoing) counseling with them. After all, don’t you want to know what your boss expects of you? I know I do.
When you first assume the responsibilities as a Platoon Leader, you must make it a top priority to schedule time to sit down with your Platoon Sergeant and conduct your Platoon Sergeant initial counseling. You must do this within 30 days of taking the job and preferably within the first week.
The purpose of the Platoon Sergeant initial counseling is to tell your Platoon Sergeant what you expect of them.
This includes performance expectations, professional expectations, and personal expectations for both on and off duty.
The reason you must conduct the Platoon Sergeant initial counseling is to set your Platoon Sergeant, yourself, and your platoon up for success, right from day one. You want them to know what right looks like and what will happen if they meet the standards or fail to meet the standards. Even if they already know how to do their job (which they probably do) they still need to hear it from you!
Tips for Success
Never wing it. Set aside a few hours to get your required documents in order. Make sure they are updated and accurate. If you are brand new to this, talk with your First Sergeant or the Company XO to get additional guidance or tips.
Schedule the Meeting
Don’t do an on-the-spot initial counseling session. Instead, you should schedule it. That way you both have time to mentally prepare. Plus, you can eliminate distractions and go somewhere quiet.
Have a Set Agenda
Come up with an agenda ahead of time so you know what you must cover and you can complete everything within one hour.
Start an End on Time
Keep the meeting to one hour or less. Start and end on time. Don’t turn it into a three hour marathon.
Put everything in writing. It helps to have the documents prepared BEFORE the meeting, but you don’t have to. You could also type up everything after the meeting and then have them sign it.
Do More Listening Than Talking
Do not monopolize the conversation. As the rater, you should talk about 20 percent of the time and let your Platoon Sergeant talk about 80 percent of the time. Get good at asking questions and listening.
Be Approachable, Yet Professional
Don’t be a jerk. Smile. Be nice and friendly. Watch your body language. Let hem know that your goal is to create a win-win relationship, with the success of the platoon being your top objective.
Do Your Best
Just do your best. It won’t be perfect. You’re a brand new Platoon Leader and you’ve never done this before. That’s okay. You learn by doing. Take it seriously, realize things won’t be perfect, and give it your best shot. Good enough is good enough!
Communication. Communicate about everything. The advice about sitting together is sound. As I got better, my PSG knew everything I was up to. What was my intent, what were my suspenses, where would I be if away from him, what I would want done if I had more time. The more I included my PSG (and SL’s), the better they were able to save me from myself. Fresh perspective, a re-evaluation of effective time-use, and a chance to explain my actions before the critics could deliver their versions of my actions to the platoon audience were all benefits I enjoyed. ~ CoCMD & PLT LDR via The Center of Junior Officers
Platoon Sergeant Initial Counseling Packet
If you’re in the Army National Guard or Army Reserve and are looking for an example Army Platoon Sergeant Initial Counseling packet, today is your lucky day. I’ve put together a number of resources to help you, the Platoon Leader, successfully conduct your initial counseling with your Platoon Sergeant.
Here’s what is included in this pack:
- 22 minute video covering everything you need to know to have a successful initial counseling session.
- Example filled out Platoon Sergeant NCO Support Form
- Memorandum of Counseling
- Example Platoon Leader OER Support Form
- Example Counseling Form, completed.
- Platoon Sergeant NCO Support Form, completed.
- Recommended Reading list to give to your subordinate.
- Example Interview Questions.
- List of Items needed for your counseling packet.
- Example agenda for the counseling session.
Items are delivered by email, and can be downloaded immediately after payment is received. All products come with a 30 day money back guarantee. These documents are PDF and MS Word documents, along with the video. Secure payment through PayPal. Instant download available 24/7. Satisfaction guaranteed. Purchase it now.
In conclusion, counseling is an important part of your job as an Army leader. You owe it to your Platoon Sergeant to counsel them in writing and share your objectives and expectations. You are responsible for their development, even though they have more military experience and life experience than you do.
If you don’t make the time to conduct your Platoon Sergeant initial counseling, you’re not doing your job. You have no excuses. Even if your Platoon Sergeant Initial Counseling doesn’t go perfectly, that’s okay. Good enough is good enough.
If you make the time to prepare and follow the advice listed above, you will get the job done. You will hit the gates running and start out right. As you gain more experience, you will improve your counseling skills.
Here’s one final thought. Don’t be intimidated that your Platoon Sergeant is older and more experienced than you are. They understand the rank structure. They know you are the supervisor. If anything, they will be impressed that you made the time to counsel them.
What are your thoughts? What tips did I leave out? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.