When you study the most successful people in life, you will quickly discover that they are students of their profession. They do everything they can do to get a cutting edge over their peers. They subscribe to publications and magazines, they join trade associations, they network with other successful people, they read books, they attend seminars, etc. Successful Army leaders do the same thing. They are students of their profession.
How exactly can you be a student of your profession? Here are a few of my best tips:
# 1 Read More
Leaders are readers. You should make it a point to read at least one book each month about your MOS, your career field, the military or even subjects such as leadership, communication and conflict resolution. One book a month would be the bare bones minimum. One book a week would be my suggested dose if you are really serious about your Army career. Even if you don’t like to read, I consider this step vital.
# 2 Subscribe to Publications
Every MOS has publications. There is an Infantry Publication, a Quartermaster Publication, etc. Find out what professional publications interest you the most and subscribe to them. Even if there is a small subscription fee, it is worth it. You will learn about what is going on in your “trade” and you will sharpen your skills. You will also learn about meetings, events, and influential people.
# 3 Join Associations
There are many associations in the Army. You should join the National Guard Association, Army Reserve Association, or Army Association. Most divisions and branches have their own association too. I would join the association for your MOS or branch, your division, and one for your service component. Joining all three will cost you about $100 per year (or less) and is a wise investment for your future. If possible, become active in your association and attend events, meetings, etc.
# 4 Attend Events & Seminars
Successful leaders attend seminars and training events every year. Make it a goal to attend at least one seminar each year. Study subjects such as leadership, communication and conflict resolution. Do what you can to sharpen your skills. Most seminars are affordable and are offered at convenient times, such as evenings or weekends. You should also attend your association events.
# 5 Network with Other Successful People
If you do the following four things mentioned above, you will meet plenty of people you can network with. Look for successful retirees or current people holding the rank you wish to attain. Get to know these people and ask them questions and career advice. Pick their brain and learn what you can from them. It will help you immensely.
These are just a few things that Army leaders can do to be a student of their profession. If you aren’t already doing these things in your own Army career, you are way behind the power curve. I highly recommend you be a student of your profession as quickly as possible. Get started and never stop! I’ve found that the most successful Army leaders do these five things on a regular basis. If it works for them, I know it will work for you too.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any other tips for being a student of your profession? Do you have any questions? Just post them below in the comment section.