What I want to do in today’s post is share some of my best Army Company XO Success Tips. These are some helpful tips and lessons I learned during my time as a Company XO. They are listed in no particular order.
# 1 Support Your Company Commander
Without a doubt, your most important job is to support the Company Commander. You don’t have to like them, respect them, or agree with them, but your primary job is to help them be successful and help the unit be successful. Put your ego aside and go the extra mile to help out your boss. Know what they are good at and where they need help and pick up the slack. Remember, you will be a Company Commander one day yourself and you will want your Company XO to support you! At the end of the day, your job is to make your boss look good.
# 2 Support Your Subordinates
Be a servant leader. The best approach you can have is act like YOU work for your subordinates. You work for the 1SG, command team, and staff. Do what you can to actively help them out. Be a team player. Ask your subordinates, what can I do to make your life easier and what can I do to help out? Don’t act better than anyone else. Be an encourager and supporter.
# 3 Know Your Role
Typically speaking, the role of the Company XO is to handle the supply, administration and maintenance within the unit. That being said, the best thing you can do is ask your boss what they see your job as and what they want you to focus on. Each unit is different and each commander is different. Have a heart to heart conversation with your boss as soon as possible. If they don’t give you much guidance, focus on supply, administration and maintenance until told otherwise. Remember, your job is current operations whereas your boss is focused on future operations.
# 4 Don’t Expect Recognition or Glory
As the Company XO, you might not get much glory or recognition. Do a great job anyway! Just know in the back of your mind that you are making a big difference in your unit. Yes, your boss will probably get most of the credit, but do a good job anyway! One day you will be a Company Commander and you will have a Company XO to help make you look good! Being an XO can be a thankless job.
# 5 Help Out the Platoon Leaders
Don’t act like the Platoon Leaders work for you. They don’t. They work for the Company Commander. Do whatever you can to help your Platoon Leaders be successful in their job. Ask if they need your help. Mentor them. Provide them guidance. Don’t boss them around or belittle them. Treat them with respect and do everything in your capacity to help them shine! When you help them succeed it helps the entire unit.
The bottom line is that the Company XO job isn’t always sexy, fun or glamorous, but it is very important. If you’re assigned to this duty position, do the best job that you can and put your Company Commander and unit first. Go the extra mile and strive to be the best that you can! It will be well worth it.
What are your thoughts? What are your best Company XO Success Tips? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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6 thoughts on “Top 5 Army Company XO Success Tips”
One of the key words I read throughout this post is support. Support your superior officer; support your subordinates; and support platoon leaders. It is the Company XO that can make or break a company. It is with their support that a company runs smooth from bottom to the top.
I believe there are those who are made to be XOs, and those that are not. Before taking a position like that, a person should always be sure they are willing, and able to provide all the support and leadership that company deserves.
Yes, you definitely have to put your own needs on the back burner and support the people you work for and the people that work for you.
I must say that without the Company XO, where would the Company be? I agree with all your tips. Supporting both your Company Commander and your subordinates can be difficult, but in the long run, it will give you success. Knowing your responsibilities inside and out will help you develop a plan each day to properly get everything done.
I like the part you put about working with Platoon Leaders and not trying to be their boss. In doing so, you will gain respect, and everyone will work as a team instead of like Lone Rangers.
When you work as a team everyone wins!
Being a Company XO really is a thankless job, to the point where most enlisted don’t even know who he/she is but without the XO, things would get chaotic. I love that you called the XO a servant leader– it is so true and this is such a great thing. This is the type of attitude that not only makes someone a better soldier, but a better person. Servant leaders rarely get the glory or the recognition but they do change the people around them, which in turn changes the world (or company, as it may be). It’s a good reminder that the XO is to be focused on current operations so that the Commander can be properly focused on future ops– helps put the job and its duties in perspective.
I really enjoyed my time as the Company XO. You can be as busy as you want to be. You might not get the credit, but you definitely know you are making a difference, and getting things done. It’s a must have experience if you want to be a successful Company Commander one day.