In my opinion in today’s Army we are not having the
mentorship that we need. I have been lucky enough to be part of a section which
my two supervisors are doing a great job mentoring me. I have seen new Soldiers with good attitude and
a lot of motivation chosen the wrong path because they don’t have that mentor
to guide them and show them the right way. Mentorship is a must because that’s how
you shape a Soldier in a professional way. I’m still learning but I’m trying my
best to mentor my Soldiers and create a base so they can continue to grow and
learn the way they supposed to.
To be frank and upfront what mentorship? I think that this is severely lacking in the military today from what I have seen in my nine years. I have only been counseled twice in my career (both being initial counselings). I have never received a counseling to talk about my evaluation but rather sit down and hey look at this (if I was not made to write my own). My friend put it best as "if they are not yelling at you or bothering you then keep it up you are doing a good job".
Now being the kind of person I am I sought out mentorship outside my chain of command and that advise has been priceless. I sought out a SGM and a MAJ when I was a LT to get perspectives from both enlisted and officer side of the house. One could "keep me real" and grounded. The other help set me up for success as an officer. I have taken that approach with my company as I now of five LTs under me and I have given them initial counselings, developmental counselings, and support form counselings upfront. I am utilizing the developmental counselings to see where they think that they need and want to grow. I also use informal counselings by just talking to them (a lost art if you ask me) and I get ideas from these conversations. I have given tasks such as writing an OPORD to give them practice and then tell them what I feel was good and what needed improvement and why. The importance is why so they can know where they need to improve and work on in the future. Their evaluation is the wrong time to find out. If you know what they need to fix do it on the spot if you can. We are here to get the mission done, but also to prepare them to take our place so when we move on someone can carry the touch.
When I got into the Army I was shocked by how much ROTC did not teach me and how much OBC did not teach me and now how much CCC did not teach me. You have to teach yourself. But if you have to go learn it because you weren't taught, chances are so will your subordinates. Pass that information down and build them into better Soldiers and leaders. Allow them chances to fail and learn. But most importantly hold them accountable. If you do not they will keep doing same thing and get promoted and get set in their ways and keep on getting promoted and make life miserable for those under them.
Just my two cents, Sir.