Posted on Dec 29, 2013
SGM Matthew Quick
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You may have heard that, "If you take care of Soldiers, your career will take care of itself."<br><br>Personally, I've never bought into this (or may have misinterpreted its meaning)...there has to be a balanced, because NOBODY should care more about your career than you.<br><br>In an effort to share personal experiences with future leaders, how have you successfully balanced taking care of Soldiers and progressing through your career?
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SSG Section Sergeant
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I believe as Leaders in today's Army it is detrimental to our careers that we learn to be multifunctional. Today's Soldiers are coming into the Army with Bachelors degrees and lots of knowledge and are also getting promoted a lot faster.

Taking care of Soldiers is just not enough to make it anymore. I have always heard this while coming up in the Army "what are you doing to separate your selves from your peers" just taking care of Soldiers is not going to separate us, as NCO's we all do that already. Taking care of Soldiers is leading by example and what I mean by that is if we take care of ourselves then we can take better care of the Soldiers.

The Creed of the Non Commissioned Officer states our two responsibilities; accomplishing the mission and the welfare of our Soldiers it didn't say how to accomplish the mission it just states to accomplish it. So many times my battle buddies and I find ourselves talking about how we always need to be boots on ground with the Soldiers we need to be there with them and never leave them unattended all the while we are saying we don't have time to go to school or update records or ERB's for boards or go to Battle Staff, SHARP, EO etc we just don't have time for that, it has always been mission first. Well after experiencing being passed up for promotions a numerous amount of times my peers and I often talk about what we are doing wrong, I know I'm always in the fight doing what I'm supposed to we say to ourselves, pushing troops, accomplishing the mission. Where did we go wrong???

Because of the way the Army is changing accomplishing the mission just isn't going to cut it for us anymore. The Board Members sitting on those SFC boards know we can do our job they know we can push troops but what else can we do? How do we manage our time? What tools are we seeking for betterment of ourselves? Look at all the tools the Army has provided for us to receive knowledge. Our we taking advantage of it. For the majority of the population, not at all, absolutely not. Unless we are told to take those online course we would not do it.

Bottom line give your Soldiers the responsibilities they need to succeed and take care of them but most importantly take care of yourself first. It's not being selfish it's being effective. How can we push them to continue for promotion and not do what we need to for ourselves.
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MSG Senior Brigade Career Counselor
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Well structured in your response and you clearly sound like you're on point w/what right should look like.
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MSG Recruit
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I agree with SSG Phillips 27 years ago it was about the good old boys system, but then it gradually changed to what you know and being the subject matter expert in your MOS, then it slowly transition into taking care of the Soldiers and getting the mission done in a timely and safe fashion, and now it is has come full circle doing what you are supposed to do as a leader but yet going above and beyond the call of duty to separate yourself from peers by seeking out the weakness areas in your squad, platoon, or battalion taking the initiative to find a solution to patch the hole to make force work better and stronger.  Thus mentoring to those who are slacking to help them reach their true potential which will build a bond for life.  We all learn at different phases and go through the life roller coaster ride with family so if you ever feel stuck for a long period of time when it comes to promotions ask somebody two ranks above you what they see that you can do to make the next level starting with your promotion packet and military photo you might have something simple that has been a sore thorn and just need a fresh set of eyes.

I learned to ask those that sit on lots of promotion boards what they be looking for and what places a person ahead of others, and then go from there.  
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SFC Michael Hasbun
SFC Michael Hasbun
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I'd say the good SSG nailed it...
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SSG Instructor/Writer
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Thats a big check, roger and hooah SSG Phillips. The Army is downsizing and tightening it belt so its IMPERItive that we become multifunctional and 'sell' ourselves to stay competitive.
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LTC Jason Strickland
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Edited >1 y ago
I believe great leaders recognize the efforts of their team members and they will reward them appropriately. &nbsp;<div>I believe the misinterpretation of this mantra is that leaders overlook character traits and behaviors. &nbsp;If you really take care of soldiers, you balance forgiveness/mercy with discipline and tough love.</div>
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SSG Waldo Yamada
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As a buck sergeant, Leading soldiers was being physically fit, having military bearing, and knowing my respected field. I lost control of it during my last tour in Iraq because of depression. It wasn't the operation, nor my soldiers being the cause of it. It was myself. I was the deciding factor of getting out of the Army mentally. As for a career, I do see a balance of taking care of your soldiers and taking care of your career. 
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MSG Senior Brigade Career Counselor
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Thank you for your service. Glad you could recognize the signs and seek the help needed. So many of us stay hidden from the  tragic events we carry within our souls.
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