Posted on Apr 7, 2016
SFC Randy Purham
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Over the last few years I have heard many NCOs/Officers discuss little to no faith in the capabilities of Junior Enlisted Soldiers ability to step up to the plate or even fulfill leadership roles in the absence of the primary. What are we doing to provide them the mentorship, training, and skill set(s) to step up when necessary? How do you further their ability to lead with faith and confidence?
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Responses: 19
SSgt Defense Paralegal
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If an NCO/Officer has no faith in their subordinates then they have failed as a leader. We are charged to lead, develop, and mentor those beneath us. We need to let junior enlisted soldiers take charge of tasks, jobs, etc. Inevitably they may fail and the message needs to be that it's ok. Our culture has surpressed innovation by making failure unacceptable. They will either learn from their failures (or success) and leaders around them can use these experiences as teaching points or mentoring lessons.
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SFC Randy Purham
SFC Randy Purham
5 y
Absolutely agree.
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Sgt Aaron A.
Sgt Aaron A.
5 y
Couldn't have said it better. How can the junior among us be expected to take charge if we don't give them the opportunity before they actually need to?
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SGM Omer Dalton
SGM Omer Dalton
1 mo
Ok to fail except in combat situations. Failure could mean death, injury, or capture.
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SPC Treatment Medic
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SFC Randy Purham

SSG I'm saying this with all the respect for you, your rank, and our army. Not at these comments directed at you.

But the "replace us" in your question isn't what I hope they replace. Your NCO "backbone" is broken SSG. A day when I encounter an actual real example of what an NCO should be is a rarity.

Promotions are broken. 5 in 3 isn't a sign of an outstanding and worthy e4 but now an expectation. Soldiers are in a mindset passed down from higher that it's a right to go to a p board at 3 in secondary zones not an earned privilege. Leaders aren't helping by sending soldiers to the board who have no buisness there as they've barely learned to care for themselves or handle themselves professionally let alone be expected to lead soldiers. Same thing is true for 5 to 6 promotions.

This is a fault purely of the longevity of our wars. Yet at least in the peaks of our conflicts people were getting five fast but earned it under the unforgiving sun.

Promotions are broken as is the vetting process for promotion. I don't care how many leadership schools the army wants to come out with they're just trying to duct tape a concrete crack.
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SFC Randy Purham
SFC Randy Purham
5 y
SPC (Join to see), no offense taken. I actually understand your point and totally agree with you. I - personally, have came from a long line of mentorship, leadership, and have been fortunate enough to be taught both traditional and unconventional ways to lead and be a leader. Fusing all of that together, most would ponder the leadership style I bring to the table, but the results are unquestionable at the end of the day. Enough about me.... Now, to hit your point on promotions - it has gone to hell in a hand basket with gasoline draws on, no doubt.

What I offer to you as advice is that: you know your craft (job/MOS) - know it better than anyone around you, study it and study it hard - dissect it, find ways to make it better and demonstrate it. Teach others what you know, what you learned whether they may interested or not. Learn the "game", play the game, learn how to beat the game. Because at the end of the day - you cannot change the game. You can only impact it, but you can never change it. Always incorporate Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance into everything you do. When you are able to manage your life - others will see the ability in you to manage theirs and those around you. Leadership is a characteristic - not a rank. Educate yourself and get education - institutional and personal. You will always have time to personally and professionally grow.

From your articulation of things you have the necessary 4 -Cs of leadership to make things happen: Commitment, Competence, Candor, and Courage. I think you will do awesome things, even more than you already have. Feel free to connect http://www.linkedin.com/in/rpurham
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SPC Treatment Medic
SPC (Join to see)
5 y
SFC Randy Purham dam SSG- that middle paragraph got me fired up!

I've been fortunate like you in that my first duty station I fell under one of the greatest NCOs I've ever seen work. yea he smoked the life outa me and every other Joe in the medical platoon but no matter the exercise or repitition count he was right with us. He hated putting stuff on paper but would instead teach us the errors we made and why they are errors but just through a thick brow of perspiration. He inspired greatness

You're absolutely right about knowing my job. My skills and knowledge as a medic is one thing I pride myself on and I love what I do. May be one of the few to honestly admit to looking forward to going to work, I get to use my skill set daily to make the lives of the soldiers I treat better, or at least attempt to.

Yet as far as playing the game goes; hurts to say but it's game over me. Turns out when you're an E4 with a greater skill set at the job than your immediate supervisors or above they get a lil cranky, so I either hit the road now or continue to with a target on my back in an unwinable fight.
I'll definitely be in contact. Very interested to learn your knowledge on leadership.

Thank you for the reply!
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SFC Randy Purham
SFC Randy Purham
5 y
SPC (Join to see) - Much welcome. I understand about taking the high road and leaving while the getting is good. Good luck in your future endeavors and stay positive regardless of what negative leadership comes your way. Oh, and Yes, my squad leader as a PFC was the same way with me. I pushed so much I was nicknamed "Ground Zero." LOL. Fun times.
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SMSgt Dr. G. A. Thomas
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Only if you're doing the mentoring. If you're not; who's to blame l?
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SFC Randy Purham
SFC Randy Purham
5 y
Bullseye!
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