Posted on Sep 30, 2015
SSG Platoon Sergeant
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Our current 1SG, who is a SFC, started out as a great leader and role model when he first took responsibility, but over the course of the last few months he has become the most toxic leader I have met thus far in my career. I understand that he is serving in a position that comes with a great deal of stress and that alone can take a toll on anyone, but it is just getting out of hand. It's to the point now that if you so much as try to bring up a method or opinion that isn't exactly in line with his, you get punished. For instance, one of the best squad leaders we have in the company simply disagreed with the method in which a training event was being handled, and brought it up in a totally respectful manner, and now he is no longer a squad leader. On top of that, the 1SG completely disrespected him in front of the entire company, junior enlisted, NCOs, basically everyone, and was screaming in his face and calling names even. This isn't the first instance of something like this happening with him, and probably won't be the last. It has dragged morale down to an all time low in the company, and made it nearly impossible for leaders to do what they do best, mentor and train Soldiers in innovative ways using the knowledge that they've gained from their experiences. We're just not sure how to handle the situation without sounding like we're just complaining. It's a serious issue, and needs to addressed, but no one wants to put their career on the line. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and I'm not trying to put the man down but things have to change for the good of the unit and the Soldiers in it.
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Responses: 11
1SG Claims Assistant
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I would wager all the tea in China that there is a outside stressor on your 1SG that is causing this. Could be at home, could be on the job. There is a lot of admin BS that sucks out a First Sergeant's life force. Good leaders don't morph into a$$holes overnight for no reason.

My advice: see if there is any openness to taking a few things off his plate, or maybe a pass or short leave. Many times 1SGs don't sleep enough. The effect is cumulative. Other times we get so caught up in Soldiers issues and minutae that we neglect ourselves.
I don't know what your relationship looks like, but it sounds to me he needs to get some rest.
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1stSgt Operations Manager
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Toxic leadership seems to be the new buzz word. I would ensure that you and your subordinates do their jobs to the best of their ability and stay out of the line of fire. The Plt Sgts should be corrected in private, but are they in the wrong? You do not speak of how the unit is doing, you only blame the leader.
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SSG Platoon Sergeant
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Thank you for your advice and input. The unit is doing fine, obviously there will always be a few problem children, but they make up a very small percent. The better portion of those in the unit want to train and learn and do great things. They actually accomplish a lot more overall when the 1SG isn't around, simply because they are afraid of doing anything that might go against his views of what are the right and wrong ways to accomplish whatever it is they may be doing. I'm not trying to shift the blame solely to the 1SG either. I have nothing but respect for him overall, it's just been a recent problem that many in the unit have noticed (up and down, and left and right), and I'd like to resolve the issue without anything negative coming to him. Too many Soldiers go straight to I.G. these days, and I'd prefer to resolve it at the lowest level possible and was just seeking advice on how best to approach the issue.
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SSG Brian Carpenter
SSG Brian Carpenter
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1SG I so am in agreement. Everytime I am on here or make a comment myself at least two NCO"s are sprouting "TOXIC LEADERSHIP" so my guess is that this new catch phrase is a way for sub par leaders to go after the real leaders. This 1SG has so many duties and if he is yelling at the wrong place wrong time something is there causing this. If it is a big an issue as stated why haven't your Officers and Commanders done anything? This happens often but the CSM hasn't done anything then there probably is a reason behind his behavior that you aren't privy to.
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SSgt Alex Robinson
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Time for a heart to heart with him. If that doesn't work talk to the chain of command
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