Posted on Apr 24, 2015
BG Dep. Director, Military Programs
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For those of you who have been on RP for a little while, you know that I was promoted to BG (Baby General) only six months ago. While I think that I have a pretty good idea of what I should be doing, I would like to get your feedback. Too often, I find that personnel are afraid to have a discussion with me, when that is exactly what I do want. Good Generals are not authoritarian, but solicit thoughts and opinions in order to be better informed. More importantly, we have to explain why certain decisions are made the way they are and not just "because I said so". So let's open up the floor...
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Responses: 70
SGM Erik Marquez
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Edited >1 y ago
Sir having worked for (with) several GO's in 1CD..and a few more assigned to RC-E in Afghanistan I can say for sure you're on the right track... It will always be your decision, your priorities, but the ideas and "how" will come from your subordinates, .....if you allow it.

What do (did) I want from the GO's I worked for? simple really. Tell me what you want as an endstate, give me the commanders intent, clearly articulate the left and right limits and your timeline, be open and honest in what you need as feedback during and after completion. And then walk away.

Be open and ready to provide clarification along the way.. DO NOT wait until task completion to check in or provide guidence, only to say.. thats not what I want AFTER the task and work is complete.

Be ready for "Sir, that won't work.. here is why, here is what we can do" Accept it , guide it, or change the conditions your subordinates have to work in so your endstate can be met.
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SGT Military Police
SGT (Join to see)
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Well said, SGM. This is great advice for leaders at all levels and in all professions, military and civilian.
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SGM Erik Marquez
SGM Erik Marquez
6 y
BG (Join to see) - Sir I hope that in the passing months since you brought up this topic, things have gone well for you.
I came across an article today that resonates with both my observations over the years, and your question so I thought I would post a link and point you to it.
http://taskandpurpose.com/21-habits-of-successful-military-generals-from-someone-who-knows-firsthand/
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BG Dep. Director, Military Programs
BG (Join to see)
6 y
Wow, great article! I especially like #16. You are never off the clock. This is so true and I remember my Chief of Staff remarking shortly after I took command "Sir, when do you sleep?" I always feel that it is my obligation to respond as quickly as I can to a staff action so they have time to do all the grunt work associated with my decision - the old one-third, two-thirds rule.
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1stSgt Mack Housman
1stSgt Mack Housman
4 y
BG Goddard. First, congratulations on your promotion. You've already taken the first step by asking for input. No one knows it all. 100% agree with SGM Marquez points above!
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SPC Eod Team Member
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Coming from the bottom of the totem pole Sir, I would say provide an opportunity for the lowest level to contribute ideas. The best thing I've seen was a in person survey (albeit conducted by a contractor) from G3 that would go straight back up to them. We were asked about equipment requirements, what we liked and didn't like about a new vehicle, and any general comments or suggestions on how to change things at the unit level.

The big thing I took away from it was skipping the chain of command so to speak. When something like that gets passed down from 20th to Group to Battalion to Company then back up, a lot of stuff gets removed, changed, misunderstood etc. Sometimes the things that don't make it back up to the top are the things that the guys on the ground were hitting on as being the most important. It goes back to the old joke about the general putting information out about Haley's comet passing by which eventually turns into General Haley is going to be driving by in his comet.

Also, as you mentioned Sir, we for the most part are terrified to speak up when someone of your rank is in the room. Especially the lower enlisted. Either one is afraid of retribution from superiors (regardless of how likely that is, most times it isn't), or just of looking dumb in front of both their peers and their boss's boss's boss's boss's boss. No idea on my end of how to fix that other than asking specific questions rather than an open ended one. Asking if there are any problems will result in no one speaking up. Asking how many people like this one aspect of one part of equipment is much more likely to get a avalanche of opinions and thoughts started so to speak.
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BG Dep. Director, Military Programs
BG (Join to see)
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When I visit my battalions and have a group formation, it is always like pulling teeth to get the first Soldier to speak up. The more that do speak up, the more that also want to jump in and ask a question or make a comment.
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SFC Michael Jackson, MBA
SFC Michael Jackson, MBA
>1 y
BG (Join to see) , it's true. Getting the first speak up is difficult. No one wants to be the first to unmask in a NBC environment. As a BG, you may encourage or want open dialog with no repercussions. However, Soldiers are fearful that speaking to high levels of authority without prior approval/dialog with the unit command team have subtle or in many cases blatantly obvious reprisals. Nobody wants to be react mode to an issue a flag officer inquires about.
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BG David Fleming III
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Edited >1 y ago
Sir, one high ranking GO once said as he was delivering bad news to the troops,"There's nothing I can do!" I strongly recommend not uttering that phrase in context that it's beyond you.
Stars make things happen. If your going to tell them anything tell them what you've doing and are willing to fight for! In my eyes on that day, the GO seemed almost defeated!
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BG Dep. Director, Military Programs
BG (Join to see)
>1 y
Couldn't agree more, COL Fleming. Even when there is little hope, a GO has to try. If nothing else, he can tell his troops that he fought the good fight, but lost. Better than not even trying.
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