Things Every NCO Should Know

x SF med

the Troll
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Remember, this changes you from 'Snuffy' to "that Shithead Sergeant".
Your friends at E3/E4 will have to get used to you being in charge and not being "just Bob" anymore.
NCOs are the backbone of the Army - prove that you have one by making the right choices, no matter how difficult they seem.
You are about to become 'that guy' the new guys look to for guidance.
 
A

arizonaguide

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Remember, this changes you from 'Snuffy' to "that Shithead Sergeant".
Your friends at E3/E4 will have to get used to you being in charge and not being "just Bob" anymore.
NCOs are the backbone of the Army - prove that you have one by making the right choices, no matter how difficult they seem.
You are about to become 'that guy' the new guys look to for guidance.

Well spoken.:2c: Do what is "right" and the other stuff will sort itself out.
 

car

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You'd better be an expert at everything you were supposed to know as a SPC, 'cause, like the Troll said, you're the guy who joe is gonna go to for answers. Ensure that your answers are the right ones.

Don't be afraid to act. Your instincts will carry you most of the time.

Keep your opinions of higher/orders/etc to yourself when your subordinates are around.

Joe emulates you in every way. Be very, very aware of that, and of the impact of your subsequent actions and statements. They're watching you, in order to learn how to behave. NEVER FORGET THAT!
 
0

08steeda

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Lead from the front!

Walk Quietly but carry a big stick!

Don't let it go to your head! Leading is far more difficult than following!

Think FIRST, Think AGAIN, then speak!

NO B.S. if you don't know then say so but find out ASAP!

Make certain that you are the high water mark for the troops to emulate!

Strive to make the life of your subordinates better in some way, each and every day!!! You won't do it everyday, but you gotta keep looking and acting!!!

Don't play favorites! Especially with your friends who are still below NCO ranks!
 

EverSoLost

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To dovetail with my limited experience:

• I don’t know but will find out; is a perfectly good answer
• If you cant manage your own career how do you expect to manage your soldiers?
• Live by the Reg, die by the Reg
• Not only Jr. Enlisted will seek your counsel, Jr Officer much of the time will as well. It’s better to give no counsel than bad counsel (as previously mentioned)
• Communication is imperative to the success of your Soldiers, your Seniors, & yourself.
• Sometimes doing the “right” thing isn’t doing the “right” thing
• Be prepared to take the hit for your Soldiers it’s your job to protect them
• You can be an “E5” or a SGT it’s your choice as to how you’ll be viewed
• You can be familiar and still be authoritative this is the greatest gift of being an NCO
• Your Hard Stripes don’t equate to technical and tactical proficiency as was previously mentioned by my betters
• Often a Jr. Person may hold a Sr. Position to your own. Deal with it, and respect it.
• Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and aware of the gaps that can be filled with the talent you’re charged to care for.
• Never be afraid to learn from anyone
• You don’t always need to be a dick to accomplish your objective
• Your Rank does not exclude you from work regardless of your Geneva Convention code
• Believe it or not Jr., Mid and Sr. Level O’s “can” provide solid mentorship
• Sr. NCO’s aren’t always right, it’s important if capable that you “Act” as an advisor when you’re the duty expert
• You’re an NCO 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including Holidays you’re Soldiers shouldn’t suffer because of your personal desires.
• Always train your replacement
• There’s no need to talk yourself up, you’ll need to prove yourself to your subordinates, peers and superiors regardless.
• Odds are you’ll be put in the position do perform in a manner you’re not accustomed to. It’s never “Not my job”, or “Not my MOS”.
• That PV2,PFC,SPC,CPL is just as proud of his rank as you are your’s.
• Their needs should always come before yours, as JAB said in the O’ thread.
• Never be afraid to "Fast Track" a soldier above your position. If the SM is more capable then do it; it only benefits the whole. It's not about you.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Just some stuff to add to all the other great advice being given…

1. Sit all your buddies down and explain that you are promoting, inform them that you expect to maintain friendship but work is work and play is play. They will understand.

2. Stop partying every night; do not drink the night before the duty day. You can lose that rank faster then you got it, the Army really doesn’t like DWI’s. :(

3. You are now the first line leader, you have direct contact with the soldiers and you are the leader who will deal with those soldiers on a hourly bases. You had better be in the right uniform and saying the right things.

4. Any soldier who upsets you to the point of kicking his/ her ass should be dealt with in the morning (next week). Never act with out sleeping on it, wall to wall and foot to mouth are a thing of the past. You can’t reverse your actions when either hammering a soldier’s face in, or taking a pay grade.

5. Know every position (duties/ responsibilities) with in your platoon, you will be asked to run the platoon at some point. You had better know how to fill the gap when needed.

6. You are a trainer, you had better understand what you are training that soldier to do. It’s better to tell your leadership you do not know, or are unprepared then to make an ass of your self in front of everyone. You will be giving glasses from hip pocket (Sgt’s time) to full blown company course of instruction.

7. Weapons skills are just as important as PT, spend as much time as you can practicing and training your soldiers as you can.

8. The safe guard of your soldiers, the well being and moral is you’re most important responsibility you have. These things must be reviewed in ever decision you make, from mission planning to cleaning details.

9. You are a working leader, meaning you lead your soldiers as your work beside them. Standing off to the side while they perform is a fucking NO GO! If your soldiers are filling sandbags, then you are filling sandbags…

10. Meals, money, free time and awards are extremely important. Stay on top of soldier’s to ensure they are getting chow time, working towards promotions, taking time off away from the Army and put them in for as many awards as you possibly can (75% will be turned down).

11. Just because you have become an NCO does not mean that you do not deserve your own personal time. Get out of uniform and spend time doing things you enjoy, far too often good leaders burn them selves out being a good leader. You can’t fix the Army in 1 year, only one soldier at a time.

12. Just because you’re SL/ PSG is pissed off at you for fucking up, doesn’t mean they have lost confidence in you. So you should never lose confidence in your self, pay for your fuck up and drive on. Don’t make the same mistake at least for another year or two, hopefully for the rest of your carrier.

13. Do for soldiers in need everything that someone has done for you, these things we pass on make us who and what we are. Compassion is not weakness!

14. Never allow another NCO to disrespect, degrade, punish or otherwise interfere with your soldiers. You are there leader and they answer to you, PV2 Joe Snuffy might be a fuck up, but nobody gets to call him that but you. Not you’re E5 buddies and not the PSG, you and you only (and its better to not do it at all).

15. Everything you do is a direct reflection of your leaders, the better you look – the better they look. In reverse if you fuck up, you are allowing your leadership to fuck up and it will reflect on your future. Follow the commander’s intent and achieve the mission to the best of your team’s ability…
 

clavinr

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Eversolost that is excellent advice. I was very fortunate to have excellent NCOs through my career. Find some senior NCO and officers and learn from them and their approach. Model their behavior. Take what works for you and in the right situation.

I would like to add that being a squad leader is the most fullfilling job there is. And as you get old...er and you see some of your troops that have gone to OCS and become company commnaders...you know you did well.

Always be upfront with your troops and give them goals to work on and reward them when they make progress. You would be surprized how far giving them responsibility will go...

PS I am in civilian LE and it is not the same.

Good luck becoming a sergeant.
 

FireSpitter11

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I will speak from my side of the fence.
I am a Marine Non Commissioned Officer and this is our creed:

I am an NCO dedicated to training new Marines and influencing the old.
I am forever conscious of each Marine under my charge, and by example will inspire him to the highest standards possible.
I will strive to be patient, understanding, just, and firm. I will commend the deserving and encourage the wayward.
I will never forget that I am responsible to my Commanding Officer for the morale, discipline, and efficiency of my men.
Their performance will reflect an image of me.

Marine to Soldier, your troops should already have it instilled in them that you are senior to them and that there must be instant willingness obiediance to all orders and directives that may be given time to time. As a Sgt it is expected of you to be that senior junior enlisted person that troops can go to and handle lower level issues that do not need to be taken up the chain of command.
If I do not have to get my SSgt or Gunny involved I wont.
Be prepared to have higher expectations placed upon you.
There is no room for error of the slightest.
There is a difference between a E-5 and a Sgt; a E-5 gets a pay check and a Sgt is a leader.
Learn self sacrifice because you will have to be prepared to take the hit for the E-4's and below when something is not done or done to standard.
You along with the rest f the Sgts are responcible for morale, discipline and efficiency of troops entrusted to your charge.

The list can go on forever honestly. If you are getting Sgt then you already have what it takes assumingly, if not better get it...... and go PT
 

Marauder06

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Putting this here to bump this thread for the new people, and because the article mentions the WikiLeaker's NCO. Not casting any blame, nor vouching for the veracity of the story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/01/AR2010090107204.html?nav=emailpage

The sergeant who supervised Bradley E. Manning, the Army private accused of leaking classified material to the online site WikiLeaks, was so concerned about the soldier's mental health that he disabled Manning's weapon late last year, the private's attorney said Wednesday.

-Trust your instincts. You are closer to the troops and know more about them than anyone else, including (sometimes especially) your officers. If a guy is a dirtbag, make sure the chain of command knows it- and does something about it. Hasan Akbar was a dirtbag too, but they kept him in the unit...

Oh, and for everyone: If you have to take a guy's weapon away from him, you should probably take his clearance too. If you can't trust him to handle a gun, can you really trust him to handle classified information?
 

Etype

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When people give you some BS about your decision making, remember-

It's easy to critisize a leader but it's hard to be one.
 

pardus

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When I was an NCO I cared more about what was happening below me than what was happening above me (I did follow lawful orders and accomplished my missions).
I looked after my guys (sometimes to the point of personal detriment) and because of that I received incredible loyalty, that loyalty gave me trust that I could get my guys to achieve more than other leaders could.
I'm just sad I couldn't do this in a real mission.
Yes I did get fucked from above eventually but I have no regrets and my guys are still loyal to me to this day.

I think I was one of a few privates who were also squad leaders, I was told "you may have lost your rank but you'll retain your position as a squad leader".
I recall one exercise where an E6 was told he was going to be subordinate to Pardus the private during an exercise, The E6 kept looking at me saying "WTF?" lol :D

During one briefing a SGM was assigning squads etc... he looked at me and said "Pardus what rank are you now?" I answered "I'm not sure today, I'll ask my CO if you want" to hoots of laughter.

They gave me my rank back after a grace period. It didn't mean shit except better pay.
Best job I ever had.

No one treated me any different, they knew who I was and what I was.
 

Etype

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Also, it's very important you adopt the whole professionalism gig. There's a very damaging scenario that many socially immature NCOs experience from a lack of professionalism. They get into pissing matches and dick measuring confrontations and it boils down to that all important moment- the moment when you either need to man up and deal some damage, or go out like a punk in front of your soldiers. Either you knock a guy out and screw your career, or you look like big vagina in front of your men and screw your credibility as a combat leader. Either way, you loose.
 

Marauder06

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That's a great point. I remember when we were on an exercise in 2ID several years back, and the G2 was frustrated with a simulated UAV feed. He came back into the SCIF and got on the phone with the specialist who was "flying" the UAV sim and threatened to punch him in the face if the guy didn't do what he (the G2) wanted. This is an O5 primary division staff officer talking to a brand-new E4 who is just doing what the exercise control guys tell him. Classy, right?

The G2 was a colossal dick and almost universally hated. While he was having that conversation, I was thinking, "Pleeeease call his bluff." There would be nothing I liked better than to see that guy get his ass beat by a young troop- or at least call him out on it. But the Soldier was far more professional than the G2 was and handled the situation well.

Right then I learned a very valuable lesson- never make empty threats. The G2 wasn't physically capable of carrying out the threat since the two of them were separated by miles, and he wouldn't have gone through with it if they were face to face. Empty threats done for rhetorical effect are good and all until someone calls you out on it. Then there are no good options, as E-type stated above.
 

Marine0311

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What advice would you give an E4 prepping to go to E5?

You must be technically and tactically proficient at what you do.
Y0u must understand the difference between "supervisor" and "leader".
You must set the example.
As mentioned never make empty threats. Follow through.
"Beware the patient man". One of the best Marine Plt Sgts I knew would not drop the sh1t on you right there but wait to do so. Thus you learned two lessons.
Be prepared to stand in the door for your men and take the (verbal) fire.
 

Casimir

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Also, it's very important you adopt the whole professionalism gig. There's a very damaging scenario that many socially immature NCOs experience from a lack of professionalism. They get into pissing matches and dick measuring confrontations and it boils down to that all important moment- the moment when you either need to man up and deal some damage, or go out like a punk in front of your soldiers. Either you knock a guy out and screw your career, or you look like big vagina in front of your men and screw your credibility as a combat leader. Either way, you loose.

I see this very often in my platoon, along with the above mentioned soldiers filling sandbags while some, not all, of the NCO's stand back with the proverbial iced tea in their hands. I would love to paste this thread on some of their FB profiles.
 

Echo

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So I'm making a "Best Of" word document out of this thread and posting it on our bulletin boards in the office. Basically, I'm just going to print this whole damn thread haha. Seems like 75% of the advice here isn't followed. I'll let you know if I get yelled at :rolleyes:
 

Casimir

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So I'm making a "Best Of" word document out of this thread and posting it on our bulletin boards in the office. Basically, I'm just going to print this whole damn thread haha. Seems like 75% of the advice here isn't followed. I'll let you know if I get yelled at :rolleyes:

no kidding, unfortunately. We were putting up Hesco barriers yesterday and two out of our 4 E5's were right in the mix with us helpin out whilst simultaneously giving direction when our platoon sgt told them not to do it anymore and to let us do all the work lol.
 

x SF med

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Do not ask your subordinates to something you would not do yourself, or would not be able to learn - not MOS stuff, general stuff. When we were on 'support cycle' there were SF qualified Sr NCOs picking up trash, mowing yards and burning paper... jobs that have to be done, and no one was immune. In a less rank heavy unit, Sr NCOs may be 'supervising' but they need to remember that their subordinates will respect them more if they lead by example.

Casimir - I would have to say that the PSGT was unrealistic - the barriers are a safety and security item, rotate the grunt and required security so if something happens, the reaction force is available. The NCOs if they are not supervisingbuilding, should be inspecting the installation.
 
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