The Staff Sync - Vol. 3

The Staff Sync - Vol. 3

Hey y'all, this week I wanted to talk about my time as a Platoon Leader, and shed some light on best practices, mistakes I made and learned from, and everything in between. If you read my previous blogs, you would have read that I deployed immediately following IBOLC and airborne school. In one sense, this was a great opportunity to get a deployment under my belt as a PL, but on the other hand, it was overwhelming showing up to a unit that was already overseas for a few months as a "cherry LT" with no experience other than ROTC and IBOLC. So here are some things I would like to share:

1. Trust your NCOs, and understand your role in the Platoon. You may have heard this numerous times throughout ROTC, BOLC, and from your friends and peers. Having trust in your Platoon Sergeant and subordinate leaders (Squad/Section/Team Leaders) really helps you accomplishment your mission more efficiently. Your role in the Platoon is a planner. That is what Officers do, we plan. NCOs execute the plans, but they are also there alongside you during the planing process to ensure you do not wander too far off and to give their advice and input, as they should! If you are lucky enough to have an experienced PSG, this makes your life much easier, but be aware! I have experienced not-so-good NCOs in the organizations I have worked in that really hindered training and a positive work environment for not only the Platoon, but the Company as well. One problem I personally faced was learning to delegate properly. I am the type of person that wants to ensure things get done the way I have it in my head, and in the beginning it was hard for me to trust my soldiers to get something done without me being present or having my hand in the task. You are only one person, and cannot be everywhere, everytime to ensure things get done. Learn to delegate tasks responsibly and your life will be much easier.

2. Protect your soldiers from higher. As a Platoon Leader, you are the link between your soldiers and the Company Commander/1SG or higher. Sure, there may be times you get a tasking that needs to be detailed out to some soldiers, but it is up to you and your PSG to ensure the details are appropriately spread amongst the Platoon and Company so the burden does not always fall on the same individuals, as well as protecting your soldiers from any unnecessary tasks fro higher (NOT ALL TASKS ARE PRIORITY!). Do not keep your soldiers at work all day until 1700 when nothing is going on.

3. Maintenance and property. You will be signing for equipment as a Platoon Leader that will amount to a few million dollars. It is up to you to ensure you have everything when you sign for the property by getting along with the Company supply NCO and properly annotating a BOM and shortage annex. After the property is signed for, your new best friend, the XO, will ensure you are aware of any services and maintenance you have to perform on your equipment to ensure everything works as it should, when it should. 

4. Enjoy your job and personal life. For most, this will be the first time you receive a "decent" paycheck and you have a lot of responsibility. Do not forget about investments, savings, and "fun money". You are an adult now, in charge of soldiers who entrust their lives in you and the PSG. At the same time, you are in charge of your own personal and professional development. Do not forget to put in schools packet or seek mentorships from others to develop yourself, as you try your best to develop your subordinates. You will only be a Platoon Leader for 9-12 months, and if you are lucky you will get a second Platoon. However, for the most part you will be sent to staff. Enjoy the time while you're in position, it goes by fast. 

Be a team player, be a sponge and learn as much as you can, and be a confident and decisive leader who is not afraid to make mistakes but who is humble enough to ask for guidance. 

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