Getting back to the basics of interpersonal leadership
Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve Command train for deployment at Jacobs Park on Fort McPherson June 11, 2009. Training helps Soldiers improve both their job-specific and general Soldier skills.

Garrison Command Sergeant Major
Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem

The Army has changed tremendously in the last decade, and with that change has come a shifting in viewpoints on a variety of subjects.

In areas such as mental and physical resiliency, force modernization and combat techniques, the Army has developed new methods of assessment and execution.

However, while these changes are good and necessary for the evolution of our service, it is important to remember that not all things need to or should change.

One of the most important aspects of Army life that must be maintained - or in some cases, returned to - is the concept of interpersonal leadership. Interpersonal leadership is the basic glue that keeps the foundation of our service strong, and it is about more than strategy and tactics, or about memorizing rules or being able to recite regulations.

It has nothing to do with who has the most rounds, biggest guns and newest equipment, or who looks more impressive in his or her uniform.

Instead, at its core, interpersonal leadership is based and built on a leader's ability to get the most out of his or her team.

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a team is vital to any leader's success. And while this can be achieved through a variety of ways, there are some tried and true methods that can help.

First and foremost, leaders should set aside dedicated time for training. Known as "sergeant's time training" among Soldiers, this is intended to be a regularly scheduled, significant portion of time every week for leaders to sit down with their team and improve on job-specific and general skills.

This time should be an evolving experience, with lessons carried over throughout sessions, and the best ideas or results from each session should be implemented in the workplace.

Such training not only allows a leader to continually assess the abilities of his or her team, but also builds professional knowledge and camaraderie. Leaders should also take an interest in their individual team members.

Learning - and more importantly, asking - about a team member's background, experiences, Family and professional mindset increases a leader's effectiveness in communicating his or her directives to team members as a whole.

A team member who trusts his or her leader has a vested interest in seeing him or her succeed will almost always work harder than someone who doesn't share that trust. I challenge every leader on Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem to do as I will and discover ways to increase their interpersonal leadership.

By strengthening our leadership skills, we strengthen our teams, and the foundation of our Army as a whole.

As always, my door remains open to all in order to accomplish this and other Army goals. Let's continue to strive to be great, effective leaders. Hooah!

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16