Appleton Recruiter Wins Battalion Station Commander for 1st Quarter
January 4, 2011
- Station commander fosters trust as main focus in his leadership.
MILWAUKEE -- The key to leading a team of Army recruiters is fostering trust, said Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bennett, Appleton Army Recruiting Company. He is a station commander overseeing 10 recruiters in Appleton and Oshkosh.
"Without the trust of your team, there is no team," Bennett said.
He has been recruiting for five years. He started recruiting in Maryland and then returned to the operational Army after completing a three-year stint.
"After I left recruiting in 2004, I always knew I would finish my career in recruiting. One big reason that led to my conversion [to recruiter] was that I love the fact that you work with professional noncommissioned officers," Bennett said.
Recruiting requires a special kind of NCO. He must have the initiative to stay physically fit and be mature enough to conduct himself appropriately where there's little to no structure, he said.
That's what brought him back to the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
"When you are working with these [recruiting] professionals it is a great feeling to project your love for the Army and your story to young leaders of tomorrow's Army," Bennett said.
Bennett, who's been a station commander for two years, worked under three station commanders before formally assuming the role. He's had other mentors and leaders to know what's good and avoid what's bad, and has learned that each recruiter has to be led in different ways.
"All recruiters are firing on different cyclinders," Bennett said. "Each person needs different guidance so you really need to understand what makes them click. If you are an intuitive person you'll find what moves them, if you don't then maybe you won't be a good leader."
For him, the station commander also has a delicate role in keeping recruiters motivated while meeting the standards.
"I have noticed that when you have a good team everyone hangs on the emotions of the station commander," Bennett said. "So you have to always be motivated and determined. You have to project a winning attitude and a drive for exceeding the mission."
The standard Bennett enforces among his recruiters is simple.
"Soldiers want to be led by someone they trust, so I make myself the standard they should meet," he said.
In October, USAREC declared Fiscal Year 2011 "The Year of the Station Commander." The Milwaukee Recruiting Battalion selected Bennett as the station commander of the first quarter for FY11.