The Office of the Army Surgeon General and the U.S. Army Medical Command hold regular leadership seminars to support their Leader Development Program. Most recently, the leadership series featured Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston. He is the 16th Sergeant Major of the Army and was sworn in during August 2019. He has held every enlisted leadership position in artillery, from cannon crew member to command sergeant major.
Grinston’s emphasis was on the role and impact of the squad leader, who in his opinion is the most influential leader on members of the squad in building disciplined teams that are cohesive, highly trained, ready and fit.
He stated that the squad leader sets the culture within the squad and is responsible to see that each member performs at his or her fullest potential. The squad leader should identify risks and stressors for the individual members of the team and help to facilitate assistance when it is needed. Mental readiness is just as important as physical readiness.
The squad leader should listen and understand the squad members, show compassion and empathy, and keep the squad members on track for a positive future with the Army.
The squad leader must establish a culture of accountability—if you see something, say something.
Everyone is responsible for leader development. Leaders above the squad level should ensure the squad leader feels empowered and has the authority to make necessary corrections and be an agent of change for the members of the squad. Effective squad leaders find commonalities within their squad and build the team using these common bonds and strengths.
Success for the squad requires trust in the squad leader. “The squad is only as strong as the faith the squad has in its leader,” said Grinston.