By Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts, Fort Jackson Commanding GeneralMay 3, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Over the last few weeks I've taken every available opportunity to explain to you my Vision and Priorities for Fort Jackson as your 45th Commander. I've quickly learned that we have the right resources, talent and potential to achieve what we've set out to achieve. The bottom line -- it's all about leadership. I'm often asked about leadership, my leadership style, philosophy, "dos" and "don'ts," etc. I always start my answer by saying "the hardest thing about being a leader is not what you have to do -- it's getting others to do what you want them to do." Having said that, my leadership style and command philosophy revolves around seven pillars that I call my "Seven B's," which are:
1. Be Positive.
2. Be Competent.
3. Be Disciplined.
4. Be a Team Player.
5. Be Good to People.
6. Be of Good Character.
7. Be a Risk Manager.
Be Positive: Your attitude as a leader has a tremendous impact on your People. As a leader, you must always have a positive attitude and trust me -- sometime you'll have to dig pretty deep but you have to find it! Your People are depending on your attitude to shape theirs. You have to motivate, inspire, excite and ignite your subordinates. You have to make them believe in themselves, the unit, its goals, vision and mission. They have to know they can accomplish what they set out to accomplish. Your positive attitude will give your people the "can-do" attitude they need to punch above their weight class and do things they never thought they could do. Focus on the positive, not the negative; keep things in perspective; look at the glass as being "half full, not half empty." Lead by example, from the front. Empower subordinates and underwrite risks. Show confidence, enthusiasm, pride and passion as their leader. Passion breeds passion; it's contagious and leads to positive attitudes, a positive command climate and an organization that strives to be the best and is more than good ... it's great.
Be Competent: Training is the most important thing we do every day at Fort Jackson, and everyone must be competent at their jobs so we can focus on training. Leaders must be competent at their leadership tasks and ensure their subordinates are competent too. Every member of your team must be an expert, a SME (subject matter expert) at the tasks associated with his or her position. Make sure everyone knows and follows our doctrine, regulations, policies and procedures -- there's no question when you follow the book. "Do it by the book!" Train to standard not to time; make it demanding and realistic. We have a moral obligation to train for combat. NCOs -- teach, coach and mentor junior officers and subordinates -- this is your legacy. Leader development, professional military education and the civilian education system are important and is a priority. And last, leaders must have good written and oral communications skills -- if you can't speak it or write it, they won't do it.
Be Disciplined: Leaders establish and enforce high standards and discipline. In my book, this is leader business -- not "Officer Business," not "NCO Business," but "Leader Business," which includes our Army Civilian Leaders. Together, I expect leaders to establish and enforce high standards, disciplined systems and hold people accountable. I expect People to follow orders, report timely and accurately, do the harder right over the easier wrong and never walk away from a deficiency.
Be a Team Player: Teamwork is what makes our Army Strong and we are members of the strongest team in the world. But, that doesn't come easy -- you have to work at it every day. Employ the 3C's: Coordination, Collaboration, and Cooperation. Cooperate with each other and the higher headquarters and share good ideas, best practices and lessons learned. Compare yourself to the standard not your flanks -- that's who you'll be fighting and winning with. We're all on the same team -- Team Jackson. As a leader, you are responsible to build a disciplined, cohesive, agile, effective, high performing and elite team; one that your team members want to be members of. One that is proud to wear the hat, the T-shirt, and uniform. Leadership is about building a highly effective and cohesive team with strong team players.
Be Good to People: Leaders are in the People Business -- they are the key to our success. People are the centerpiece of our formation -- the Strength of Fort Jackson is our People -- Soldiers, Civilians, Families, Retirees, and Veterans. Leadership is about taking care of your People. Know them, keep them informed, make their lives as predictable as possible and be sensitive to their wants and needs. Focus on dignity and respect, quality of life, proper training and equipment, Family readiness, and timely recognition. Don't pay "lip service" -- keep your commitments. Submit OERs, NCOERs, appraisals and awards on time. Take care of your People, and the mission will take care of itself.
Be of Good Character: Your character is who you are. Without it, you don't have anything. It's how you're seen, known and remembered. Ensure you and your Soldiers live the Army Values, the Soldier, NCO, Drill Sergeant and Civilian Creed and the Warrior Ethos every day. Integrity is nonnegotiable -- do the right thing morally, ethically and professionally. Remember loyalty works both ways -- be loyal to your organization and subordinates and they'll be loyal to you. Communicate -- up, down, and laterally; tell the whole story. Be trustworthy, dependable and responsible -- always give 100 percent. Be courageous and have the guts to stand up for yourself, your People, and what you think is right. Be your unit's moral and ethical compass.
Be a Risk Manager: Everyone must be a Risk Manager -- 24/7, both on and off duty. Set the highest safety standards and meticulously manage risk with the tools you have available. Composite Risk Management must be an essential phase of everything we do -- if you don't know it, learn it now. Never walk away from an unsafe act or deficiency; when you do that, you've created a new standard. Remember "safety first." Stop unsafe acts before they lead to mission failure and loss of life, limb or eyesight. Don't be risk adverse, but don't tolerate accidents.
These are the principles I've used for 28-plus years -- they'll continue to be the basis for my leadership and command philosophy as the 45th Commander of Fort Jackson.
Victory Starts Here!