Since the birth of the military in 1775, there has been Noncommissioned Officers (NCO). NCO’s are leaders within our ranks that not only develop and improve themselves but also their Soldiers. The job of a leader is to shape and mold subordinates, so that they may become better and surpass the leader.
Bill Murray stated (1981) “The Army needs leaders the way a foot needs a big toe” and he is correct, in his own funny way without leaders the army would be chaos.The Army defines Leader Development (2015) as “The deliberate, continuous, and progressive founded in Army Values that grow Soldiers into competent, committed professional leaders of character”. That does not happen overnight leader development is achieved through life, with training, education, and experiences. As a Soldier during a training environment and put into a leadership position you are in charge, it allows you to make mistakes so that you grow as a leader. Something that leaders overlook is that leader development is merely made of a counseling program and some leader development sessions.
However, as a Soldier coming into a leadership position, it is up to you to develop the formal and informal aspects of leader development. The formal aspects of leader development consist of counseling, evaluations, promotion boards, and qualifications. The informal aspects are mentorship, team building exercises, and sensing sessions. Informal aspects have the greatest impact on the Soldiers, however many organizations fail to recognize and include them in the leadership development plan.Education is another category that influences your leadership development, and mindset.
Education is a huge thing that is preached in the army, and its true to progress throughout the ranks you need education. Basic Leaders Course (BLC) is the first Non-Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) School that you go to in the army. BLC is built to train Soldiers who showed leadership potential in the fundamentals of leadership. Although BLC is a leadership development course it doesn’t make you a leader, it helps you bring out what you already have and enhance it. In BLC you realize many things on how to be a better leader, you have to see other ideas and point of views. You realize as a leader you have to work together, no one wins wars alone one team one fight. As you progress you then go to Advanced Leaders Course (ALC), Senior Leaders Course (SLC), and finally Master Leader Course (MLC).
Troop schools such as Airborne, Air Assault, Special Forces, and Ranger school are important as well as NCOES schools, as you progress you will be enlightened on more opportunities for yourself and your Soldiers. Your military education is extremely important in developing yourself, but with that never forget about your Soldiers.Experience is a big part of being a leader you learn from your past situation and know how to react.
After you been in the army for a while you know how to do certain things more efficiently than a new Soldier. You progress through the ranks and your mindset has changed since you been in so long, you are not that leader yelling and screaming all the time you are more empathetic. As a leader, you realize that you are not only developing Soldiers you are making role models for other Soldiers to look up to. Leadership can be bad or good as a good role model be an example for your Soldiers on how to present yourself. It is your duty and responsibility as an NCO to develop and your Soldier and shape him or her as a leader, teach them to put their best foot forward and continue developing others.
Inspector General Friedrich Von Steuben also was known as Baron Von Steuben, in 1779 standardized a set of rules and guidelines that an NCO needs to have if you are going to lead your troops. This set of rules is known as Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States or The Blue Book, according to Sergeant First Class (SFC) Shay (2009)The Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States was ready to be printed. Due to the war, however, there was a scarcity of paper. The first printer decided to bind the book with the blue paper he had on hand. This is how the book got the nickname: The Blue Book.The blue book is the history or foundation of how to be that leader that puts his Soldiers before his or herself. The idea of Leader Development is not just the responsibility of a single organization, it is a shared duty to not just develop his or herself but also others.
According to Leaders Requirements Model (LRM) (2015), leader development is what the Army expects you to be, know, and do. Be and NCO Know your job, task, or craft and Do what you need to do like a good NCO such as motivating your Soldiers. As long as we have effective followers and good leaders, the leader development lifestyle in the Army will keep going and we will continue to have an effective Army.