While the Army draws down and promotions become more competitive, leaders look for ways to hone their leadership skills and make themselves stand apart from their peers.
In order to give the battalion’s junior soldiers an introduction to Army leadership, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division hosted a two-day Team Leader Development Course Oct. 28-29.
“The Team Leader Development Course is designed to familiarize and introduce the junior leaders of the battalion to the expectations, challenges and requirements of being an NCO in today’s military,” said the battalion’s Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge C. Escobedo.
Nearly 40 soldiers between the ranks of specialist to staff sergeant engaged in guided discussions on topics such as weight control, flags, financial management and military awards.
The course also consisted of instruction in physical readiness training, counseling, Army leadership, noncommissioned officer evaluation reports, wear and appearance of the military uniform, and training and leader development.
Escobedo said the course was developed to develop “disciplined, effective, competent, motivated, and highly adaptable leaders, who are able to learn from their mistakes, are capable of motivating and inspiring soldiers, and have the commitment to live the Army standards every day by setting the example for others to follow.”
Lack of quality leadership is also a retention issue, he said.
“Some soldiers aren’t willing to reenlist because they don’t have good leadership to teach, coach and mentor them,” he said. “If you don’t have good leadership, what is the incentive to reenlist? Soldiers want to be what they’re being taught to be. If I get those good leaders, I’m inspired to re-enlist.”
Leader reaction course
The course allowed the soldiers to learn from the other soldiers in attendance as well, not just during the discussions, but also during the culminating activity of the course — the leader reaction course.
The soldiers were divided into teams of five and given ammunition boxes, ropes, pipes, wooden planks and 20 minutes to negotiate the obstacles. Each team was required to get from one side of each obstacle to the other without touching anything painted red, the walls, the catwalk or the water.
“I think it’s exceptional,” said 1st Sgt. Thomas W. Duke, of the Division Signal Company. “It builds teamwork with soldiers that don’t normally work together. It also forces NCOs to work their leadership skills and working as a whole team, both NCO and soldier, all alike. Everyone has a valuable piece to mission accomplish.”
Many soldiers found the course to be a valuable learning experience.
“The most valuable part of this course was learning to work together as a team, getting out of your comfort zone, and doing things you wouldn’t normally do,” said Staff Sgt. Jason R. Morgan, a euphonium player with the 1st Cavalry Division Band.
Cpl. Ian Faught, a help desk technician with the Division Signal Company, said he valued the bonding experience.
“Getting everyone involved, especially with everyone being around the same rank, it’s good to see everyone stepping up,” Faught said.