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Effective Listening And The Army Leader

Army leaders motivate people both inside and outside the chain of command to pursue actions, focus thinking and shape decisions for the greater good of the organization. (ADP 6-22, p. 1) The difference between listening and hearing is that hearing is sensing with our ears the words that are being spoken listening involves our other senses to help us understand the words being spoken. To be an effective Army Leader you have to not listen to your soldiers but be an effective listener. An effective listener is listening to the words of the speaker, and the meaning of the words. It is the process in which the listener takes active responsibility to understand the content and feeling of what is being said and then checks with the speaker to see if he/she heard what the speaker intended to communicate. To do that effectively in the military, whenever someone is talking you should show content, feelings, process, and clarification. Make sure you are always checking the attitude and the atmosphere. Keep the channel open to avoid short circuits. To be listening there must be a response from the listener.

Once someone is done speaking, and to make sure that you completely understand the speaker you could clarify if you are confused, and paraphrase what they have said. Finally, an Army leader is anyone who by assumed role or assigned responsibility inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals. (ADP 6-22, p. 1) There is a lot of ways that a Leader chooses to lead, but there is no training, doctrine, or tactics that show you could be a good leader in today’s Army. SM choose different ways to lead soldiers, and although some ways might be more effective than others. No one could give you a clear answer to the question, “What does it take to be a good leader?” “The 39th chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley, aptly stated that the traits we seek in today’s Army leaders include agility, adaptability, flexibility, mental and physical resilience, competence, and most importantly character.” (Lt. Gen. Robert S Ferrell) “Some right things that good leaders turn into daily habits include always treating people with dignity and respect. Earning and building the trust of your Soldiers, civilians, peers, families, leaders, and the public. Setting the highest standards and holding yourself and everyone in your organization accountable for maintaining them.

Communicating horizontally and vertically, openly, transparently, and continually. Mentoring, evaluating, and recognizing your team members honestly and fairly. Reading and reflecting on the Army profession, your branch, your organization, and your mission. Maintaining balance by devoting time to your family and community. Having fun by embracing your responsibilities with enthusiasm and optimism.” (Lt. Gen. Robert S Ferrell) When you become a Leader in the United States Army you do not instantly become the best Leader, you become a good Leader by living the Army Values daily. You would not have the answers right away but learn how to be a good leader over time.

We would not be able to answer the answer of, “What makes an effective Army Leader?” That question would never be able to get answered, but as the world continues to change so will the ways that an Army Leader adapts to the “New Army”. Given all that this generation of NCOs and officers has accomplished in the last 15 years of conflict, I am confident that we are building a cadre of exceptional leaders to take our force to 2025 and beyond. (Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell) Effective listening is also key to be a good Army Leader. To be a effective leader in the military you have to be able to listen effectively, and be the Army Leader. SGM Washington told me before I left to BLC what did I expect to get out of this class. I was mostly interested in how to counsel correctly, then SGM told me to search up the wise old owl. When I searched I did not know what he meant but going through the course I realized that I do not have all the answers. A wise old owl sat in an oak, the more he heard, the less he spoke; the less he spoke, the more he heard; Why aren’t we all like the wise old owl?

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