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Essay about MSG Nastvogel: The Army Leadership Requirements Model

When I arrived at my current unit, the first team lead that I was assigned to was an uninspiring guy. His only idea of leadership was going to the gym for a PT smoke session. Mentorship, improvement of technical skills, and career development weren’t even on the radar. Fortunately for me, less than a year later, he moved on and I received a new team leader — MSG Estefan Nastvogel. The change was like night and day. MSG Nastvogel not only could manage those PT sessions, but also brought a breadth of experience, and most importantly, a genuine interest in developing the soldiers on his team.

Although he is no longer my team leader, his influence has remained with me. The Army Leadership Requirements Model, found in ADRP 6-22, enumerates the three key attributes of Presence, Character, and Intellect, as well as the three core competencies of Leads, Develops, and Achieves. This paper will utilize that framework to review the impacts of MSG Nastvogel on the Army, the NCO Corps, and me personally, and describe how his example has shown me a path toward developing my own leadership skills. MSG Nastvogel is the very avatar of military presence. When he walks into the room wearing the uniform, there’s no doubt who is in charge.

His bearing commands respect. In meetings, he’s respectful in demeanor but passionate in his defense of what he believes to be the correct course of action. He hits the gym regularly, even on weekends, and it’s obvious. Although I have no illusions that I’ll ever be able to match him from a physical perspective, I do aspire to have that same type of presence — confident, knowledgeable and capable, the sort of person you want making the difficult decisions that are sometimes demanded of a soldier and a leader. MSG Nastvogel consistently demonstrates strength of character.

The Warrior Ethos is second nature to him — the mission always comes first, even when it comes at a cost to his private life. Last summer, an urgent requirement came up, and he was the only one available. Even though he’d only returned from his previous deployment less than two months previously, he heeded the nation’s call, shouldered the burden and deployed yet again. He’s never stingy with his time when he’s home, either. Coming to this course, I was just coming off of a month’s OCONUS leave, and therefore id not have an APFT on record within the previous 30 days. Time was growing short, and I was getting worried.

I mentioned it via phone to my old mentor, and he immediately offered to help. In the middle of a four-day weekend, he gave up family time with his two young children to organize and administer an APET for me — and he’s not even in my chain of command anymore. This sort of attitude and flexibility enable the Army to succeed despite daunting obstacles. His character inspires those with whom he serves to be the best soldiers that they can be, serving both the nation and each other. The intellectual traits embodied by MSG Nastvogel are possibly even more striking than his presence and character.

When a new piece of technical gear arrives, you don’t need to wonder who’ll be the first to put it through its paces — you know that MSG Nastvogel is on the job. He maintains functional knowledge of a vast array of systems and frequently serves as a trainer for them. When the job demanded that he learn another language to be able to work with foreign partners, he dove right in. He inspired a passion for innovation in his team that has stood me in good stead. I was given the freedom to try new ideas — some didn’t work, but others were very successful.

In this manner, we evolved the team from being not only expert users of our tools, but developers of new tools. This sort of innovation is critical to success on the rapidly evolving technological battlefield we now inhabit, and, thanks to expert mentorship, I feel prepared to dominate that battlefield. I will likely be a team leader myself soon, and I plan to instill those same intellectual attributes of expertise and innovation in my soldiers. MSG Nastvogel devoted a lot of effort into developing not only his own abilities, but those of the soldiers on his team.

When I struggled to acquire the resources to try out some new ideas, he walked me through the paperwork required to get the necessary equipment. Now, armed with that knowledge and experience, I am able to navigate the process on my own. He fought for budget dollars to get us extra training when we needed it, and the results of that have been self-evident. Every member of the team developed new skills under his watch. The positive atmosphere which he fostered on our team has led to our being one of the most motivated, empowered teams in our workplace.

Even though he has moved on to another assignment, that feeling persists within our group, and his influence carries on. He clearly demonstrated the value of investing time and resources in his subordinates, and I strive to carry that lesson forward by coaching those with whom I work. MSG Nastvogel consistently achieves results, and he has fostered that goal-oriented work ethic in those around him. His leadership has resulted in streamlined processes, directing the work toward the most capable hands, and he has brought together people from various offices to achieve things that nobody before had dreamed possible.

Additionally, when members of his team accomplished things that were either too subtle to be easily seen from outside, or members were too modest to brag about their successes, he reinforced their good performance by ensuring that they received recognition for their achievements. Our analytical work has shaped decisions made by senior military and civilian government leaders. He has promoted some of my successes, which helped me to build a strong reputation within our workplace and beyond.

He’s set me up for success by ensuring that those who require my skills are aware of what I can do for them — thus helping me to achieve at a high level, too. MSG Nastvogel clearly demonstrated the value in not only achieving goals, but in sharing the credit for those achievements with others — a valuable lesson for all leaders, and one that I try to enact consistently. MSG Nastvogel has influenced my understanding of quality leadership more than any NCO that I’ve worked with previously. Part of that is no doubt due to his impressive attributes, but part is also that I was in the right place in life to be receptive to his lessons.

I once heard a saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears. ” I’ve been fortunate to find an outstanding teacher to guide me when I was ready. I should soon have my own team, and I hope to influence them in the same ways that I was influenced. I will be that leader who shares accolades; I will be the leader who goes out of his way to assist his soldiers. And Thope that, when I move on, one of those soldiers will have been impressed enough by my example to want to carry on the tradition, as I hope to carry on the tradition passed to me by MSG Nastvogel.

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