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This is a book of quotations by and about noncommissioned officers, and spans centuries of the Army’s experience in peace and war. It includes all members of the Total Army: the Active Army, the Reserve Components (Reserves and National Guard), the Army Family, the Civilian Corps, Veterans, and the Retired Corps, and has three purposes...:

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The purpose of leadership is to accomplish the mission- to get the job done. This challenge to get the job accomplished is the same whether a soldier is a squad leader, a leader in a staff assignment, or a company first sergeant. This challenge also applies whether the people being led are active-duty soldiers, Army Reservists, National Guardsmen, civilians, or retirees. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "NCOs Are the ‘Vital Link in the Chain of Command.’" ARMY, Oct 1985, p. 64

Contrary to what many believe, leadership is both an art and a science.... Leadership must be studied as a science and applied as an art. -MSG Douglas E. Freed, "Learning to Lead." Army Trainer, Fall 1987, p. 29

If you’re technically and tactically proficient, if you comply with the Army’s standards and policies, and if you lead by example, you won’t have any problem. If you don’t, you’ll have problems with your soldiers. You can’t fool them. You never could, and you never will. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "Soldiers Deserve the Best Leaders." Soldiers, Dec 1985, p. 8

Leadership is the overriding encompassing competency.... This competency tightly meshes with FM 100-5 [Operations]- the most essential dynamic of combat power is competent and confident officer and noncommissioned officer leadership. Leaders inspire, direct, motivate, give cause to and provide the will to win in conflict, and this, too, is powerful stuff. -CSM Marcelino Malavet, "Regimental Command Sergeant Major." Military Police, Jan 1994, p. 4

A leader does not "choose" the best or most opportune time in which to lead. A good leader takes the challenge whenever and wherever it presents itself and does the best he or she can. -SMA Richard A. Kidd, in "The Army’s SMAs from the Beginning to the Present." NCO Journal, Summer 1994, p. 13

You must...love being a soldier; love being around other soldiers; love leading, training, and caring for soldiers and their families; be technically and tactically proficient; be dedicated, motivated, physically fit, mentally alert, and morally straight; believe in your fellow soldier, in your Army, and in your nation; strive to be all you can be. And, if you’re a leader, want the same for those in your charge. -SMA Richard A. Kidd, "Being a Soldiers." Soldiers, May 1994, inside back cover

As the enlisted leadership, we are always there, and because we are always there, soldiers expect more from us. They expect us to understand them, help them, suffer with them- and if necessary, to live or die in combat with them. We are theirs, and they are ours. They are a reflection of ourselves, and we are what they have made us. Those NCOs who consider themselves a success should never forget that they are a product of successful soldiers with whom they served and led. -CSM John W. Gillis, "NCO Leadership at the Company Level." Armor, Nov-Dec 1981, p. 9

The one thing that makes a group especially important...is its dedication to an ideal or principle greater than the individual himself.... Leadership cannot exist apart from the human need for a sense of meaning. Soldiers derive that sense from confidence in their abilities to succeed, respect from their superiors and associates, membership in an important group, and service to an ideal greater than themselves. -MSG John McLennon, "How Do You Set Their Souls on Fire?" NCO Journal, Fall 1991, p. 13

Leadership is character in action. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1948, p. 15

We don’t need "leaders" who stay warm on cold days by oil barrels while their men freeze on the grenade ranges. If they get cold, the leader ought to get just as cold. And when he marches back to the barracks with them after that kind of day, they know he is one of them. -Drill Sergeant Karl Baccene, in "It’s Tough to Be the First Domino." ARMY, Feb 1971, p. 41

The best NCO is an aggressive (but tactful) NCO who wants to be the best and wants to get the job done right now. If a guy is really aggressive, even though he may be hardcore, people will follow him, because they know they can depend on him. If they’ve got a promotion coming, they know he’ll see that they get it. And they know if they goof up he’ll see that they get what’s coming to ’em for that, too. -an SFC, in "The Intangibles of Being a Good NCO." Recruiting & Career Counseling, Oct 1977, p. 11

There is no secret to good leadership and good units. Our profession is a way of life. We must set the standard of excellence, meet that standard, and help all soldiers to meet it.... Throughout my career I have observed that great leaders at all levels focus on the mission. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "Hard Work, Leadership Still Keys to Quality." ARMY, Oct 1984, pp. 53, 51

During World War II the Army [interviewed] thousands of soldiers to get their ideas on leadership. [The top two qualities men thought good leaders should have are ability, and interest in the welfare of the men.] -Handbook and Manual for the Noncommissioned Officer, 1952, pp. 4, 5

It being on the non-commissioned officers that the discipline and order of a company in a great measure depend, they cannot be too circumspect in their behaviour towards the men by treating them with mildness, and at the same time obliging every one to do his duty. By avoiding too great familiarity with the men, they will not only gain their love and confidence, but be treated with a proper respect; whereas by a contrary conduct they forfeit all regard, and their authority becomes despised. -MG Frederick von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, 1779, p. 148

Noncommissioned officers can do much to prevent the commission of offenses by members of their command, both when on and when off duty...by studying their men and taking an interest in their welfare; by exercising restraint and common sense while at the same time preserving discipline. Some men can be handled only with stern and severe measures, while others are ruined if so handled. Sometimes a quiet talk from a noncommissioned officer whom the man respects [is the most] beneficial. -Noncommissioned Officers’ Manual, 1917, p. 34

NCOs like to make a decision right away and move on to the next thing...so the higher up the flagpole you go, the more you have to learn a very different style of leadership. -CSM Douglas E. Murray, USAR, in "Broadening the Picture Calls for Tuning Leadership Styles." ARMY, Dec 1989, p. 39

Leading and training soldiers is a lot like being a parent. Teach them right from wrong, set the right kind of example for them by your words and deeds, and hope for the best! My first platoon sergeant, SFC Zopp, would always say: "There is no such thing as a "dud," it’s just that some soldiers need closer and more continuous supervision than others!" -CSM Jimmie W. Spencer, in A Treasury of NCO Quotations, 1997, no page number

Sergeant Major Leadership

The title of sergeant major evokes many images: the steady, courageous leader whose very presence calms and settles his men on the eve of battle; the articulate, demanding senior NCO of the battalion who accepts only the highest standards of appearance, performance, and training; the experienced senior leader who always seems to have the answer or knows where to get it; and the ever-present embodiment of higher level commanders whose ability to communicate directly with line troops is so often taken for granted. -The Sergeants Major of the Army, 1995, p. 4

[The Sergeant Major] ought to be the universall procurer of the souldiers good, procuring their payes, and that they be succoured in their necessities and wants.... It toucheth not onely the Sergeant Major to be a generall maister of all Militarie discipline, and the universall procurer of all necessarie things for the souldiers bodies (as I have sayd) but he is also precisely bound to be the procurer of their soules health. -The Theorike and Practike of Moderne Warres, 1598, pp. 110, 111

The sergeant major...lives by principle, searching his conscience daily and making decisions based on tolerance, humility, understanding, and real affection for all the men and officers concerned.... More than any other person, the sergeant major respects the fitness and necessity of the status quo. At the same time, he burns to see change and adjustment benefit the individual soldier. Deaf ears in both the officer corps and the enlisted ranks have thrust him into the role of interpreter. He belongs to two worlds. How well he does his job depends upon how well other people understand what it is. -SGM Robert B. Begg, "Sergeant Major." ARMY, Jan 1966, p. 39

If there is a good RSM there is a good regiment- a bad one and life becomes hell! -RSM R. Hopton, in On the Word of Command, 1990, p. 178

One of the greatest rewards that goes with the job [of CSM] is having the chance to shape the Army. You can influence the destinies of soldiers and make the Army better. You have a say in what the Army is going to be, through your day-to-day actions and your dealings with soldiers. -CSM Frank Meads and other CSMs, in "Command Sergeant Major: A New Breed of ‘Old’ Soldier." Soldiers, Mar 1981, p. 29

[Our BN CSM] is our voice in things that need to be ironed out at a higher level, things we aren’t able to handle ourselves. -1SG Robert Spencer, in "Command Sergeant Major: A New Breed of ‘Old’ Soldier." Soldiers, Mar 1981, p. 31

When you’re sergeant major of a battalion you pick up the phone and things really move. -SMA Leon L. Van Autreve, "As I See It." Soldiers, Jul 1975, p. 9

The serjeant major, being at the head of the non-commissioned officers, must pay the greatest attention to their conduct and behaviour, never conniving at the least irregularity committed by them or the soldiers, from both of whom he must exact the most implicit obedience. He should be well acquainted with the interior management and discipline of the regiment, and the manner of keeping rosters and forming details. -MG Frederick von Steuben, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States, 1779, p. 144

The sergeant major uses the knowledge and experience he’s gained over the years to make the efforts of the enlisted men more effective. He knows the best routes to follow through (and outside) channels to carry out any order or request. He uses this knowledge to teach others, and to make the whole command operate more smoothly and effectively. Some day, the sergeant major is going to retire. When that day comes, he wants his hard-earned wisdom to go on working for the good of the command.

On the personal side, the sergeant major is as quick with a compliment as he is with a criticism. He can judge when a word of encouragement will do more than a lecture on SOP. And he knows his men, so he’s alert to catch problems before they can cause real trouble for the soldier or for the command....
He explains the commander to the enlisted men and the troops to the old man. He is a sounding board and a safety net. He is a trouble-shooter and an improvisor. He is the buffer for conflicting viewpoints and the smoother of troubled waters.... The sergeant major is a man who has gone the whole route. He’s experienced everything, both good and bad, that the Army has to offer. -CSM Bob L. Williams, "The Sergeant Major." Infantry, Sep-Oct 1969, p. 19

Authority and Responsibility

A Caporal...hath an absolute command of his Squadron, neither may any in it disobey him. -Military Essayes of the Ancient Grecian, Roman, and Modern Art of War, 1671, p. 219

Leaders are given authority, status, and position so they may be of greater service to subordinates, units, and the country. -NCOPD Study, Vol 1, 1986, p. 56

NCO authority is awesome, and it comes with an equally awesome responsibility: to use that authority wisely and well. -SGM Carlo Roquemore, "How NCOs Support Military Justice." Sergeants’ Business, Mar-Apr 1990, p. 2

The Serjeant [is] an Uncommissionated Officer. -Military Essayes of the Ancient Grecian, Roman, and Modern Art of War, 1671, p. 219

Because you have additional responsibility, you are also given additional authority.... Your authority will rarely be challenged once you have earned the respect and confidence of the soldiers in your unit. -CSM Roy C. Owens, "Thoughts for New Sergeants." Infantry, May-Jun 1988, p. 19

The stripes on your sleeve mean that you have the authority of the whole Army behind you. -Handbook and Manual for the Noncommissioned Officer, 1952, p. 12

"Noncommissioned" in the military sense, then and now, means that entry to or occupation of a position of responsibility and authority is based not upon formal education and "commissioning," but upon demonstrated competency and continued performance, and that personnel in that position are key or essential for effective operation of units. -FM 22-600-20, The Duties, Responsibilities and Authority of NCO's, 1977, p. 14

It is...the duty of the man who exercises the sacred right of command to forget his own importance. -Instructions for the Non-Commissioned Officer, 1909, p. 5

Nearly everybody needs a little humbling from time to time. -SGT Bill Mauldin, Up Front, 1945, p. 184

Never underestimate the power of a sergeant. -LTG W. L. Weible, "Here’s Why, Sergeant Bowles." Combat Forces Journal, Nov 1954, inside front cover

Leadership Developing from Leader to Leader

[The challenge to NCOs at all levels is to] guide, mentor, and/or preach if necessary. Set the example. Encourage self-development, but you be the catalyst. Let them know that you are ready to help. The reward will be inside you and will be visible in your soldiers. Do it right, and they will pass it down to the next generation of NCOs. -CSM John D. Woodyard, "Are You a Whetstone?" NCO Journal, Summer 1993, p. 18

Leadership goes right down the line. -SFC Herbert McGhee, in "Preparing for the Storm: Enlisted Leadership in Action." NCO Journal, Spring 1991, p. 12

Leadership grows within the man.... You become a better leader as you become a better man. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1962, p. 38

Faults of leadership are usually reflected in those of their assistants. -"The Noncom." Infantry, Sep 1945, p. 6

A good leader is like a good athlete. He must, first of all, have a love for the game. Then he must learn the fundamentals, practice them until he gains a degree of excellence and, finally, continue to strive for higher proficiency for as long as he remains active in the sport. -SMA Silas L. Copeland, "Winding Down of War Calls for Top Leaders." ARMY, Oct 1971, p. 27

No orders, no letters, no insignia of rank can appoint you as leaders.... Leadership is developed within yourselves. -SGM John G. Stepanek, "As a Senior NCO Sees It." Army Digest, Aug 1967, p. 6

One of the things that makes our Army great is we train and plan for all of our soldiers to be leaders. When the time comes, whether at peace or at war, the American soldier has and will rise to the occasion. -SMA Julius W. Gates, "NCOs: Maintain the Momentum." Field Artillery, Dec 1987, p. 46

The three pillars of leader development [are] institutional training, unit expertise, and self development.

1. The Noncommissioned Officer Education System that is now linked to promotions and our functional courses, such as the First Sergeant Course, serves as our institutional training.
2. The second pillar is our unit leader development. The most important place for a noncommissioned officer is in a unit- leading and training soldiers and being developed by unit leaders based on the commander’s training plan.
3. The third pillar is individual study and self improvement. This includes staying current on new battle doctrine and enrolling in self-development training and education. -SMA Julius W. Gates, "From the Top." Army Trainer, Fall 1989, p. 4

The most enduring legacy that we can leave for our future generations of noncommissioned officers will be leader development. -SMA Julius W. Gates, "From the SMA." NCO Call, May-Jun 1990, inside front cover

We have to, over a period of time, develop our NCO corps. We have to train those young men that we want as NCOs; and we must act to keep the very best we can. They are the Army’s future. -GEN Edward C. Meyer, "Chain of Command: It Links Private to President." Soldiers, Oct 1979, p. 8

Leaders Are Made, Not Born

A man cannot lead without determination, without the will and the desire to lead. He cannot do it without studying, reading, observing, learning. He must apply himself to gain the goal- to develop the talent for military leadership.... Leaders are developed! They are guided by other leaders; but they are made- largely self-made. -MSG Frank K. Nicolas, "Noncommissioned Officer." Infantry, Jan 1958, p. 79

If leaders were born, there would be no requirement for leadership schools or Officer and NCO Candidate Courses. Of course, much technical information is taught in these courses, but great emphasis is placed on teaching...how to lead. -DA Pam 360-303, The Challenge of Leadership, 1969, p. 1

Leaders are made, not born. -GEN John A. Wickham, address to SGMs, Collected Works, 1987, p. 143

Leadership is not a natural trait, something inherited like the color of eyes or hair.... Leadership is a skill that can be studied, learned, and perfected by practice. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1962, p. 38

Truthfully, it can be said that noncommissioned officers are made, not born, no matter how much rumor to the contrary. -SFC Daniel D. Brown, in "The NCO" In Their Own Words, 1991, no page number

Though some personalities lend themselves to leadership easier than others, everyone can lead, for leadership is learned. -Michael L. Selves (former NCO), in A Treasury of NCO Quotations, 1997, no page number

Leadership Evaluation by Soldiers

Who judges leadership, who determines that you are an NCO leader? Some will say the Army does, because the Army promotes you. Some say your superiors do, because they judge your success or failure. I say, the soldier determines what leadership is, because he is the one who must follow you into combat.... Those who think we should concentrate on values other than the hard values of the battlefield- those simple values of living or dying, winning or losing- are wrong.... Battles can be lost in many ways, but they can be won by leadership- demanding, hard driving, yet sensitive leadership. Your soldiers know this, and look to you to provide that leadership. -CSM John W. Gillis, "NCO Leadership at the Company Level." Armor, Nov-Dec 1981, p. 8

[If you are more worried about] personal rewards, evaluations, or what "the boss" is going to think...than about the mission and the soldiers, resolve it immediately or get out of the leadership business. Your soldiers will recognize and "tune out" a phony in a very short time. -CSM John D. Woodyard, "My LT and Me." NCO Journal, Winter 1993, p. 10

What do young soldiers want? During my travels to units throughout the Engineer Corps, I have asked this question many times. The number one response is: a good, fair, caring, and strong leader. -CSM Roy L. Burns, "Retaining the First-Term Soldier." Engineer, Apr 1995, p. 65

Soldiers...expect their sergeants to be professional, set the example, and kick them in the butt when they need it. -SMA Julius W. Gates, "Noncom Know How." Soldiers, Aug 1987, p. 21

Private eyes, known for stalking from within shadows, are watching you. Your every action is discreetly noted. Chapters can be written on your appearance. Comments on your attitude can fill volumes. These "private eyes" are not mysterious soldiers, but young, inquisitive observers. They’re watching to pattern themselves after you in their pursuit of successful soldiering.... To succeed, private eyes make numerous, spilt-second evaluations every day. For most, appearance and attitudes speak louder than words. -MSG Stephen J. Sanderson, "Private Eyes- They’re Watching You." EurArmy, Oct 1988, pp. 4, 5

It is very clear to subordinates whether the leader has the unit’s best interest at heart, or his own. -Michelle A. Davis (NCO family member), in Command, Leadership, and Effective Staff Support, 1996, p. 150

Evaluating Leadership

If you want a practical guide to leadership, think back over your own Army service. What were your best leaders like? What was wrong with the poor ones? Who is the best leader in your company or regiment? Why? In the virtues and shortcomings of others you will see...what a leader should and should not do. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1962, p. 44

We need to examine ourselves from time to time: to see if we measure up as good leaders.... Pull out that worn copy of FM 22-100 and read it again. You may find it a whole lot more interesting this time. -SMA Silas L. Copeland, "Winding Down of War Calls for Top Leaders." ARMY, Oct 1971, p. 27

When NCOs stand in front of their soldiers, they will see a reflection of themselves. Look into their eyes, and you’ll know how well you are leading. -SMA Gene C. McKinney, "Our Army- In Touch with America." ARMY, Oct 1995, p. 33

If a noncommissioned officer fails to get the respect his rank entitles him to he had better start looking more closely at the guy he shaves every morning. -MSG Frank J. Clifford, "How to Be a Noncom." Combat Forces Journal, Dec 1954, p. 25

Training and leading are full-time jobs. If you want to see how big each is, take a piece of paper and write "Training" on the top left and "Leading" on the top right. Now list below each area the responsibilities you have to your subordinates. You will run out of paper long before you run out of responsibilities. Recommitting ourselves to leading and training is like spring cleaning the garage. We get rid of junk and outdated ideas that are taking up space and are prohibiting us from storing important and current information, thoughts, and ideas. -CSM Robert A. Dare, "NCOs for the XXI Century Army." NCO Notes, No. 96-2, Sep 1996, p. 2

Faults [can attach] themselves like barnacles. -SGT Ben Moskowitz, "Revise Article 15." ARMY, Nov 1952, p. 82

Soldiers...will tax the abilities of those appointed over them with their demands for aggressive, positive leadership to provide the guidance they need to become professionals. -SMA William A. Connelly, "The Worsening Plight of the ‘Army’s Own.’" ARMY, Apr 1980, p. 9

There are no bad units with good leadership, and there are no good units with bad leadership- at least not for long. What will your unit be like? -CSM Roy C. Owens, "Thoughts for New Sergeants." Infantry, May-Jun 1988, p. 19

Leadership and Respect

Even when soldiers behave in immature or hostile ways, your duty is to treat them with respect by responding professionally.... Any time you, as a leader, degrade a soldier, you have violated your contract to make subordinates winners. -MSG John McLennon, "How Do You Set Their Souls on Fire?" NCO Journal, Fall 1991, p. 13

A quiet, imperturbable temper, combined with firmness and resolution, will of itself enforce obedience and command respect. -Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers, 1865, p. 148

The noncommissioned officer...who always does his duty and requires others to do the same, will always command respect, admiration, and obedience. -Noncommissioned Officers’ Manual, 1917, p. 17

You will initially receive respect, based upon your leadership position, but you can only retain...respect and confidence through daily examples of courage, candor, competence, and commitment.... Soldiers...want to have a leader to look up to. -TC 22-6, The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide, 1990, pp. 36, 42

When a new battalion commander called to say he would be late for a scheduled briefing from an NCO in the S3, it told us a great deal about what kind of commander he would be. This kind of respect for subordinates’ time means a great deal to soldiers. -MSG Arnold L. Taylor, in A Treasury of NCO Quotations, 1997, no page number

Never say "lower enlisted soldiers"- always say "junior enlisted soldiers." Don’t use the term "common soldier"- we are all soldiers in a common cause. -SMA Gene C. McKinney, address, 1996 AUSA Convention

Leading by Example

Now more than ever our young soldiers need heroes. They look up to us, as their leaders, for guidance and moral strength. We are constantly in their eyes. They watch, evaluate, compare, categorize, judge, and form opinions about us based on what we demonstrate to them. If we disillusion or disappoint them by improper conduct, we lose them. It is as simple as that.... Our young soldiers [yearn] for discipline and guidance. As leaders we must ensure we don’t let them down. -CSM Joshua Perry, "Regimental Command Sergeant Major." Military Police, Jun 1990, p. 4

Our young soldiers are at an age and period in their lives when they are easily influenced. If exposed to the right role model and leadership, their character traits can be positively influenced, and they can become better soldiers as well as better citizens. -CSM David P. Klehn, "Vantage Point." Military Intelligence, Jul-Sep 1989, p. 3

A Corporall, being an Officer...his carriage and behaviour should bee, such that all his Squadron might take good example thereby. -Anima’dversions of Warre, 1639, p. 195

You are supposed to be a yardstick for the men to measure their own performance of duty. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1948, p. 20

A good example will be copied both consciously and unconsciously. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1955, p. 466

It’s a fishbowl environment out there. You spend 24 hours a day with your soldiers. You can’t B.S. your way and be a good leader. If you’re not honest with them, they’re so close they can see it. When they need you to do something and you say you’ll do it, and you blow it off, they’ll see that too. You’re forced to become a good leader or you get pushed out of the way to make way for someone else to fill the gap and take on the responsibility. -MSG Earl Shelley, Desert Storm, "Moving Beyond Victory." NCO Journal, Summer 1991, pp. 16-17

The worst NCO I ever met was the equivalent of a Jedi master in the art of "Do as I say and not as I do." -SGT Gary St. Lawrence, "Learning from NCOs." INSCOM, Aug-Sep 1989, p. 5

The ability to lead by example has stood the test of time and rigors of battle. -NCO Guide, 1992, p. 2

If the leader or mentor "walks his talk," an unbreakable bond forms. The "Do as I say, not as I do," philosophy generates nothing but contempt and lack of initiative in soldiers. -SGMs Bobby Owens, Miles Pitman, Ben Moore, Arlie Nethken and Bill Miller, "The Warrior Spirit." NCO Journal, Spring 1994, pp. 8-9

Soldiers do what they see their leaders do. -MSG Garry J. Grilley, "To Close a Unit: Organize, Organize, ORGANIZE." NCO Journal, Winter 1994, p. 15

Be you Corporal or General your appearance, your words, your actions, even your very thoughts carry their influence with them either for good or bad. -"Talks by the ‘Old Man.’" National Guard, Aug 1914, p. 241

When you’re first sergeant, you’re a role model whether you know it or not. You’re a role model for the guy that will be in your job. Not next month or next year, but ten years from now. Every day soldiers are watching you and deciding if you are the kind of first sergeant they want to be. -a 1SG, in Polishing Up the Brass, 1988, p. 102

The Serjeant Major is the first Non-Commissioned Officer in the Regiment, and...must be master of every point connected with the drill, interior economy, and discipline of a Regiment.... He should set an example to the Non-Commissioned Officers by his activity, zeal, and personal appearance. -A Dictionary of the Military Science, 1830, p. 231

Sharing Hardships

Come on my boys, my brave boys! Let us pray heartily and fight heavily. I will run the same hazards with you. Remember the cause is for God and yourselves, your wives and children. -Sergeant-Major-General Philip Skipton, 1642, in An Anthology of Military Quotations, p. 175

The hardships the soldier must endure, the leader must also endure. -What the Soldier Thinks: A Monthly Digest of War Department Studies on the Attitudes of American Troops, WWII, Nov 1944, p. 5

One of the most important codes [is] shared hardship, which binds your men to you. -TGGS Special Text No. 1, Leadership for the Company Officer, 1949, p. 66

You cannot afford to be a prima donna. Always be willing to set the example, fully participate in all activities, and share the hardships as well as the triumphs. -CSM Charles T. Tucker, "NCOs: The Passport to Effective Training." Engineer, Fall 1985, p. 9

In war, if a great end can be accomplished by dispensing for a short time with the conveniences of daily life, it shortens the total amount of suffering and deprivation to do so; and commanding officers should not hesitate to dispense with the comforts to which they may be accustomed, and soldiers should endure, without murmuring, what has a tendency to shorten their sufferings in the aggregate. -Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers, 1865, p. 268

It is our sergeants above all who live by the words of a young George Marshall when he said, "When all are tired, cold, and hungry at the end of the day, it is the leader who puts aside his personal discomfort to look to the needs of his soldiers." -GEN Carl E. Vuono, Collected Works, 1991, p. 381

Leadership Presence

The most valuable resource is the soldier. He, or she, must trust the leader. If the troop is unable to see the squad leader, platoon sergeant, or platoon leader, how can the trust be gained? The principle of visibility is an exercise that must be practiced in a sincere manner. You are only able to do this in the soldier’s territory, not in the platoon office. -CSM James W. Frye, "From the Regimental Sergeant Major." Military Police, Winter 1984, p. 3

When a soldier looks up on the battlefield he will not see his first sergeant, sergeant major, company commander, battalion commander...he won’t even see his platoon sergeant! HE WILL see HIS sergeant! -NCO Lessons Learned, Oct 1989, p. 12

Back at headquarters is where you solve the biggest problems and prepare yourself to tackle still others, but the best study of soldiering is soldiers themselves, and you cannot do that sitting behind a desk.... It was important, I thought, that besides visiting the troop units we also get to what I call the "two-four-sixes," the detachments of only two people here or four there or six over that way. -SMA William G. Bainbridge, Top Sergeant, 1995, pp. 346, 201

Don’t command from the golf links [or] other pretenses at leadership by remote control. -SFC Forrest K. Kleinman, "Tips on Troop Leading." ARMY, Aug 1958, p. 43

If the first sergeant and sergeant major are tied to a desk, they are short-changing their NCOs and soldiers. That should never be allowed to happen. I am not saying that first sergeants and sergeants major do not get involved in paperwork. Certainly they do. But they have to balance that desk time with field time. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "As the SMA Sees It." Army Trainer, Fall 1984, p. 23

Leadership Through Inspiration

Wake up in the morning thinking of new ways to inspire men to do things.... You add on to the ego [a soldier’s] got, not tear it down. -Drill Sergeant George Baker, in "Drill Sergeant." Army Digest, Aug 1968, pp. 21, 22

Inspiration is the best means of influence. -SSG Christine L. Lansaw, in "The NCO" In Their Own Words, 1991, no page number

Sergeants must inspire soldiers to be more than they ever thought they could be. -CSM James A. (Art) Johnson, "Vantage Point." Military Intelligence, Apr-Jun 1991, p. 3

You [SGMs] must develop technical and tactical proficiency in yourself and your subordinates and instill in them a spirit to achieve and win. Instill in them the thirst for running with the swift- running with the swift instead of with the halt and lame. -GEN John A. Wickham, Collected Works, 1987, p. 144

In the building of our lives we have the examples of men who have gone before- men who are with us now...to whom we may look for inspiration. -The Old Sergeant’s Conferences, 1930, p. 135


We have to identify [those we want to retain] early, take them under our wings and develop them, teach them what they need to know, and send them to the noncommissioned officer education schools. If we do this in a timely manner, they will be much better leaders. At the same time, they will make the unit stronger. Ultimately, this will make the U.S. Army stronger. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "Soldiers Deserve the Best Leaders." Soldiers, Dec 1985, p. 6

[1SG Felix Helms] was tough as nails, but he always looked out for my best interests.... He was always trying to teach me something. I’d be on my way out the front door for the day and he’d call me in and say, "Come here, let me show you how to run a suspense file." Or, maybe it was how to counsel or how to set up a duty roster. It doesn’t really matter. When you get down to it, it’s not about what skills he taught me, it’s the fact that he gave a damn about me. -SMA Gene C. McKinney, in "SMA McKinney Launches Each Day with NCO Creed." NCO Journal, Fall 1995, pp. 15-16

CSM [John] Woodyard believed that mentorship was a fulltime responsibility. We found out, after his untimely death, that nearly 30 NCOs from previous assignments routinely corresponded with him seeking advice, support, and to discuss successes and failures.... Obviously, he made a positive impression on his fellow NCOs from years gone by and his counsel withstood the test of time. -LTC Gary J. Motsek, "CSM Woodyard’s Counsel, Influence Touched Many Lives." NCO Journal, Winter 1994, p. 22

Someone saw something in you once. That’s partly why you are where you are today. Whoever it was, had the kindness and the foresight to bet on your future. In the next 24 hours, take 10 minutes to write a grateful note to the person who helped you. -CMSgt Kathy Ballard, in "Banquet Honors Outstanding Airmen of the Year." Spacemaker, 16 Feb 1995, p. 10

Leaders don’t develop subordinates so much as they give them the means by which they can develop themselves. -MSG John P. Fillop, "An Architecture for Effective Counseling." Army Communicator, Winter 1988, pp. 10-11

Closely related to training is the concept of mentoring or guiding others. To be an effective mentor, you need the experience and wisdom of your years. You also have to care. If you really care about your soldiers, then you will devote the necessary time and attention to guiding them. Mentoring can take place anywhere. It is a key way to lead and to strengthen Army values. -DA Pam 600-25, US Army NCOPD Guide, 1987, p. 18

An effective way to help junior officers and NCOs realize their potential is to look at them two grades higher than they are at the present time, and focus on that. -COL Donald L. Langridge, in A Treasury of NCO Quotations, 1997, no page number

Mentoring and teaching are so important because the payback is so great. -CPT Edward L. Woodus and 1SG David Spieles, in A Treasury of NCO Quotations, 1997, no page number

Encouraging Soldiers and Building Confidence

The platoon sergeant’s job is one of challenge. It requires long hours, patience, and a desire to see others succeed.... You have a chance to make a difference, a chance to watch people grow.... As a platoon sergeant you may not get a lot of pats on the back. But the soldiers look to you for words of encouragement.... Bringing out the best in each soldier...gives the most satisfaction. -SFC Jack D. Pferdner, in "The Platoon Sergeant." Sergeants’ Business, Mar-Apr 1989, pp. 14, 15

All behavior in a stressful situation can be thought of as the result of either confidence or despair. The confidence factor grows whenever the soldier controls or eliminates a threatening situation by his own actions. When the same or a similar situation occurs again, he anticipates that he will be able to cope with it successfully because of his prior experience.... Accordingly, the Infantry leader must develop a soldier who knows what to do and when to do it, who wants to do it, and who can do it when the pressure is on. -1SG Walter D. Stock, "Leading to Confidence." Infantry, May-Jun 1978, p. 20

The great thing about the British Army today is the encouragement to the young man to give of his best, to do well, and be interested.... We believe that if you take the positive qualities of the soldier and develop them along the right lines to get the proper response and the encouragement, you will achieve the result you desire. -RSM J. C. Lord, To Revel in God’s Sunshine, 1981, p. 133

A soldier with low confidence needs your support and encouragement. -TC 22-6, The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide, 1990, p. 32

Forward! If any man is killed, I’ll make him a corporal! -CPT (LTG and former 1SG) Adna R. Chaffee, 6th Cavalry, the 1870s Kiowa-Comanche campaign, Indian-Fighting Army, pp. 133-134, 280

What sergeants do is build in the soldiers enough confidence in their ability to do their job under any circumstances so that they will do it under pressure. -GEN Donn A. Starry, "Sergeants’ Business." Military Review, May 1978, p. 7

A soldier’s confidence will grow if you show that you respect him and have faith in his ability. -The Noncom’s Guide, 1965, p. 49

A sergeant major once said, "Good sergeants aren’t made; they’re grown." But growth requires room. Where leaders lack confidence, there isn’t room. But one leader with confidence can create a climate where sergeants can grow. -"Sergeants Make It Happen." Field Artillery, Aug 1989, p. 24

Leadership Caring

Many junior leaders get confused about the term "taking care of soldiers." They think that taking care of a soldier is releasing a man at 1630 to go home...when, in fact, taking care of soldiers is training them properly- making sure they’re prepared for the next soldier of the month board, for example, which may mean not letting them go at 1630. -1SG Lloyd Smith, in "A Time to Become ‘Accelerated.’" ARMY, Mar 1989, p. 49

Soldiers...are supposed to take care of themselves; all you do is tell them how. -94-year-old SGM William Harrington, in "From the Parade Grounds of the Past to the Center Stage of the Present." ARMY, Dec 1989, p. 43

When we say, "Leaders care for their soldiers," we mean they are genuinely concerned about the problems soldiers face from day one! Leaders care "bone deep" not just "skin deep." When a soldier has a personal problem, the caring leader strives to assist in dealing with the problem head-on, whether the problem occurs during the soldier’s reception or during reassignment to a unit. -CSM Roy L. Burns, "Bridge the Gap." Engineer, Feb 1993, p. 45

We talk about leadership and say that to be a good leader you must have candor, commitment, courage, and competence. If you truly care...you will do all those things. If you care about our nation, if you care about the Army, if you care about the soldiers and their families, you’ll ensure you possess those qualities. -SMA Richard A. Kidd, in "SMA Speaks about Promotions, Leadership." Korus, Apr 1995, p. 7

A Serjeant or Corporal of a company must visit the sick in the infirmary twice every week.... If any Serjeant or Corporal is a patient in the infirmary, he must be aiding and assisting to the Doctor in keeping order and decency among the patients, and in detecting any mean practices committed in the infirmary. -The Military Guide for Young Officers, Vol 1, 1776, p. 248

Everybody tries for a pass every night these days. As usual, most of us NCOs do without and let the boys have them. -SGT Henry Giles, WWII, The G.I. Journal of Sergeant Giles, p. 16

Take care of each man as though he were your own brother. He is. -SMA William O. Wooldridge, "Understanding Soldier Problems." Army Digest, Apr 1967, p. 5

If a soldier knows you care about him, he’s more apt to work harder for you and the Army. The biggest thing I’ve learned as a leader...is to let a soldier know that you care for him, that you think a lot of him, and that you expect a lot from him. -Drill Sergeant David Blouin, in "Getting Back to the Basics." Sergeants’ Business, Mar-Apr 1989 p. 5

The perception from the junior enlisted ranks is that senior leaders are mainly worried about protecting their own interests and retirement benefits. But I think if a private sat in on this [1996 Senior Enlisted Leadership Conference as] I have, it would change his perception of the Army dramatically. It’s not just what these sergeants major say, it’s how they feel. You can see it in their eyes- they really care about helping all soldiers. -SSG Joseph Lister, in "Senior Enlisted Leaders Discuss Current Issues." NCO Journal, Summer 1996, p. 22

The strength of the noncommissioned officer corps comes from their genuine concern for the soldiers. -SGM Tommy Johnson, in TRADOC Pam 525-100-4, Leadership and Command on the Battlefield: Noncommissioned Officer Corps, 1994, p. 32

Leadership Climate

Every good soldier wants to live in an organized environment, secure in the knowledge that he or she will not be threatened or harassed by others, confident that his or her efforts will be recognized, and aware that the nonproductive soldier will be invited to leave. In such an environment, soldiers will be proud of their units and will demonstrate that pride with their performance and behavior. -SMA William A. Connelly, "The Soldier Remains Our Ultimate Weapon." ARMY, Oct 1979, p. 24

Leaders must create and sustain a leadership climate where fighting skills, innovations, competence, character development, and caring are rewarded- a climate where young people can grow to the fullest of their natural talents, and where young people can make mistakes and still survive. -FM 22-600-20, The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide, 1986, p. 44

The Army cannot tolerate an atmosphere of permissiveness. On the other hand, mistakes which are made in the learning process must be accepted lest we stifle creativity and enthusiasm. -NCOPD Study, Vol 2, 1986, p. J-9

Squad leaders, platoon sergeants, and first sergeants...create the leadership environment in which today’s Army concepts thrive or expire. -SMA Leon L. Van Autreve, in Guardians of the Republic: A History of the Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the U.S. Army, 1994, p. 353

We ought to work to develop an environment...where the mission is accomplished, but the "Can Do" attitude is replaced by the "Can Do, But Do It the Right Way" attitude.... We must refuse to promote a mindset and philosophy that goes against the honor, honesty, and commitment to high ideals the NCO Corps should stand for.... NCOs know what to do in combat when given an unlawful order. But, in peacetime garrison and field settings, ethical problems are more subtle, if not more prevalent.... We need to teach our young NCOs that if it can’t be done within the system, if it can’t be done legally and ethically, then it doesn’t need to be done. -MSG Jack D’Amato, "‘Nobody’s Business’ Creates Ethical Dilemmas." NCO Journal, Winter 1995, pp. 6, 7

"Zero Defects" is a dumb motto, except in matters of integrity. -CSM John W. Gillis, "A Matter of Integrity." Armor, Jan-Feb 1982, p. 9

Leadership Climate and Equal Opportunity

The success of our nation is dependent upon the contributions of everybody doing his best to make our nation great. -CW4 Harry Hollowell (former SGM), in Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Leavenworth in the 1930s and Early 1940s, p. 53

While serving in [the French Foreign Legion] I had learned that there were good and brave men outside my own country, and that courage, obedience, self-abnegation, and national pride are not the monopoly of any one race. -George Manington, 1895, in Rank and File, p. 413

[During WW II, when a Japanese-American unit from Hawaii was fighting in Europe Ernie Pyle asked] "Sergeant, why did you push on against that cluster of houses? You knew it was crowded with Germans." [The sergeant] replied in words that became famous both in Italy and America: "We had to. We fight double. Against the Germans and for every Japanese in America." Reported Pyle: "And they’re winning both their wars." -James Michener, Hawaii, pp. 789-790

Our country is founded on the proposition that all men are created equal. This means that they should be equal before the law. They should enjoy equal political rights, and they should have equal opportunities for education, employment, and decent living conditions. This is our belief, and we know it is right. We know it is morally right. And we have proved by experience that the more we practice that belief, the stronger, more vigorous, and happier our Nation becomes. -Harry S. Truman (former CPL and CPT), address, 1952, Harry S. Truman: The Man from Missouri, pp. 41-42

We want the Army to be society’s model of fair treatment. We want to assure that all soldiers are treated fairly, not because it is necessary but because it is right. -SMA Silas L. Copeland, "Let’s Build a Better Army." Soldiers, Jul 1971, p. 5

Many improvements [in quality of life] do not cost much...improved human relations, for one, and assuring the self-esteem and pride of all soldiers. How we as leaders treat one another can set an example. If we are intolerant of the origins or sex of soldiers, then chances are they will be, too. Our oath is modeled on the Constitution, which upholds the precepts of equality. -SMA Glen E. Morrell, "The NCO: More Vital Than Ever to Readiness." ARMY, Oct 1983, p. 30

Look past color and sex and simply see soldiers. -CPL Johnnie Lee Smith, in "What Do My Soldiers Look for in Their NCO Leaders?" Sergeants’ Business, May-Jun 1988, p. 11

Sometimes you have to fight for your opportunities, and determination and perseverance pay off. When the 1098th Transportation Company’s first female coxswain was told she could not go on an exercise because she was female, she came to see me as the company commander. After she said what she had to say about doing her job and leading her crew, she deployed. Leaders respect dedication and competence, and will support those who demonstrate those qualities. -MG Daniel G. Brown, in A Treasury of NCO Quotations, 1997, no page number

Keeping Soldiers Informed

There’s nothing that bothers soldiers more than not being informed about what’s going on or what training we’ll be doing. Without lead time they can’t be expected to react properly. -Platoon Sergeant David A. Lamberson, in "On Leadership." Soldiers, Mar 1985, p. 31

The worst is when we get no news. -CPL Frederick Pettit, Civil War, Infantryman Pettit, p. 118

NCOs [must] fully brief soldiers about all aspects of each mission in case they have to operate alone or in teams. -CSM Autrail Cobb, "JRTC and Combat Success." NCO Journal, Summer 1991, p. 11

Soldiers who feel informed about what is going on in the organization feel valued. They tolerate honest mistakes if the leader admits the error. If the leader tells them everything possible they come to believe in themselves, their leaders, and the organization. In their eyes they are the organization. Pride is taken in successes and shared hardships become a bond. While not recognized then, the uniqueness of this special experience is rarely forgotten. I was there. -CSM Brent H. Cottrell, "Keeping the Troops Informed." AUSA files, no date or page number

It was very obvious, very quickly that the most important thing we could do to continue the success and the momentum...was to keep people informed. -CSM Richard B. Cayton, Desert Storm, in TRADOC Pam 525-100-4, Leadership and Command on the Battlefield: Noncommissioned Officer Corps, 1994, p. 22

[Soldiers] want to know why they’re doing tasks and how those tasks fit into the overall mission. -SGM Harold G. Hull, "Good NCOs Change, Not Good Leadership." NCO Journal, Summer 1994, p. 23 Keep your men informed: get the word to the man who does the job. -DA Pam 350-13, Guide for Platoon Sergeants, 1967, p. 4

The leader should replace rumor with truth. Rumors are bits of information that are not based on definite knowledge, and they destroy confidence because they increase uncertainty. When preparing soldiers for combat, the leader can begin rumor control by stressing integrity. When a soldier discovers that his leaders have lied to him once, he stops believing everything. The leader can also begin an effective information program through which he should disseminate as much information as possible. Soldiers must be convinced that they are getting the whole story- the good and the bad. -1SG Walter D. Stock, "Leading to Confidence." Infantry, May-Jun 1978, p. 25

The soldier wants to know why.... Credible answers often require reevaluation of traditional ways of doing things to make sure that they are based on sound logic and judgment. If so, they should be explainable. If not, they should be changed. -SMA Silas L. Copeland, "The NCO Must Grow with Army." ARMY, Oct 1972, p. 25

Part of your job [as PA soldiers] is to interview officials who visit your unit. Do not allow great soldiers such as the Sergeant Major of the Army to visit your unit without getting an interview with him. He is a wealth of knowledge on what’s going on in our Army.... Some helpful hints that will go a long way as you do your job: Always look like a soldier. Never visit training unless you dress in the same uniform as those training. Wear a helmet, load-bearing equipment, and battle dress uniforms if that is what the soldiers training are wearing. Never show up in the field riding in the unit sedan wearing the class B uniform to write an article. Be a part of the training taking place. Lastly, take pride in yourself, your unit, and your public affairs mission. -CSM Art Johnson, "Public Affairs Soldiers." INSCOM, May-Jun 1995, p. 33

A good command information program makes good soldiers better soldiers.... NCOs tend to view public information as something outside their area of responsibilities and expertise, they, nevertheless, have an important role to play. Don’t forget that many of the faces seen on television are young soldiers- and that their appearance and the message they convey will impact on millions of viewers....

Soldiers’ information needs are seldom greater than when there is a change in routine operations. If expected to perform well in a deployment, soldiers need a lot of answers.... Most of all, they want to know that their families will be all right while they are away. Only when these information needs are satisfied do soldiers reach peak morale and performance.... Leaders who withhold bad news damage their own credibility with soldiers, who then turn to other sources for information that may be inaccurate. In those instances where the news is bad, the need for a quick and frank response is even greater. This limits the length of time bad news is in the spotlight and squelches rumor.... The soldier who knows the facts before reading or hearing about them from outside news sources is better prepared to evaluate that information. -MSG Ron Hatcher, "Soldiers & the Press." NCO Journal, Spring 1991, pp. 14, 15

[GEN Bruce] Clarke believed that officers could triple their effectiveness by the simple art of giving their sergeants the makings for explaining to the men "why." -Clarke of St. Vith, 1974, p. 184

The best way to get the word out in the Army is to talk to the NCOs. -GEN Carl E. Vuono, "Priorities, Challenges, and Expectations of Leaders." Military Police, Apr 1989, p. 22