Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Primary Leadership Training

Over the weekend of September 25-27, I completed the first of three courses in leadership development required for non-commissioned officers in the Texas State Guard.  Unlike basic training, prior federal military service does not earn an exemption from the studies. PLT is required for promotion to E-5 (Army sergeant, Air staff sergeant, or Maritime petty officer second class). Following that are BNOC and ANOC, the basic and advanced courses for sergeants (and petty officers) through the highest grades. The BNOC and ANOC classes ran concurrently to ours.  

Delivered in a standard classroom environment via PowerPoint slides supported by lectures, the PLT course covered the missions of the TXSG, the principles of leadership, the basic structure of written orders, the chain of command, the essentials of critical thinking and effective listening, and the fundamentals of motivation.  We also received an overview of WebEOC operations. Our instructor was a command chief master sergeant from the TXSG Air Component Command. He was also the non-commissioned officer in charge for the weekend. In addition to the airmen, most of us were TXSG Army component, while four were from Maritime. 

Critical Listening
"The ability to listen critically is essential in a democracy. On the job, in the community, at service clubs, in places of worship, in the family—there is practically no place you can go where critical listening is unimportant. Politicians, the media, salesmen, advocates of policies and procedures, and our own financial, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs require us to place a premium on critical listening and the thinking that accompanies it." – Listening Effectively by John A. Kline, Air University Press, 1996.
Of the forty in all three classes, four of us were from TMAR.
During the course, repetition defined the most important teaching points. 
  • The primary duties of a non-commissioned officer are to complete the mission and to take care of your troops.
  • The defining elements of leadership were encapsulated in the initialism LDRSHIP: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal courage.
Chosen best in our class by our instructor,
they are admiring their new challenge coins.
The Problem-Solving Process
1. Define the problem and the criteria for a solution.
2. Identify your options.
3. Evaluate the options against the criteria.
4. Assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and benefits.
5. Assess the risks and liabilities.
6. Compare the alternatives.
7. Identify and select the best alternative within the resources available.
(from the Civil Air Patrol Squadron Leadership School Squadron Leadership School Seminar 4.3 online here.)


PREVIOUSLY ON NECESSARY FACTS

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