NCOs – Use ’em or Lose ’em

Welcome to the 19th post in the ProDev2Go Major Series. This series focuses on the transition from Company Grade to Field Grade Officer.

Non-Commissioned Officers serving on staff are often under utilized and their role is commonly  ill-defined or misunderstood.  Your entire career NCOs have made you a better leader, Soldier, and Officer.  Why stop this relationship as a Operations Officer (S-3) or Executive Officer (XO) in a battalion or brigade?  These three tips will enable you and your NCOs to maximize the power of your organization:

  • Establish a staff training program for your NCOs – Do not expect the high speed squad leader to automatically know how to perform as the schools NCO, battle NCO, or tasking manager.  You need to train and certify this leader.  He or she possesses the leadership skills required for the job, but the task is new and briefing skills must be developed.  You must develop a training program or the results are predictable.


  • The Operations Sergeant Major leads the staff NCOICs to solve unit problems.  The SGM needs 100% support from you to ensure there is zero friction with the staff primaries.  Enable the OPS SGM by making it clear that she has tasking authority over other staff NCOICs.  If there is a conflict, the NCOs will ensure all tasks are accomplished-  It’s what they do !


  • Ensure your NCOs are held accountable and are given the authority that comes with their position.  Nothing worse than a NCO that has become an expert on a topic after weeks of analyzing the issues and developing solutions being pushed aside when it’s time to brief the commander.  If you have a good training program your NCOs will clearly communicate and allow your officers to share the workload rather than taking it over.


To maximize the power of your organization as a field grade officer, hold all members of the staff accountable, establish a training program, and enable the OPS SGM. If you can do these things – You will be an effective field grade officer and help develop our future Command Sergeants Major.


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