12 Leadership Tips That Every Staff Officer Should Live By
Editor’s Note: A version of this article by James King originally appeared on The Military Leader, a blog by Drew Steadman that provides leader development resources and insight for leaders of all professions.
Staff officers are not often seen as dynamic leaders who are pivotal to a unit’s success in combat. Very few history books are written, and even fewer movies are made, about the exploits of a staff officer who saves the world. They are generally depicted as the bumbling fool or road-blocking bureaucrat who holds the hero back from accomplishing the mission.
That was my impression of staff work when I stepped foot into the headquarters of 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division for the first time back in 2008. As a junior captain, my only previous experience in the Army had been as a platoon leader in a different MOS and as the intelligence trainer on an Iraqi army military transition team. With the minimal amount of experience I brought to the table as a staff officer, I expected to spend maybe a few months on the brigade staff before being sent down to a battalion for some desperately needed seasoning.
Imagine my surprise when I was told that due to a lack of field grade officers, I would not be going to a battalion any time soon. Instead, I would serve as the brigade S2, the senior intelligence officer responsible for providing the commander with a picture of the enemy that allows him to make informed decisions on the battlefield. Additionally, as the senior intelligence officer in the brigade, I’d be responsible for developing the subordinate unit S2s and their soldiers. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for the unit), my subordinate S2s were all second lieutenants fresh …read more
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