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Military Leaders Must Model ‘What Good Looks Like,’ Professionalism Chief Says

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1, 2016 — Senior commissioned and noncommissioned military leaders need to be role models for “what good looks like,” Navy Rear Adm. Margaret “Peg” Klein today told the services’ most-senior noncommissioned officers attending the 2016 Defense Senior Enlisted Leadership Council conference at the Pentagon.

Klein, the senior advisor to the secretary of defense for military professionalism, briefed the review of the 2016 Enlisted Professionalism Workshop that she and Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell sponsored.

Troxell is the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he asked Klein to brief the council, which consists of the top 25 service and combatant command senior enlisted advisors.

More than 50 service members of all ranks participated in the workshop, held earlier this year. The workshop identified common challenges across the services including toxic cultures, bullying, suicide and more.

Improving Military Leadership

The workshop participants used case studies to look at the problems, but, Klein stressed, they were not just looking at what went wrong.

“We looked for solutions aimed at E-5 to E-7 service members,” she said. “We really looked for best practices from individuals, units and institutions. What are junior leaders doing that is working every single day?”

Klein said the junior participants in the workshop were impressed to find out how much senior enlisted leaders care about their welfare.

“If you do nothing more but go back to your commands and have conversations with your subordinates” they will be having a positive impact, she said.

Setting the Example

Senior enlisted personnel need to set the example for their subordinates, Klein said.

Setting the example, she added, is the most-powerful teaching tool in any NCOs toolbox, and at the very senior level NCOs must speak as one.

“When you gather the combined voices of the service and combatant command senior enlisted advisors, you have an effect,” Klein said. “The collective heft of what you bring to the table helps build a community of practice.”

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)

Distribution channels: Military