The Army Team Leader
The Army puts a lot of responsibility on its lower-level leaders. They are held accountable for a wide variety of task and missions. The beginner leadership level in the Army is known as a team leader. This very well may be one of the most difficult and highly demanding positions in the Army. The team leader normally ranks as an E4 and above and should have at least two years of experience in the military. It is not uncommon for a highly responsible and mature E4 to hold this position as a specialist. In combat units, this should be a corporal.
What It Takes to Be a Great Team Leader
I believe that most team leaders should have at least two years of experience in the military. They should be very mature and responsible. This is the lowest level of leadership, so they should have taken the necessary leadership courses prior to assuming the position of team leader. A team leader needs to be very proficient in all MOS qualifications and standards. He or she should have an above average score in PT and MOSQ requirements. He or she should be respected by superiors because there is a high level of responsibility and trust associated with them as a team leader.
The team leader is normally young and lacks a lot of not only military experience but leadership experience as well. The most difficult part of this position is that you’re responsible for the beginning training of a recruit that has come straight from boot camp and MOS school. The most difficult part of this position is that you are normally put into a situation of leading peers and soldiers that you have been friends with for a long period of time. This part makes it a very difficult and very frustrating leadership position. A team leader must be able to separate this friendship and develop the trust and confidence with their peers. Depending on the unit size, a team leader will normally have as many as 4 soldiers that they are accountable for or as few as two.
How to Become a Great Team Leader
The most important part is to use your training and experience to lead your soldiers. Then you should constantly be learning and training yourself to be a better leader. In this position, you will make mistakes. However, turn the mistakes into experiences; learn from them and don’t make them again. The worst thing you can do as a team leader is have what is called “blue light syndrome.” This is where you act like a power-hungry, “do as I say” type of leader. You cannot do that, especially not these days with our technology, cell phones, and internet-driven world. You should lead your soldiers by training them, passing on knowledge and experience, and holding them to a high standard of accountability and responsibility. You will gain respect from your peers and your leaders as well. Great leaders need to hold themselves to a higher standard and be willing to accept the responsibility of their soldiers’ mistakes and failures. You must set goals, timelines, and responsibilities for each member of your team and then hold them accountable for each assigned task. Accept no excuses if they fail to complete these tasks. A team leader must set the standard for their team and exceed all expectations. Here is an example: If the unit PT score standard is 240, you as a team leader should strive to have every soldier on your team at 250 and you yourself at 260. You want your soldiers to look up to you, trust you, and respect you. This is gained and earned by being the best on your team and leading by example. You should always set goals for yourself and be ready when needed to step into a higher position, such as squad leader. You have to train each member of your team to be you at any time. Your team should always be ready to complete the unit’s mission and task at any time without warning. You should always be prepared.
As a team leader, your soldiers are counting on you to take recruits and turn them into soldiers that can accomplish any mission at any time. You’re the one who has to dedicate yourself to your soldiers’ careers and their success. It all starts with you. If your soldiers fail, you fail and your whole team fails. This is why this just may be the second most important leadership position in the Army. Leadership in the Army begins with you as a team leader.