Building Mentors In The Military. The Us Army Is Recognized Around The World For Its Exceptional Leader Development Programs. In Fact, It Has No Equal.

973 words - 4 pages

Building Mentors in the MilitaryThe US Army is recognized around the world for its exceptional leader development programs. In fact, it has no equal. We have made great strides in counseling our subordinates to help them improve their performance. But, turbulence, budget and other policy constraints have created the need for a more personal approach to taking care of our soldiers.The knowledge, skill and experimental requirements thrust on leaders today may well exceed our formal education system's capacity to develop future leaders capable of dealing with the complex problems they will face. As the Army shrinks, soldiers must perform increasingly more complex tasks, often in jobs for which they have insufficient experience or training. Also, soldiers must work more efficiently and produce quality work in diverse areas without benefit of previous experience or, for that matter, specific training.Twenty-first century leaders will have to set the conditions that give their subordinates the best possible chance for success. One of the easiest ways to do this is through mentoring. Personal mentorship between senior and junior leaders is essential in filling information gaps, and mentorship provides another avenue to help motivate, educate and guide quality people to higher levels of performance and responsibility. Leadership success in the immediate future will depend on mentoring more than any other single process.Mentoring may be the critical missing key to help compress young leaders' learning curve. Today, there is so much to know and so little time to learn it that mentoring might be the best way to ensure future leaders' professional development. The mentor can help subordinates sort through information to identify the things that are really important.Mentoring also is self-perpetuating. Leaders who have been well mentored tend to become great mentors themselves. The bond of trust and confidence from a close mentoring relationship could last a lifetime. Mentoring provides a unique opportunity for young leaders to have a permanent, personal linkage with experienced senior officers and noncommissioned officers who have demonstrated professional competence, outstanding leadership and technical ability.The best mentoring comes from personal commitment between senior and junior leaders rather than from some type of formalized assignment process. Mentoring may well occur outside normal command relationships or branches. In fact, mutual trust and confidence must exist between the mentor and those whom he mentors long before a permanent mentoring relationship unfolds. Trust is critical for the mentoring relationship to be open and honest. Mentors must be able to tell those they mentor what they need to hear even if it is not what they want to hear. However, honesty must flow in both directions. Mutual trust between the mentor and the mentored helps soften the sting often associated with honest communication.Mentoring can take several forms and be...

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