This article is from ‘The Green Notebook’, part of our wider PME Network. In it, Command Sergeant Major Samuel C. Rapp and Sergeant First Class Harlan D. Kefalas offer excellent advice on employing NCOs (Non Commissioned Officers) and Warrant Officers as staff within a headquarters. Whilst the article is written as ‘advice to new Majors’, it is also an excellent resource for any NCO who is new to a headquarters and offers useful insights into the relationship between the principal staff officer (PSO) and their NCOs.
The article is written in first person from the NCOs to their incoming Operations Officer or PSO. The authors identify what they see are the successful characteristics of the field ranking officer from the perspective of the staff NCOs.
A key theme of this article is communication. NCOs need clear intent, guidance and expectations to feel enabled in their staff roles. The authors also raise a very important point: whilst an NCO may have experience, they are unlikely to have been trained in, or practiced, staff work. It is therefore important to include NCOs in the planning process to develop their staff skills.
The authors discuss how NCOs still need to be led whilst in staff appointments. Examples include regular performance counselling and supporting their initiatives. The authors also highlight that staff officers need to set the example through attending PT, maintaining individual proficiency and personal discipline within the HQ.
This article, whilst brief, provides valuable information to assist both staff officers and their NCOs to understand their rights and responsibilities from day one; thus enabling them to be an effective team.