From the 104th Training Division (LT)Commander

Mentorship – Who Inspired You?

05/22/2019  |  By Brig. Gen. B.G. Edwards Commanding, 104th Training Division (LT)
From the 104th Training Division (LT)Commander
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Who inspired you? Who was that one influential person that offered to share their knowledge in order to increase your chances of success?

Recently, I read an article highlighted by ABC Columbia, regarding Army Generals hosting students for leader development. This article discussed the use of mentorship to develop the Army’s next generation of leaders. As a division we are one of the Army’s premier organizations in leader training. On the surface, this task sounds simple. However, we know that this mighty endeavor consists of more than just teaching Soldiers basic combat tasks and drills. It involves a far deeper commitment to excellence and relationships. To help with retention and fully develop the force we need to mentor. Mentorship is an investment, it is an opportunity to groom and grow our Soldiers towards their maximum potential as future leaders in the United States Army. It’s an amazing journey that begins early in any Soldier’s career and one that must be carried through until the end.

To help us better understand mentorship lets first look to Army Doctrine. Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP-22) defines mentorship as:

7-67. Mentorship is the voluntary developmental relationship that exists between a person of greater experience and a person of lesser experience that is characterized by mutual trust and respect (AR 600- 100). Mentorship is generally characterized by the following—

  • Mentoring takes place when the mentor provides a less experienced leader with advice and counsel over time to help with professional and personal growth.
  • The developing leader often initiates the relationship and seeks counsel from the mentor. The mentor takes the initiative to check on the well-being and development of that person.
  • Mentorship affects personal development (maturity and interpersonal and communication skills) as well as professional development (technical, tactical, and career path knowledge).
  • Mentorship helps the Army maintain a highly competent set of leaders.
  • The strength of the mentoring relationship relies on mutual trust and respect. Proteges carefully consider assessment, feedback, and guidance; these become valuable for growth to occur.

Mentorship is designed to assist leaders to accelerate their development of professional expertise, maturity, and conceptual and team-building skills. This concept takes into consideration that season leaders should/are passing along their expertise and knowledge to younger and emerging Soldiers. This transfer of professional knowledge from mentor to mentee increases the Soldiers chances of a successful career. It also increases their resiliency by being more informed about circumstances surrounding critical issues that may affect their lives and careers. This sharing of knowledge makes Soldiers more apt to handle stressful situations and forge favorable outcomes within their own God give capabilities and limitations. Also, effective mentoring empowers Soldiers, allows deeper understanding to look beyond the here and now and provides a sense of direction and hope toward the future. It lights a path of success and provides a sense of security during the great Army journey that they are not alone.

Moreover, mentorship also serves a retention tool to keep the best Soldiers in the force. Forearmed with knowledge, Soldiers have a greater understanding of career choice decisions and implications of those decisions. They are also more willing to continue on progressing in pursuit towards their maximum potential making them more apt to attend required professional military education and increasing their chances for promotion. This in the end, increases the strength of the Army while increasing our quality and fighting capability.

In conclusion I’d like to ask; “Are you mentoring others?” If not, I challenge you to take the lead on this very important endeavor. We need you and we need quality Soldiers. We need to continue to pass along our knowledge to the next generation in order to defend this great nation with the best and brightest. Mentoring is definitely worth the investment and the returns are phenomenal.

Timberwolf 6 out!

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