From the 104th Command Sergeant Major


“Motivate them.” We are often told as leaders we need to motivate our Soldiers to complete a task or do something that they may not regularly want to do. So how do we accomplish this task? How do we motivate people to act? There are literally thousands of different examples of how to do this on the internet. Many people have built careers teaching this concept of motivation. This seems like a simple task but for those in leadership we know this can be challenging. As often stated, all Soldiers are leaders, more so noncommissioned officers.

So how do we motivate our subordinates each day?

This is my insight on how to motivate your Soldiers to accomplish tasks that no one really wants to do but is necessary to keep the business of the Army moving forward: firstly, and by far most importantly, is leading from the front. You must be out front no matter what you are doing. We are told this our entire career and it can become a cliché unless we hold it to be true, especially when it comes to motivation. It is the most powerful thing you can ever do as a leader. It is the basis for motivation. Whether it is a 5-mile run or completing your DD93, you must always make sure that you are the first one in line during a PT test or the first one to complete your birth month audit. This is the example of what motivation truly means.

Second, you must motivate yourself. Sounds easy but we all know that showing up each and everyday motivated and pumped to complete every task can be challenging. You must find your own “why” and remind yourself daily. Mine is to help my fellow Soldiers. I love the fact that I can help others accomplish their goals. Mentorship is a privilege that I take whole heartedly. I would be lying if I said that helping others has always been my military motivation. Early on for myself, especially during my Marine Corps days, I just wanted to survive, but that evolved to helping others be successful.

Once you have your “why,” now you look to motivating those around you and in your formations. Regardless of what occurs, stay positive, especially when you are doing those must-do tasks that no one wants to complete. Negative Soldiers will always have an answer or rebuttal for everything you do or say. Just combat that with positive motivation. This is a huge challenge but will pay bigger dividends in the long run.

Soldiers with 2nd Brigade, 104th Training Division (Leader Training) demonstrate the values and tenacity that make Army leaders among the best in the business. U.S. Army Photo

Adhere to the rule that complaints go up not down. No matter how you feel about what task you are trying to complete, to your subordinates it is the awesome thing that everyone should be doing at that time, as well as the most important thing that anyone can be doing at the time. Do not ask if this is false motivation, instead ask if it gets your Soldiers moving to accomplish the mission.

I know what I have put before you are not new, but real-life successes based on these lessons help to move them from the briefing slide to reality. These articles give you a little insight into the experiences that have helped pave the way for my career, along with ideas I have seen that set Leaders apart from individuals. This is my motivation.


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