Top 5 Small Unit Leadership Tips from a Navy SEAL Officer

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Frumentarius, a former Navy SEAL officer, CIA case officer, and currently a lieutenant in a career fire department in the Midwest. It was originally published on Make sure to follow them on Facebook.

Whether you are a light infantry platoon leader in the The American army, an enlisted squad leader in the U.S. Marines, or the fire officer in charge of a four-person fire truck in a mid-sized American town in the Midwest, you have a heavy weight of responsibility that proverbially weighs on you. your shoulders. Someone, somewhere – for reasons that you are not educated, hopefully – felt that you were competent enough to lead a small unit or operational element within one of the military branches, a municipal or forest fire department, or any number of similar organizations.

If you are a conscientious leader, and most of those who have reached such a position ARE probably at least to some extent, then when the tones go down, or the ball goes up, or the FRAGO comes up, you immediately start thinking about yourself, “okay, what do we have to do here?” operating guidelines, rules of engagement, standard operating procedures or tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) begin to invade your brain while you simultaneously prepare your individual gear and gear.

You no longer have the luxury of focusing solely on carrying out your individual tasks, although those also remain, but you also need to effectively lead this small unit to accomplish the mission, task or operation that you want. has been entrusted. Well, fear not. When the time comes to perform, there are really only five basic tasks that you, as a leader, need to accomplish. Do these five things well, and your chances of success will increase dramatically (barring other unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, of course).

Now, these tips assume a level of training and preparation on the back end. I assume that you have effectively trained and prepared a competent unit. It will be difficult to overcome any gaps in training, equipment, equipment or knowledge of TTPs and operating instructions. These items should be drilled into the unit well in advance of the time to use it. However, assuming you have fulfilled this basic leadership requirement, once you have achieved the ‘GO’ you only need to do the five things below to increase your chances of successful mission completion. .

1. Maintain accountability

Your most important responsibility is to those under your command. You need to make sure they get the job done, of course, but you also need to make sure they get home. The accounting of all your employees during any operation, incident or mission should always be a priority for you. Know where everyone is at all times, what task they have been assigned and what their needs are. They might not always tell you that they need some help, some equipment, or some advice, but it’s your job to recognize it when they do. At the end of the day, everyone goes home. This is your goal.

NASA astronaut candidates Jasmin Moghbeli and Frank Rubio discuss their next course of action while other astronaut candidates and their instructor study their topographic maps during wilderness survival training at Survival School Escape, Resistance and Navy Escape, Brunswick, Maine, May 30, 2018. Former Navy SEAL and NASA astronaut Johnny Kim is on the far left.

2. Formulate the operational plan

When you are given an assignment, or when you respond to some sort of incident, you must immediately formulate a plan. The operation or incident may be “routine” as you have responded to similar incidents or performed similar assignments on several occasions in the recent past. This only matters insofar as you are likely to formulate the plan in question more quickly. You still need one, however, and you should always make sure to seek out and receive feedback from members of your unit with something of value to add.

The brand new guy or girl might not have much to add (or they could!), But the seasoned veteran of the crew, or squad, or peloton almost certainly does. If you are a good leader, you seek feedback and thoughts from those who can provide it. Once you’ve done that, formulate a plan, communicate it to the unit, and assign tasks. Failure to do so will almost always result in inefficiency, confusion and / or possibly partial or total operational failure.

3. Communicate

As a small unit leader, one of your most critical jobs is to communicate up and down the chain of command. Not only do you need to communicate to your employees what they need to accomplish, but you also need to send updates up the chain to keep Command informed of your needs, progress and situation.

You must provide confirmation that you have met milestones, received orders, recognized plan changes, and completed your assignment or task. For the largest global operation to be successful, command needs a clear picture of what is going on. Without communicating effectively with you, it will be impossible.

Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Josh Leasure is rehired by Lt. Geoff Reeves as other members of the Navy “Leap Frogs” parachute team look out over San Diego. Leap Frogs are made up entirely of personnel from the US Navy SEAL and the Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC). US Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer JC Ledbetter.

4. Lead

So you’ve formulated the plan, communicated it to your staff, and you’re doing a good job of keeping the unit accountable. Sometimes you may need to ‘lead’, in the sense of motivating this unit to act to achieve the goal or accomplish the mission / task. It is one of the most nebulous concepts to master, despite the millions of pages of literature undoubtedly devoted to the subject over the centuries.

The 5 Most Important Leadership Tasks of a Navy SEAL

Read more : The 5 Most Important Leadership Tasks of a Navy SEAL

That’s why they really pay you a lot of money. This is where you need to make a living. That’s why you can wear the bars, or the red helmet, or the rafters. In an ideal world, your unit will get the job done with minimal leadership from you. They will know their respective jobs and do it well. If it doesn’t, it’s your job to recognize when it’s happening and how to fix it. It is one of the most important jobs you will have in an operation, in the field of fire or on the battlefield.

5. Complete the task / homework

Finally, at the end of the day, and it’s said and done, you and your unit have one job: to complete any task or mission assigned to you. Maybe your unit has received THE mission (think about UBL Raid). Or maybe you’ve been given a small part of a larger operation (consider securing a particular beach on D-Day or completing the main search for a burning house). Either way, Command is counting on you to receive the mission, understand it, and accomplish it with the resources you have (or ask for more if you need more). Don’t let them down. Do what you got to do. Finish the job.

That’s it. Simple, right? These are the five tasks your superiors will expect you to perform whenever they call on you and your unit to do their job. You make sure you do these things, and your chances of success are much better than ever.

Good luck there.

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