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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You Don't Have To Be A Superstar

I used to work with a sergeant whose platoon (around 35 soldiers) was always the best. These men and women were head and shoulders above the rest of the platoons in my company (and probably in the entire battalion of about 600 soldiers). Typically, a platoon is led by a lieutenant and a Sergeant, First Class. This sergeant was so young in his career that he hadn't made it to Sergeant First Class, but was still a Staff Sergeant AND he had no lieutenant most of the time. When we were short of officers, I would let this sergeant lead on his own.

One time, Sergeant H and I were talking and I asked him, "why is it that your platoon is so strong? Why is it that they're so obviously superior to every other platoon around them?" His reply was, "Sir, my guys aren't superstars and I don't expect them to be. All I expect them to do is their jobs. All the others around them who don't perform will make them look like superstars."

Now, depending on how you choose to look at it, you can see this as an indictment on most of us OR you can look at it from the perspective of focus, teamwork, guidance, and expectations. Sergeant H didn't expect his people to perform miracles. He just expected them to do their work; he expected them to do their jobs.

What do you expect of your people? Do they know your expectations?