October’s Life Skill Speaker Michael A. Sweetland Speaks on “Leadership” at HALO Staff Meeting

Being a leader means not asking people to do things you wouldn’t do, and always leading from the front. Sometimes it can be painful to be a leader, because it’s your job to take some hits so those below you don’t. Humility is often the easiest way to demonstrate your respectfulness to those you are leading but ,as with anything, leadership takes hard work.

MAJ Michael A. Sweetland, M.Sc is a brilliant example of October’s life skill, leadership. Michael spoke to the HALO staff this month regarding the life skill and how leadership was not only key during his deployment, but also in every day life.

One thing he took away from deployment was using Troop Leading Procedures as the base of how he leads. Using this procedure helps limit time to make decisions.

Step 1. Receive the Mission
The leader should use no more than one third of the available time for their own planning and for issuing their operation order. The remaining two thirds is for subordinates to plan and prepare for the operation.
Step 2. Issue a warning order
Contains enough information to begin preparation as soon as possible.
Step 3. Make a tentative plan
Develops an estimate of the situation to use as the basis for their tentative plan.
Step 4. Start necessary movement
The platoon may need to begin movement while the leader is still planning. This is where your subordinate leaders prepare men, weapons and equipment for the coming mission.
Step 5. Reconnoiter
The leader makes a personal reconnaissance to verify his terrain analysis, adjust his plan, confirm the usability of routes, and time any critical movements.
Step 6. Complete the plan
The leader completes his plan based on the reconnaissance and any changes in the situation.
Step 7. Issue the complete order
The leader issues oral operations orders. Leaders must ensure that subordinates understand the mission.
Step 8. Supervise
The leader supervises the unit’s preparation for combat by conducting rehearsals and inspections.

As a leader it’s very important that you have a vision and attempt to inspire those following you. You have to remember that you are working for your subordinates, not your boss. It’s essential that leaders have confidence in themselves and their vision. This confidence comes from experience, training and knowledge. As Michael says, everyone has the opportunity to be a leader. Leaders just need to stay calm and have a sense of humor.

Interested in becoming a HALO Life Skill speaker, contact nicolegerken@haloworldwide.org. We’re looking for a speaker on Goal Setting in January.