Consideration of others must be a common practice for every Soldier. Common courtesy is an issue that needs to be addressed in today’s Army. Sensitivity and kindness go a long way to building strong relationships. For a leader, that means building relationships with Soldiers, others in your organization, other units and fellow leaders. A leader who is all business and treats people in an impersonal, calculated way won’t inspire much cooperation or commitment from others.
For starters, pay attention to what people are going through and be ready to assist them with consideration and encouragement. It doesn’t take much to offer a kind word or a thoughtful gesture when others need one. Also, make it a habit to reflect on how words and actions impact others. Let your heart go out to them, and do what you can to help. Relationships with the members of your team will grow stronger as you show that you really do care. Remember, the word of encouragement or act of kindness you give today can live in another person’s heart forever.
When we manage Soldiers, our actions speak louder than words. We can’t treat everyone exactly the same, ignoring their backgrounds and personalities. Ask yourself if you are an effective leader when you dictate orders, refuse feedback or are abusive when giving corrective direction. By recognizing your Soldiers’ individuality, leaders can motivate them on a personal level and hold them to the same standards on a team level. When Soldiers know that their input is respected, they’re more likely to offer ideas and solutions which can lead to better mission accomplishment, unit readiness, and can translate into better evaluations and ratings for everyone. As a leader, the final decision remains yours, but accepting and understanding the ideas, options and solutions of subordinates is a win-win for everyone.
Common courtesy is a simple act. For example, while you may like to play loud music in your car, others around you may not appreciate your choice of Metallica, Garth Brooks or Jay-Z. Turning it down is a courtesy act and much appreciated by others. Another way of looking at it, would you consider someone sticking their finger in your face a violation of your personal space? If so, if others are able to hear your choice of music, are you not violating someone else’s personal space? Remember, by exhibiting common courtesy leaders are setting a standard for others to emulate and investing in the future of the Army.
Those with questions or concerns about common courtesy or other issues, should call the Inspector General’s Office, 533.2369.