By Brig. Gen. James Bonner, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general
Our Army is an incredible melting pot of different backgrounds and cultures, held together by a common desire to serve and by our core values. Trust is the bedrock upon which the Army Profession is built. Trust brings us together, creates cohesive and effective teams, and sustains relationships. Trust takes time and effort to build, and caring and engaged leadership is the primary tool.
Caring leaders know their people. Engaged leaders intervene. There are hundreds of examples of heroism where military members intervene during a physical crisis or accident to save someone’s life. We are all duty-bound to cultivate that same level of caring and intervention when it comes to eradicating and preventing extremism, racism, sexual misconduct, and suicide. Each of these erode Trust and are corrosive to our Profession and readiness.
These topics can be difficult to talk about, but we must have authentic, on-going conversations with our squads. We must listen to the stories of each of our people and share our stories. We must inspire and motivate command teams, drill sergeants, cadre, staff, and civilian employees to continue to strive to achieve our values. And, lastly, let’s recognize those who are doing things well and doing things right. Let’s work together to protect, maintain, and firm up our Profession’s foundation of Trust by listening, caring, and engaging.