Yes, it’s true, there is a plague that spreads about this time every year among many schools’ JROTC programs: the new leadership for the unit is being picked and the old leadership is getting ready to graduate. Here is the question I get most often at the end of each school year:
“I’m going to be the new (Armed/Unarmed Drill Team, Color Guard, Honor Guard) commander next year and the graduating leadership was less than desirable (or, never wrote anything down, etc.). Do you have any advice for me?”
Thanks to my friend Austin Reid, I was prompted to write about this serious condition. The answer is “YES! I have some great advice!”
- Mandatory: Start conditioning your mind and body so you can come in fresh from the summer ready to tackle the challenges of your new position.
- Mind: Know your service’s drill and ceremonies manual like the back of your hand. Read it again and again. Know everything there is to know about it, everything. And when someone asks you a question and you cannot remember specifically, NEVER just go off memory, double check with the manual, always.
- Body: Cardio and strength training exercise along with good stretching. Do you have to be the next Mr. or Mrs. Universe? No, of course not. But daily exercise is very good for you and, believe me, when you get older you will appreciate keeping a good regimen.
- Optional: Read other materials that will help you in your new position like, say (you didn’t expect me to leave my own books out of this, did you?):
So, there you have it: Education and conditioning are two of the keys to leadership.
The other keys are temperance, a cool head, patience,care, etc.