Around 30 senior enlisted leaders from across the 21st Theater Sustainment Command shared ideas, discussed challenges and engaged in a lively professional dialogue designed to improve systems and build more cohesive teams during a seminar held Jan. 20 to 21 on Vogelweh.
The two-day seminar focused on strengthening TSC teams, leadership development, and discussions about timely and relevant issues as well as professional dialogue.
Leading subject matter experts across the command delivered presentations on topics ranging from security, force protection and theater military strategy to diplomatic considerations and Soldier issues such as finance and personnel actions. The senior enlisted inspector general representative and garrison transition team delivered presentations.
The senior enlisted leaders, most of whom serve as command sergeant majors or enlisted heads of major TSC staff sections, also conducted a lively self-discovery journey through a program exploring different personality, learning and leadership styles. They then used the understanding to improve teamwork, communication and support of teammates.
“It was an opportunity to see the method of thinking and logic of command sergeant majors and sergeant majors at the next level,” said Sgt. 1st Class April Brooks, 106th Finance Detachment detachment sergeant. “It gave me a different perspective to see the method behind the madness and why they make the decisions they make.”
This was not the first seminar of its sort for the TSC senior enlisted leaders. In fact, it built on several previous events. Bringing the leadership together allowed new members of the team to get to know their counterparts and provided an opportunity for robust professional discourse and sharing of ideas, strategies and resources.
“This workshop is built on a series of previous development opportunities for our senior enlisted leaders,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Rodney Rhoades, the TSC senior enlisted leader and event organizer. “We brought in leading subject matter experts to discuss relevant topics, as we did in prior events. We addressed everything from security and force protection to financial and medical readiness, transitions and fundamental Soldier skills. We covered topics ranging from diplomatic and strategic levels to the importance of map reading and navigating with a lensatic compass.”
The subject matter wasn’t always abstract or sophisticated. The leaders discussed practical Soldier issues and the “Not in My Squad” and “Don’t Be That Guy/Girl” campaigns as well as strategy and emerging threats. Participants said they were glad for the opportunity to consciously build on each other’s knowledge and experience.
“We are looking at events that have happened across the 21st TSC and USAREUR, and we are sharing lessons learned across the board,” said Sgt. Maj. John Fair, 709th Military Police Battalion operations sergeant major. “We are also bringing in SMEs to talk to us, (and) that makes us better Soldiers.”
Rhoades emphasized the importance of taking the information gleaned from the seminar back to the personnel in each of the sections and units represented by the attendees.
“We can’t forget about our people — our Soldiers, our civilians, our officers and NCOs. They’re everything,” Rhoades told his leaders.
Brooks said she is taking the lessons back to her unit to improve communication between herself, her leaders and her Soldiers and to give them insight into the decision making process.
Rhoades, scheduled to depart in March for a position at Army Headquarters in the Pentagon after more than two eventful years as the TSC’s senior enlisted leader, emphasized the importance of professional relationships, mentorship and team building.
“Ultimately, these events are about building on our professional relationships and building stronger teams,” he said. “What made this event successful were the thoughtful questions and outstanding professional dialogue. It showed me that our team is ready for anything our senior leaders or nation may ask of us.”
This will most likely be the final senior enlisted seminar at 21st TSC for Rhoades, but the lessons shared will continue even after he moves on.