Episode 2

Earning Stripes

July 24, 2023






FORT CARSON, Colo. – Handpicked future noncommissioned officers sat in the auditorium full of eagerness to receive words of wisdom from Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston as he visited Fort Carson Basic Leadership Course on Apr. 15, 2023. Grinston entered the auditorium and sat on the stage while Soldiers looked at him seated in front a window displaying the rolling Colorado mountains dusted with snow sparkling from the rays of sunshine.

“Every job I’ve been gone into, said Grinston. I try to do better and learn.”

Throughout this leadership professional development session Soldiers from Fort Carson had the opportunity to express how they were prepared to become NCOs’ before attending BLC. They were given the chance to say certain aspects of being an NCO that they have not performed yet but will have to once promoted to sergeant.

Grinston sat with a pen and notebook, diligently writing notes as Soldiers explained how their units prepared them to become hard charging NCOs.

During the conversation with the young leaders, he explained how the army enforces the “People First” mindset. He explained that as leaders we need to delicately balance putting soldiers first and ensuring that we accomplish the mission. With the trust of subordinates and experience this is attainable.

“To be a better listener is to truly listen to what people are actually telling you,” said Grinston.

An attribute that the SMA put emphasis on was listening to others. Not only to be a better leader and NCO but to be a better person as well.

He told a story of how he was a young sergeant and one of his Soldiers did not like how Grinston spoke to him. After that conversation Grinston said he listened to the Soldier, reflected and never spoke to him in that manner again. He highlighted that this moment was key for his development and enhanced his skills to utilize listening, comprehending and leading his Soldiers the right way.

Lastly, he spoke about the growth mindset. Grinston said as young leaders he wants NCOs in to remember to keep an open mind and always evolve. That will take you far in the Army.


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