Lessons Learned, Borrowed, and Stolen Over Almost Three Decades of Military Service
(posted 22 JUL 2000)
I have taken this from a flier that has been circulating in military circles written by a senior NCO. If
this document is yours, send me your name and I will attribute this document to you. E-mail me for
more. If you don't wish me to put this up, I will take this down... under protest. I sincerely believe
this applies in civilian life as well as miliary life.
1. Chain of Command works - use it!
2. Integrity is non-negotiable.
3. Loyalty is a two way street - Up and Down. Local NCOs are not their subordinates' "buddies",
but their leaders and teachers. Loyal Superiors NEVER ask or demand their subordinates'
compromise personal and professional integrity.
4. Professional conduct and a sense of humor are a must.
5. The people and customers we serve come first.
6. Quality service and high standards are every NCOs business.
7. Admitting mistakes is a sign of strength and maturity - not weakness
9. Disagreement is not disrepect. A most common form of disrespect is telling superiors what you
believe they want to hear and not what they need to know.
10. Shooting the messenger is a waste of ammo.
11. Zero tolerance for abuse and misuse of our subordinates and resources.
12. The young lieutenant you fail to show the right way today is the colonel you will live with
tomorrow. Invest now, or
pay big later.
13. Skill, will, and teamwork breed trust, discipline, high morale, and combat power.
14. The ears work best when the mouth is closed and the tongue is still.
15. Keep things in perspective - learn to recognize what's important. The needs of the many will
almost always out-weigh the few, or the needs of the one.
16. Learn tolerance - develop the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to
change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
17. Follow-up begins with the letter "F". It is not a dirty word, but the mark of an effective leader
18. NCOs do not make promises they are unwilling or unable to keep.
19. The statement, "Sir (or Ma'am), I do not know but I will find out," is the beginning of wisdom.
20. Praise often and in public. Punish when needed; whenever possible, in private.
21. The question, "Who is responsible?" is never answered by everyone by everyone standing
up, falling into a circle, and pointing to the left or right.
22. Regulations, instructions, and manuals are waiverable. The United States Constitution and
Bill of Rights ARE NOT! NCOs must not play fast or loose with what we have sworn an oath to
Reviewed 28 NOV 2010