Are You NCO Material?

You may not know Jim Worlein, but the chances are great that you know someone who – like Jim – served his or her country as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army.

Noncommissioned officers hold the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant, including Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Sergeant First Class, First Sergeant or Master Sergeant, and Sergeant Major. Jim held the ranks of Corporal and Sergeant, and I am honored to know him through my work with the MBA program at Southern Methodist University.

Jim recently sent me an email about NCO’s. He reminded me that the noncommissioned officer corps is often referred to as the backbone of the U.S. Army because they are the most visible leaders for the military personnel on the ground. These brave men and women have the primary responsibility for training personnel and executing their mission.

Jim also told me that the Senior NCO’s are the primary link between the enlisted personnel and the commissioned officers.

Why You Need to Be a NCO for Your Organization

NCO’s are trained in leadership, management, and specific service areas related to their field. That combination of technical expertise, effective resource utilization, and the ability to lead people makes the NCO uniquely qualified to succeed in an environment that requires both rigorous planning and extreme adaptability.

There is no better model for preparing yourself or your organization to succeed than replicating the education and training of the noncommissioned officer.

Training and experience alone will not make you successful, however. The core of every noncommissioned officer’s commitment is articulated in the NCO Creed. It defines how each member of the NCO Corps views his or her responsibility as a leader.  And, there is no better model for your success.

I ask that you do three things with the information that follows:

  1. Read it and embrace it. There are far too many examples of people in positions of authority masquerading as leaders and having no clue what that truly means.
  2. Ask a NCO that you know what the Creed means to them. I am betting that the insights you receive will shape your view of leadership regardless of your field.
  3. Thank every noncommissioned officer you know or meet for both their service and their example.

So with thanks to Jim Worlein for both his service and his willingness to share, here is the NCO Creed

Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer

No one is more professional than I.  I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers.  As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time-honored corps, which is known as “The Backbone of the Army.”

I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the Military Service, and my Country regardless of the situation in which I find myself.  I will not use my grade or position to obtain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.

Competence is my watchword.  My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind-accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers.  I will strive to remain tactically and technically proficient.  I am aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer.  I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role.  All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership.  I will provide that leadership.  I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own.  I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and never leave them uninformed.  I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.

Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties.  They will not have to accomplish mine.  I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my soldiers.  I will be loyal to those with whom I serve: seniors, peers, and subordinates alike.  I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders.  I will not compromise my integrity nor my moral courage.  I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are Professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, Leaders!

About the Author:

Randy Pennington
Randy Pennington is an award-winning author and a leading authority on helping organizations deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To learn more or to hire Randy for your next meeting, visit www.penningtongroup.com or call 972-980-9857.
  • I do know Jiim Worlein, and his comments reflect his integrity as a soldier and as a citizen. Jim is someone who “gets it” when it comes to service. The creed he mentions is about taking pride in one’s duties – a pride that (sad to say) is lacking from most organizations. The military inspires a commitment that is admirable, but often rare within our companies. Randy, I appreciate your willingness to share Jim’s remarks, and the creed, as an inspiration to all who serve. Being an “NCO” within an organization starts with a willingness to serve, and an investment in the contribution you make. Jim understands how to deliver on that value proposition – an impressive contribution, indeed. Thanks for sharing this post; great info.

    • Randy Pennington

      Thanks for chiming in, Chris. Jim is someone who gets it. In fact, I think there are a lot of leaders who get it. We just don’t hear about them as often.