Using the Right Tone of Voice

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Many leaders are often unaware that their every move and every word is marked by the soldiers that observe them and are under them.  With that in mind, all of us leaders need to be ever cognizant of how we express ourselves in daily situations.

One of the mistakes many leaders make is the way they express themselves with words in stressful situations.  As human beings, we are prone to using body language and tone of voice to express our emotions.  When leaders change their tone of voice, they are indirectly showing their subordinates their own frustration.  As a leader, you must be able to put your personal emotion in certain situations aside and remain collected in order to solve the problem with ease.  Soldiers and subordinates receive and react based on their leader’s demeanor and attitude towards whatever situation presents itself.  With that being said, I find that a marked change in a leader’s tone of voice can make small issues seem even greater making our subordinates ever more nervous about our judgement calls.

I found that the best way to alleviate a heightened tone of voice is to step away from a stressful situation.  By stepping away from your subordinates and taking a chance to breathe and clear your mind before you attack the problem, you will be able to approach the problem clear and collected.  Appearance is everything in the military: if you appear frazzled, everyone around you will be affected and respond with a sense of tension.  By collecting yourself, taking a chance to breathe, and then expressing yourself with a clear mind, you will be able to take your personal emotion out of the situation and be able to handle yourself professionally.

It is hard to say that in every situation you can put emotion aside, but it is something that we need to be conscious about on a day to day basis.  Though this may seem like a small note, it will make you an ever more effective leader.  Your subordinates will respect you more if you show patience and diligence while attacking a problem with a clear mind.

Take a breather, and then solve the problem…GET AHEAD…GO GIRLS IN GREEN!

Women working with Women

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I can promise you that women working together – linked, informed and educated – can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet.~ Isabel Allende
 
I find that sometimes, especially in the military, women have a hard time working for, and often times with other women.  I have come to learn that it is not so much personal, but rather that women in the military always seem to have something to prove, with good reason.  Before the 1970s, women were not able to serve in military.  We have come far four decades later, but still, many women feel as if they still do have something to prove.  With this in mind, we sometimes lose touch of the fact that women should be aiding other strong women in the military succeed rather than fighting to show everyone else which one of them is stronger.
 
For this reason, I find that sometimes it is hard for type A women to work together.  Honestly, I find that it is harder working for a woman than a man, largely because women are more demanding of their peers.  They demand the best because we consistently find reasons to have to prove our strength to others.  I have found that I have to adapt to an environment and work harder around women than men.  Women need to be more cognizant of the fact that we need to work together better and quit fighting each other to be the best.  Having a strong female command team can completely change the workplace for the better, only if both women work together as a team rather than competitors. 
 
With that in mind, women of the military I reach out to you to find yourselves a female mentor and work together to better yourselves.  We will go so much further if we stop fighting the system and ourselves and work as teammates to show our strength and the great things we can bring to the force.  Women add a different dynamic and our motivation can take us great places.
 
Just some food for thought…GO GIRLS IN GREEN!

Welcome to the Newest Women of the Long Gray Line!

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“The women of today are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied, and made alive. They are active, capable, determined and bound to win. They have one thousand generations back of them … Millions of women, dead and gone are speaking through us today. “- Matilda Joslyn Gage

Today we welcome a whole new generation of women into the Long Gray Line of female officers…

CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2014!  You all are amazing, strong-minded women and I hail your commitment to the Army and to those that have served before you.  I wish you all the best of luck with your future career as a Lieutenant in the United States Army!  Duty, Honor, Country!

 

 

Are we REALLY creating more job for women?

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This week, me and my fellow female Lieutenants received a huge blow from Human Resources Command…

Through their Military Personnel messages, the “Big Army” has mandated that all female Engineer Officers be pulled out of their positions as Platoon leaders and are not allowed to serve on deployment as a Platoon Leader in a Line Company.  The only exceptions would be the Area Clearance Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, or Company Commander.

Now, here comes the hypocrisy.  The Army claims that it is taking a step forward by admitting women to Ranger school but, it releases information like this?  I personally will be the last female Platoon leader in my Battalion to have served as a female in combat.  Who is to say that the current females aren’t more fit than I was to serve?  Why this change so late in the War on Terror?

This changes the tide dramatically for female Engineers.  My peers and I have discussed the issue extensively and find it almost demeaning.  To say that these females can serve in Platoon Leader positions in Garrison, train their Soldiers to deploy, work with them and build their moral, and then strip them of their right to lead their Platoon into combat is demeaning.  It takes away our purpose to serve in a leadership position, and hands our experience over to someone with less time in service.

This post is completely open to comments, positive or negative.  We would love to hear your view on this topic.

ESSAYONS! The GIRLS IN GREEN fight for the right of female Engineers!

Taking a Break from the Daily Grind

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I almost feel it most officers specifically find it hard to take leave because of their busy work life in the Army. I remember a Captain said to me today, “why is it that so many people believe that we will lose this war if they leave their desk and their work life for one minute” and I reminisced in the time when I finally congratulated myself for taking leave rather than feel guilty.Correct me if I’m wrong, but most Type A personalities feel that their work ethic is the drive for their company or their force, and without them the working wheel will fall apart. I personally felt this way as a Platoon Leader…I was nervous to take leave or go TDY because I was convinced that I would come back to a Platoon in shambles. Slightly narcissistic, yes, but in my mind this was nonetheless true. In reality, it was not the truth.

A peaceful hike over Lani Kai in Oahu, Hawaii…the way I spend my leave

If you haven’t noticed, I had taken hiatus from writing posts for over a week now, not by choice, but because my mind and body were vacationing. For many months I believed that leaving my Platoon for two months to play All Army and Armed Forces Volleyball was a detriment to my team (meaning the Platoon); that I was doing them an injustice and leaving them in the dust. Day in and day out my coworkers made me feel like I was taking a paid vacation I didn’t deserve and that I was “shamming” from my real job. I left my Platoon for an amazing experience feeling rather defeated than excited and that honestly disappointed me. Once gone, I learned that I should never allow my coworkers to make me feel so terrible about investing time in ME and the things that I LOVE to do.

Coming back from TDY was terribly hard, probably because I knew I would have to face reality and bring back my hard, work driven demeanor. When I got back to the company, all of my Platoon was gone on TDY for schools and I would be alone for two weeks. Instead of deciding to ride my time behind a computer doing meaningless work but feeling a duty to stay in my workplace to show dedication, I stood up for my spiritual self and asked for a week of leave.

Now we come to my week hiatus. I spent last week basking in the beauty of Oahu, Hawaii on a trip planned last minute and off the cuff. I will never regretting seeking time for myself even though, naturally I came back to a bunch of coworkers who berated my leave time.

Moral of the story, vacationing is a priceless necessity for the body and the mind to relax from the stress and mundane-ness of day to day work activities. The spiritual self needs time to renew itself every once and while and regain stamina to continue more of the fight at work. So many officers find it hard to say goodbye to the workplace to take leave, but most of them need to let go and understand that their time away is time well spent. Trust your coworkers to pick up the slack that you left. In the Army and Military community, there is always someone who knows some part of your job, and you shouldn’t be scared that “leaving your desk for a minute” will jeopardize the hard work you have done before.

Learn to take in fresh air, and enjoy a relaxing vacation. If you are reading this and already running down ideas in your mind then you are definitely WELL OVERDUE!

Sorry for the hiatus…back and ready for action to support the GIRLS IN GREEN!

Finding a Healthy Balance

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Many women in high level positions across the board struggle to balance their home life with their career. The following article is quite interesting in regards to this topic:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-can-8217-t-have-it-all/9020/4/

Anne Marie-Slaughter writes “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” and shocked women of all backgrounds with her words. She mainly discusses the struggle to support her family and keep a commitment to her high level job and how at some point women need to make a decision: career or family. She points out that many women in higher ranking positions do not have a family honestly because they do not have the time to juggle both.

I’ve seen this issue in the Army today as well. Many female Captains and above that are successful are still single and not interested in looking, mainly because they have been married to the Army. Those few female officers that I have seen been successful in balancing their home life and their work life have found life partners that are willing to share the burden of raising a family rather than leaving most of it to the women. Most of their spouses are stronger, confident men who are willing to put aside part of their own career aspirations to support their family.

The battle to have a stable family life and reach far and beyond at work will always be a struggle for women. I myself have found it very hard not only to find a man who understands my aggressive and assertive attitude in and out of the workplace, but one who can also understand that I don’t have the given time to spend every waking moment with a man. I, like Ann, believe that it is hard to have both a successful career and a healthy family, and I honestly feel that one of those needs to be sacrificed in order to reach greatness. I do not hail either decision whether to quit work or to put your personal discretions on hold, but women in the military do need to make a decision at some point and find which is more important to them and at what time in their life. The three keys: timing, finding an equal opportunity life partner and dedication. Without these, you will not be successful in either.

Find a balance…GO GIRLS IN GREEN!

Determination: Kyla Ross

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Kyla Ross

It is only fitting to relate the hype of the Olympics to Girls in Green. While watching the women’s gymnastics portion of the London games I was enthralled by the determination and drive of one member of the USA team: Kyla Ross.

The commentators made note that when the USA qualified after the preliminary round and scored above all the other countries that Kyla Ross was the only girl on the USA team to hold back tears of joy. They also noted that she is known to consistently control her emotions determined on reaching her goal to succeed and be the best. Though her team had just made history yet again, she showed her elation without tears. Her teammates and coaches rely on her consistency and steadfast determinate toward her primary goal: GOLD.

How does this relate to the military? I think it is pretty clear. Often one of the arguments that men have against allowing women on the line is that their emotions keep them from performing. It is not unlikely to see a female cry in moments of fear or sadness and this can hinder the work of the team as a whole. Now, I am not hailing those who bottle up their emotions until they explode, but I do believe that we as females need to take note of Kyla’s determination and discipline on the mat. Extreme emotion is sometimes highly distracting especially during a vigorous mission or a dangerous venture.

No one is perfect, I myself find it particularly hard to hold back emotion, especially when experiencing disappointment. I would like to share an experience I had where I was overcome by emotion which rendered my authority meaningless.

While in Afghanistan, my Platoon found one of our fellow Soldiers using drugs down range. This particular Soldier was one of my point men, a trustworthy Soldier and honestly one of the few Soldiers to open up to me about his personal issues. I was completely defeated to hear that one of my proteges had failed me. Following the initial finding, I had to accompany my Soldier, with the rest of his chain of command, to an Article 15 reading by the Battalion Commander and Sergeant Major. For those that have never been through this process, the Battalion Commander gives each member of the Soldier’s chain of command to propose suggested punishments. Following his Squad Leader and my Platoon Sergeant, I began to well up with tears of disappointment and anger. I asked the Battalion Commander to speak to the Soldier directly and I was so overcome with emotion I could barely speak my mind to him. I coughed out my disappointment towards him especially as a veteran member of our team that majority of my other younger Soldiers look up to. I told him that I believe with out question that drugs are not acceptable and that I did not respect his actions and then followed up with the part that bothered me most: that if he felt he could not handle the battle of being down range without the help of drugs, why didn’t he feel comfortable enough to talk to me about it.

Well, let me just say that this Soldier was not the last one to leave the Battalion Commander’s office with a sore look on his face…I was. My boss asked me to stay for a second to talk to me and mistook my disappointment and anger for a bear hug and an “its ok” towards the Soldier. My tears gave him the impression that I was sad and felt bad for my team member when in actuality my feelings were completely different. Unfortunately, my lack of discipline worked against me and made my boss lose faith in my ability to lead my Platoon without partiality.

First hand I learned that I need to control my emotions and remain determined in my position as a LEADER rather than a PEER. Crying, though a great release, needs to be contained, especially in front of your superiors, your peers and your subordinates. The way you speak and the way you express yourself is highly important. If only I had Kyla Ross as a model before this moment would I have understood the power of emotional discipline and steadfast determination in your primary mission.

GO TEAM USA! Girls in Green support you!

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