[January 31, 2020] Leadership requires a joint-cooperative effort between the person in charge and those that are responsible for that leader’s success. In the U.S. military, there are positions occupied by the most senior enlisted service member that acts as an adviser to the commanding officer. A senior enlisted adviser (SEA) fulfills the role of coach, mentor, and teacher; all rolled into one.
A senior adviser counsels the commander on all enlisted matters affecting training, utilization, the health of the force, and enlisted professional development. Although not required, but often practiced, the SEA also advises the commanding officer’s staff. The position is crucial for the success of the commander and the unit.
In all my decades of service, I most relieve upon my Command Sergeant Major more than any other person to ensure the unit was running smoothly. The SEA also made sure I was not blindsided by a brewing problem that might have been recognized sooner. Commanders and SEAs are problem solvers. Their primary task is to care for their troops and to get the mission accomplished.
There are several standard features of the SEA. For example, all SEAs are highly experienced, tested in a harsh environment, and proven to be reliable. They are cheerleaders for the organization but are also willing to “buck the trend” to keep the commander informed. That is why the relationship between commander and SEA is both close and highly confidential.
Another feature of any enlisted adviser is intelligent. They are smart, articulate, and focused. Only once did I see a SEA who did not meet these criteria and that Sergeant Major was relieved of his duties quickly. Most SEAs have advanced college degrees and certifications in several academic fields. For example, my Engineer unit’s Sergeant Major had a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.
Enlisted advisers are also hard-working, careful, and diligent. They are often the first into work and the last to leave. They have their noses to the ground to pick up anything out of the ordinary or could affect the performance of the unit. Since their job is to help care for the enlisted members of their military unit, quickly identifying problems is a paramount skill set. Conscientiousness pays off in the long run and helps the commander accomplish the unit’s mission as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
Trust and confidence are the glue that holds this commander-SEA entity together. Without trust, the unit and its members will suffer because organizational friction (those little things that suck your energy) will inhibit mission accomplishment. All successful human interaction is predicated on the idea of trust and confidence.
We have witnessed in the news over the past few days, developments about how U.S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser John Bolton made several unflattering accusations. If true, Bolton is an example of someone who has violated the most basic trust between a commander (President Trump) and his senior adviser (John Bolton).
Note: In a recent announcement, Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Command Sergeant Major John W. Troxell announced new and unique insignia for that position. He serves as the principal adviser to the chairman on matters of the enlisted joint force. This article’s thumbnail is a photo of Command Sergeant Major Troxell while giving an announcement at the Pentagon. https://careertrend.com/facts-6827173-job-description-senior-enlisted-advisor.html