Accountability, in the context of an individual or organization, refers to taking responsibility for one’s actions and demonstrating the outcomes. In the military, accountability is defined as a duty imposed on officers and others by law, lawful orders, or regulations to maintain accurate records of property, documents, funds, or soldiers. It is crucial for NCOs and squad leaders to recognize the significance of accountability in maintaining control over their soldiers. Various methods such as formations, meetings, phone calls, or text messages can be employed to achieve this.
Ensuring accountability is crucial in the Army as it can have negative consequences for the missing individual, the person responsible for locating them, and the entire unit. Accountability extends beyond the moment when the formation is dismissed and should be upheld in every aspect of one’s actions. It is possible to maintain accountability by contacting your NCO or sending text messages to inform them of your whereabouts and activities. These actions hold the same level of importance as attending a formation and should be regarded accordingly. Disregarding a phone call or deleting a message from your supervisor is equally detrimental as skipping a formation; it also contradicts the Army Values.
In the U.S. Army, reaching formation is the primary objective for soldiers. However, unexpected situations can occur that prevent this. Such circumstances include a soldier’s child falling ill, personal appointments or obligations, a spouse being called into work, or encountering severe traffic. These are all examples of unforeseen events that may happen.
By utilizing text messages and phone calls, you can establish accountability in situations where you are unable to attend formation due to unforeseen circumstances. Contacting your supervisor and providing an explanation for your absence helps maintain a positive sense of accountability and prevents any potential negative counseling for missing formation.
Accountability, a vital trait in time management or punctuality, is indispensable. Failing to arrive on time is deemed unacceptable and disapproved of. Being punctual entails arriving ten minutes ahead, a standard followed in the army with good reason. For instance, if work call is scheduled for 0900, one should be present by 0850. However, you may question how skipping the 0630 formation for PT on Fort Hood poses a threat to others’ lives. The answer is, it does not.
Being punctual is important both in the military and civilian world. In the military, being on time or arriving a bit early is a beneficial habit, especially during missions. Similarly, civilians are also expected to arrive at their designated place on time. However, the difference is that in the civilian world, being punctual means arriving exactly on schedule. As long as you arrive before the scheduled time, which is usually within a minute, you are considered punctual. Being punctual not only shows discipline but also respect for your superiors. Moreover, it indicates that you are responsible, trustworthy, and capable of following directions.
Punctuality is not only a requirement in the Army, but also a reflective personal trait that demonstrates a person’s character, personal integrity, and self-discipline. Although certain circumstances may occasionally cause us to be late, being habitually tardy reveals a lack of respect for others and their time. Chronic lateness indicates a disregard for the instructions of one’s NCO. No one wants to rely on an individual who cannot even attend a daily formation at the designated time and location.
Accountability and punctuality were deeply ingrained in us during basic soldiering. From the outset, the Army set high standards for these attributes. Showing dedication and fulfilling obligations are crucial to achieving success. As you attain this quality and rise to a higher rank, you will anticipate that your subordinates will strive for the same level of excellence. Time management is a prevalent characteristic among accomplished individuals.
Understanding the true meaning of time is crucial, as it equates to money. I have come to realize this fact! The ability to manage one’s time not only shows self-respect but also respect for others. It holds immense importance for a soldier in the U.S. Army, where being punctual, present in the right place, and appropriately dressed are vital. Even a slight delay or deviation from these requirements could lead to severe consequences that put everyone in jeopardy. This principle applies across all aspects of Army life and being prompt is not just a duty but also demonstrates good manners.
Punctuality is crucial for achieving success in various areas such as fortune, reputation, influence, and usefulness. It is equivalent to stealing someone else’s time and indicates a lack of respect for others if one is late. Thus, being punctual is imperative in all aspects of life. Furthermore, punctuality is closely associated with military discipline. In basic training, soldiers are taught to follow orders promptly and unquestioningly starting from the first day of boot camp. The military’s effectiveness and discipline depend on obedience to orders. As Steven R. Cove succinctly put it: Accountability cultivates response-ability.
Responsibility encompasses various elements and involves different aspects, including social responsibility. This entails being accountable for our actions that can have an impact on others. Making a mistake or committing an error can result in adverse consequences for other individuals. For example, if I am tardy and my supervisor is unaware of my location or activities, she may face repercussions because she lacks knowledge about her subordinate’s whereabouts.
In the military, being accountable is a basic principle that is instilled in us from the start. We are taught to take responsibility for our actions and their consequences. By arriving ten minutes early to formation, we not only guarantee punctuality but also promote a feeling of accountability.
Every soldier who enters basic training receives instruction on responsibility. If all soldiers are taught and demonstrate responsibility, the efficiency of the army would improve and accountability would be less problematic for both soldiers and their superiors. I am confident that every soldier is equipped with the necessary tools to become competent and responsible. However, over time, some soldiers, including myself, may misplace or forget these tools provided by our drill sergeants and supervisors. In such cases, it becomes the duty of NCOs and supervisors to discipline us and guide us towards reclaiming our role as responsible soldiers.
According to a Persian proverb, our supervisor is not responsible for constantly correcting us; rather, we should learn from our mistakes and heed their advice to become responsible soldiers. This proverb highlights the importance of thinking, planning, and acting wisely as the most effective approach. It can be applied to our military routine where proactive planning is crucial in preparing for any potential situation. However, as a supply soldier, I have not consistently adhered to this principle. I acknowledge the importance of preparing for unforeseen obstacles and therefore recognize the necessity of proactive planning.
This will enhance the effectiveness of our mission and promote responsibility. Prior planning is essential for achieving desired outcomes, as mentioned earlier. It is crucial for supervisors to recruit individuals who can foresee and get ready for anticipated and unforeseen circumstances. In my view, it would be preferable for my colleague to have contingency plans prepared in case things do not go according to plan. For example, during a convoy mission, I anticipate my fellow travelers to be prepared to respond appropriately if we encounter an attack.
Understanding the importance of staying safe is crucial to me. I have undergone counseling several times due to recent work-related challenges, which has allowed for ample self-reflection opportunities in my Army career. I acknowledge that I have not always lived up to my full potential as a soldier, and this deeply concerns me. As a result, I am actively working towards improving myself both professionally and personally. Unfortunately, in the past few weeks, including PT formation, I have consistently been tardy for work.
I am currently taking the necessary steps to become the soldier I believe I can be. To accomplish this, I have been fulfilling all my requirements to ensure I wake up each morning prepared to face the day. By exhibiting responsibility in this manner, my aim is to prove my competence and dependability to my supervisor.
Before, when I was tardy to formation, I was conveying a lack of responsibility and incapacity to meet fundamental expectations for a PFC with three years of experience. Nonetheless, ensuring that I am present at the correct location in a suitable uniform and punctual will exemplify thoroughness and enable me to arrive promptly for formation.
“I am aware that if this behavior continues, I will ruin my chances of promotion. Excuses won’t get me where I want to be. To eliminate excuses, I need to be better prepared and plan ahead. The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to be.” – Socrates.
This quote encapsulates my goals: to cultivate a positive professional reputation and earn the respect I deserve from my supervisors. In order to regain their trust, I will fulfill all requested obligations and go above and beyond. This entails maintaining consistent and open communication with my supervisor.