After receiving the comments from my peers based off of my overall performance in ROTC, there’re several areas that I would like to improve. The peer evaluation is an effective way to see my week areas as well as my strong areas. We completed the peer evaluation with the goal of improvement; despite some cadets leaving unreasonable comments that I do not agree with, this kind of feedback will indeed help me communicate efficiently, resolve current issues, prevent future failures, and, of course, become a better future officer candidate.
Starting with the character session, five out of eight cadets in the group marked me green, as in professional, and three gave me an amber, as in developing. Several cadets mentioned that I am always motivated in and out of ROTC, and I take Army values as well as the company standards seriously. I have always aspired to be in the Army, and the Esprit De Corps are standards that motivate me everyday to be a more disciplined person. My eagerness to succeed and improve made me a motivated person. I also believe that I am capable of distinguished performance in a higher level position because I rarely complain in front of the PLT, always show up with a positive attitude, and display myself as a disciplined soldier. However, some cadets mentioned that I sometimes tend be easily frustrated and stressed under leadership position rotations, which is true. Self-control is also something people mentioned in the peer-evaluation I knew I needed to work on. Echoing my leadership experience back in October when I was the PSG for 1st PLT, I sometimes took initiative too far by overstepping my authority. I did not trust my PL enough, and I did a lot of the PL work by myself, and hence caused myself to be overloaded with the combination of my military duties and schoolwork. People constantly reminded me to do my own things as the PSG, but I did not listen. Starting from here, I would take more constructive criticism and adapt myself to be a better listener. I need to actively accept feedback from others and provide a positive direction to my peers.
According to most people here, I seem to be able to understand the Army regulations and project a professional appearance in dress and manner. I rarely fail to follow the timeline and demonstrate a lack of respect for others’ time by arriving late to PTs, and I never missed any ROTC training event without gaining the appropriate advance approvals. Some people think that I have great military bearing while in charge but I am not competent in all basic leadership tasks. I think more practice in front of the platoon would help me demonstrate confidence in leading others. Also, I need to be more patient when dealing with crises. There was one instance back in October where I responded emotionally to a critical situation and overtly displayed a negative attitude because a few cadets from my PLT did not meet the weight standard for the ruck march. I acted very unprofessionally in front of my PLT, decreased the moral, and hurt our overall performance. Some people also feel that I take constructive criticism as a personal affront and become very defensive. In order to improve I need to take constructive criticism in stride and avoid appearing defensive and remain flexible when faced with last minute changes in plan. Physically, I would like to maintain my current fitness level. I want to branch Infantry and that is why I take PT seriously. I am in remarkable shape and always motivate and challenge my battle-buddies around me to perform at the highest possible level, and I should keep this fortitude for the rest of the semester.
In the field of making decisions, I sometime make unnecessarily hasty decisions. Some people said that I do not appear confident and persuasive when defending my decisions. I do not plan wisely, and I need to be able to outline the pros and cons of alternative courses of actions during lab trainings.
Tactics are another thing I need to improve. I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about the basic Infantry Platoon Tactics. My platoon would often run through squad tactics after PT, making sure that everyone was comfortable with these tactics before Lab. I often feel not completely comfortable with these tactics myself, but I made good effort to explain concepts and execution to the best of my ability. I should improve on squad tactics so that I am more readily able to help those within my platoon who may be confused. In the spring semester, I would like to increase knowledge and skill levels of basic infantry tactics by putting in more effort outside of ROTC classroom, participating actively during class, and creating more social interactions among other cadets.
I am always willing to help my squad with any concerns they have. I seem to be high-performing when it comes to PT, and I believe this motivated our squad to try to perform at our best. I hold myself and others accountable, never leave a fallen comrade, but sometime I make others frustrated because I do not provide strategic visions of future goals and objectives. One cadet said in the Peer-Evaluation that I poorly communicate and do not work well with others, and I can see where that came from. I do not mess around with cadets in ROTC and this is probably why people think of me as a tough guy who’s difficult to approach and does not know when to confront and when to hold back. Being arrogant is one of my weaknesses. The only downside of confidence is that when I have it and while developing it, I tend to be aggressive by using inappropriate language and being too directive to people. This caused a few female cadets to complain about me in the back for being disrespectful. I review this as a positivity. However, other can perceive this as arrogance, and I do not disagree with that. The better I feel about myself the more confident I become. Being a leader is not just getting the people to do what I asked them to do, they need to be able to inspire people and respect them at the same time. I was in the situation of being an arrogant leader instead of a confident leader. Confident leaders have vision and they understand how important the vision is to not only just the individuals but to the team, and I should be articulating that vision to the team. I need to have a vision that is what I want my platoon to be, at my best, every day. I would like to build a more constructive relationship with others in the future, and avoid letting personal disagreement interfere with others at training. I should also be more vulnerable; that being said, I sometimes appear to be very indecisive when making decisions. During my leadership rotation, I constantly asked my SLs by verbal communication for additional help, and I failed to plan for future needs and confused subordinates by sending disorganized information about plans of actions and goals. I need to become more comfortable dealing with authority and remain in control under high pressure. Just taking word for “Yes, I’m ready” should not be enough. Instead, I should actively communicate with my peers regarding any future changes. I felt that information regarding PTs, lab in general was often passed down relatively late. I would often have to wait for emails to make sure that nothing changed regarding the time or location of first formation, which seemed to happen often. I did address this at one point, stating that this was out of my control. Other than that, I felt that any other information, such as any daily update, was passed down well ahead of time.
Although I did not trust my PL enough during my October leadership rotation, I still successfully built bridges based on trust and open communication. I treated my PL with respect and dignity in many ways; I never came up to her and discouraged her from new ideas. I understand the importance of teamwork, and the only thing I feel I needed to improve is that I need to be more patient when dealing with issues and explaining questions to the younger cadets. I will take PL’s role in February, and my personal goal would be to set clear and realistic performance standards for my platoon, such as requiring people to wear the correct uniform set forth in AR 670-1, creating an image of professionalism in all they do, remaining consistent in daily performance, etc. I would also like to encourage open communication to any one, create a more positive work environment, and treat others with dignity and respect for others’ private affairs.
I get tasks completed, and I am willing to work with anyone in order to get my job done. I was overwhelmed with school starting and teaching the incoming MSIs all about ROTC, but by the end I was much more calm and organized. I made our squad bond very well and I am happy that my platoon/squad are so close and I created an atmosphere of learning as well as support. I sometimes have a lack of necessary confidence to bring about change in a course of actions, and I rarely demonstrate basic technical skills when advanced knowledge is needed. For example, during the tactics lab in October, I was very much insufficient in technical competence to lead the platoon through basic infantry platoon tactics. I should retrain in areas where I have become rusty, and overcome my resistance to newly learned knowledge.