Utilization Of Problem Solving

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Most of my life, I used my problem-solving ability, natural inquisitiveness, wittiness, and people skills to help and influence others. I have three instances that I would like to share that accomplish my goals of problem solving. I do not claim to solve all my problems, however, I would like to show what outcomes befell my actions. I bring a certain logic to the way I try to combat challenges as it shows that I realize it is a critical part of problem solving and decision making (ADRP 6-22, 5-8). It further reads in ADRP 6-22, “self-awareness is a critical factor in making accurate assessments of environmental changes and a leader’s personal capabilities and limitations to operate in that environment.” (7-47) I truly believe in that statement. In my Army career, I had to learn to incorporate those skills to accomplish missions brought before me.

Utilization of Problem Solving that Enable an Effective Leader’s Intellect through Conceptual Components

I honed my conceptual abilities over my 15 years in the Army. In order to be effective, sound judgment had to be applied to my duties and responsibilities (ADRP 6-22, 1-30). One of my fellow Noncommissioned Officers (NCO), SSG Spivey, was one of my NCOs who I rated. We attended Advanced Leadership Course together. The difference between him and I is that I stayed 68W (Medic) and he converted to 68C (LPN). The military schools that I attended helped to provide me with a base of effective problem-solving techniques. I had the opportunity to be a ward master. He was supplied the correct Military Occupation Specialty that would be perfect for my position. SSG Spivey wanted to recommend a Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for a Soldier. I asked him to slow down to think what the underlying cause for his transgressions were. I was surprised that he had taken my counsel and saw that the Soldier was depressed for his failing marriage. His prior military experience in the Marines only had shown him the hard style of dealing with insubordination. Coyne and Hall state, “Typically operating in hostile environments, Soldiers are trained to kill an adversary.” (2013). I sensed that he was one sided in his train of thought. I was surprised to see that he utilized my techniques to the same level or more, in his way of approaching of his career. I was a success in that mission of leading this Gung-ho NCO. Common sense was not always common, so I had to rationally and logically carry out orders. I was not ordered to mold SSG Spivey, but in terms of development, I feel I hit the mark. Higgs wrote, “Even in the midst of war, however, certain questions remain relevant, and one of the most important pertains to precision — to hitting, so to speak, what one aims to hit.” (2003).

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Critical Thinking is the key component to my problem-solving ability. I thought a lot about my decision of following through with a UCMJ action with a Soldier I thought was perfect. I remember Specialist (SPC) Rouse as being moldable and having the epitome of making a great future leader. He was always willing to work hard and volunteer for all tasks set before him. His actions were stellar and that made him in my eyes as being high speed. I thought that through me modeling the right example, his professionalism would shine. I was mistaken shortly after he was married. After that event, he accumulated many personal problems. I thought of how my actions may affect others by foreseeing the subsequent possible outcomes. The best outcome for him that I though was to make him into an NCO. Then, after attending school to gain his prerequisites – a medical doctor. I had many talks with him to figure out why his military bearing was failing. I saw too many times his tardiness, absenteeism, and eventually him sleeping at work. At one point, SSG Spivey was his direct supervisor. He wanted to “nail him to the wall.” That was the turning point of SSG Spivey in the first paragraph. He moved on to be ward master next door. I was now in charge of SPC Rouse directly. That led to a sentinel event that gave me no other choice but to recommend UCMJ. I found out that he fell asleep on a disoriented patient that he was supposed to be watching. The patient was injured and SPC Rouse could have prevented it. The doctor’s order was clear for a one-to-one line of sight observation at night. Goodman said,” Because of their limited knowledge, patients have no reliable way of evaluating the quality of the advice they are getting ― especially when they get different advice from different doctors.” (2013). Even though SPC Rouse lost rank and had to attend extra duty, I did not give up on him. I interacted with my junior enlisted with the state of mind to impart my knowledge. Eventually, I was moved to a different company. I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t do all that I could to help that Soldier. I felt an unclean break in our professional relationship since I had unfinished business with his development. Calhoun articulates, “” Dirty hands” are said to result when a leader encounters a conflict of duties or values and must choose between alternatives, none of which is entirely satisfactory.” SPC Rouse was a manager in his civilian job experience. I had no doubt that he would bounce back and make it to Sergeant. A year later, he was promoted. In ADRP 6-22, it reads that, “Soldiers and Army Civilians enter the Army with personal values developed in childhood and nurtured over years of personal experience.” (3-3).

I was an expert and a professional until I had to think outside the box. This leads me to my last circumstance of problem solving. SGT Lewallen and I were originally stationed in Germany for out first duty station. His future wife was also stationed there. We did not really stay in touch until I saw him again. This time around I was one rank above him and put in the position to be his supervisor. We were not friends back then, but I felt obligated to help him with his current situation. I recall the present situation at that time involved his personal life. His wife was battling cancer and he was struggling to be a good father to his five children. My Soldiers were encouraged to come up with multiple solutions to their challenges. I asked him what his plans were for the future of his career and his family. All he could say to me is that he wanted to get out of the Army. I respected that until I found that his plan was not unfailing. His work ethic was strong because he was a solid nurse. I saw he needed NCO guidance and I gave him the scenarios of the most likely outcomes. I gave him good incentives to keep him as an asset to our organization. The Army was instilled in him and during his wife’s remission of cancer, he decided to re-enlist. I was excited to hear he had the opportunity to return to Germany for the second time. I felt somehow connected since I just came from Germany on my 2nd tour. Eland authored, “Most of the 100,000 troops in Europe (mainly in Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain, Iceland, Belgium and Portugal) and almost all of the 75,000 troops in Asia (in Japan and South Korea) are supporting wealthy nations against mild or declining threats.” (1998). SGT Lewallen had made a difference in my life and I like to think likewise for him and his family. My mental agility has waned from time to time, but I have endured and will continue to strive to be the best I can be. A couple of years of the high stress of a 24 hour, seven days a week operation had taken its toll on my mental faculties (1-30). I had to destress and step back to self-realize what were my challenges. I battled them head on and tried to improve upon my weary self. I strengthened my resiliency to find that the Army doesn’t look for Soldier who had been seen in behavior health. I couldn’t go drill sergeant or instructor. Those broadening assignments are positions of trust. Recruiting was available after my assignment to Korea. My family and I did not see it as the correct move at that time. Again, after reviewing all possible outcomes and choosing what was the best for my career and my family was not easy.


As an Army leader, I have faced many challenges and have risen above them. It is a constant challenge to be the most engaged intellectual leader. I can confidently say that I can only control my actions, emotions, and thoughts. There will always be different challenges and varied solutions to problems. We must remain flexible to bend to see the different angles of a resolution. Life will not be perfect and to think that it could be possible is a fantasy. ADRP 6-22 shows us, “The Army NCO is a leader of strong character, comfortable in every role and to answer the challenges of the operational environment as NCOs must train Soldiers to cope, prepare, and perform regardless of the situation.” I see clearly to the end of my missions by taking the time to think it through and encourage my team to do the same. My last mission for the Army will be to make my transition into the civilian world, possibly as an Army civilian. I leave you with this lasting thought, “The inability or refusal of the world to recognize militarism, now cloaked in civilian garb, imperils the future of both liberalism and democracy.” (Ekirch, 1956). 


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