Sometimes you need a “course correction” in your life. But what if you overdo it?
It used to be that soldiers only got counseling if they did something wrong. “Getting a counseling statement” meant a reprimand was on your record. The Army gradually changed and said that counseling would be done multiple times over a soldier’s career (at least, that’s the ideal– it still doesn’t happen for everyone). You get counseled when you first show up at a duty station so you know what is expected of you. You get a mid-cycle counseling as a sort of progress report, and then an end-of-year counseling to let you know what goals were met, and what new goals are expected.
It’s hard enough with a new person of unknown capabilities; but in the Reserves and National Guard it is even harder because you only see this person in brief, two- or three-day spots of time that total up to about a month, and then one 2- or maybe 3-week period over the summer… and that’s if one of you isn’t off at some sort of school for one thing or another.
Counseling soldiers is one of those things that a lot of leaders have a hard time with. I think because in the course of trying to quantify another person’s performance, you also have to think about your own ability to measure that. You end up asking questions like “is this reasonable? Would I be able to do it?”
Especially with a new soldier that you don’t really know yet. You don’t know what their capabilities are, beyond their obvious ability to pass Basic and AIT (Advanced Individual Training, where you get your actual job skills). What you think might be a helpful hint is interpreted by them as an instruction for a major course-correction.
Over-interpreting and over-correcting can be as bad as no correction at all.