In this paper I will discuss the importance of why a NCO or Drill Sergeant should maintain proper military appearance and why it is important. The NCO’s Creed first states that “no one is more professional than I”, so I am sure that means more than just appearance. It is a statement that includes mannerism, attitude, professionalism etc. It also says that NCOs are the backbone of the Army, which will also tell you that we serve a critical role. Even though I respect the entire creed, the statement that most stands out to me is” All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership.
I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own”. Although Drill Sergeants have another separate creed, we still have to abide by both creeds. My favorite line in the Drill Sergeants creed that stands out to me is “I will lead by example, never requiring a soldier to attempt any task that I would not do myself”. I will discuss wear of the uniform and how we should wear our hair, uniforms and how we should groom. I will also explain that it is our duty and responsibility to maintain these characteristics.
Appearance reflects upon the basic character and work ethic of a person. Positive work ethic is the collection of all the values and actions that people feel are appropriate in the work place. Appropriate dress, grooming, hygiene, and etiquette. Appearance is our duty and responsibility as a NCO and Drill sergeant. No one has more to do with training and discipline of soldiers than the NCO and Drill Sergeant. Appearance deals with every aspect of how we perceive an individual. Therefore it is a must that we present ourselves the way we expect them to present themselves.
A well trained soldier will reflect to the NCO or Drill Sergeant who is training or has trained them. A NCO/ Drill Sergeant’s duties are numerous and must not be taken for granted. Duty is explained as something you must do by virtue of your position and is a legal or moral obligation. It is the NCO/ Drill Sergeant’s responsibility to ensure the soldiers are aware of the rules and regulations and to lead by example. Responsibility is defined as being accountable for what you do or fail to do. It is our responsibility to be accountable for your personal conduct and that of your soldiers.
We must make sure that soldiers clearly understand the responsibilities as a member of the team and a representative of the army. The NCO/Drill Sergeant’s appearance is as important as any other professional occupation. Rather it be a blue collar job, political, or any other professional job. Any professional environment should have some level of professional appearance. Professional appearance and integrity tend to result in a professional work ethic. Not only is appearance important but so is professional demeanor.
Appearance deals with every aspect of how we perceive an individual. In an instant, we form opinions about a person based on that individual’s appearance, character, speech, and mannerisms. Those brief seconds define how we treat others and are treated by others. Likewise, our appearance is a direct reflection of the environment in which we were accustomed. Maintaining a professional appearance shows confidence in yourself, personality that is one of a kind, good judgment on decision making, pride in your business or organization, and your self-respect as an individual.
When new recruits comes to basic training, advanced individual training, or join a new unit, their NCO or Drill Sergeant is usually the first person they will meet. Your hair should be neat and clean. It is not that you cannot have hair, but if you choose to then it must be within regulation, and should be neat and trimmed at all times. Same thing goes for facial hair if you have a medical profile. If you do not have a profile then your face should be clean shaven, to include side burns, nose hair, and even your mustache.
Finger nails also should be within regulation. Your nails should not exceed the tip of your fingers and should be clean. Obviously body odor is also a must. While it is not presentable to wash down in aftershaves or colognes, it is also offensive to smell bad. One thing to always keep in mind is, a first impression is a lasting impression, whether it’s military life or civilian life. People often decide whether or not they like you and will do business with you within the first ten seconds of the first encounter.
Image may not be everything, but it does speak volumes about your organization’s values, work ethics, and professionalism. Therefore, if you appear to be a dirt bag then it is very possible that your superiors, peers, or subordinates will label you even though they do not really know the real you. You may work as hard as possible to improve your first impression, but if you get that label on you, regardless of how hard you work, the positive work you do may not be recognized. On the other hand, everything you do that is negative is pointed out.
For example, you may have completed nine out of ten tasks above or at expectation level, but the one thing you do wrong is the one that could ruin your reputation and label you. For this reason, our actions and appearance that others may form may have a lasting effect that form an unfavorable impression of you that may never overcome. The sad thing about first impression is that you do not get a second chance to make a first impression. As a new recruit, we teach them importance of your appearance. The NCO or Drill Sergeant will inform you of shaving, hair, uniform, ect.
New recruits are taught to shave as often as possible to keep their appearance up. Your appearance also represents your capabilities, for example, if you do not look presentable then why would anyone trust you to be a part of their business. We must always maintain a high standard of dress and appearance. Our uniform should fit properly; that includes your hat should be worn correctly and should look presentable, trousers and coat should fit, but not tightly, and should be clean and serviceable. This is no different from the civilian world.
For example, policemen, and highway troopers must maintain their hats just like a Drill Sergeant. Even as in my civilian occupation, most vehicle mechanics must always look presentable while around customers, even if the job you are doing involves oils, or dirt. We must project a military image that leaves no doubt that we live by a common military standard and are responsible to military order and discipline. When carrying items in the pockets, they should not protrude from the pocket or present a bulky appearance.
Maintaining good appearance gives your superior the opportunity to gain trust in your ability. The only issue is, establishing that good standard is difficult and takes a lot of time but it is worth it in the end. Most superiors expect the growth in leadership skills, appearance, and character. As a NCO/Drill Sergeant, keeping up with your appearance shows your superiors that you are a team player. The impression your superior can receive from you when your appearance is correct can lead to an opportunity to be notice and recognize.
Making an effort to look your best can offer many rewards, even boost your self-confidence. At all means, try not to prejudge people regardless of what others have told you. A lot of times we fail as a society to consider the other person may be trying to change their ways. When it comes to your appearance as a NCO/Drill Sergeant, value yourself then others for who they are. In conclusion, if a NCO/Drill Sergeant failed to keep their appearance, there are consequences, because everyone wants to be thought of as a class act.
We want to be viewed as competent as the next man. We want to feel valued by superiors and everyone want to feel successful on the job and the walks of life. I accept who I am as an individual and I realize that I have a lot of good qualities. I expect challenges as a NCO/Drill Sergeant to help improve me as a person. When you get it right, you feel confident in yourself as a person. As a NCO/Drill Sergeant, I realize that I have to develop the right mind set when it comes to my role as a Drill Sergeant.
I am learning to develop the attitude that I MAY fail at times and my failures will become a learning experience. That provides me the opportunity to learn from my mistakes. I am also developing the skill to fake it until I make it. This means that there will be times when I do not feel particularly confident, but by acting confident you will at least give off the appearance of someone who is comfortable with himself. And finally, always give off positive energy everywhere you go. By being an energetic and fun person, you will become somebody that others will want to be around.