Started by Al Walsh
Being a staff officer is one of those jobs that everyone ends up doing at some point and I’ve found that not a lot of people talk about the things that separate a good staff officer from bad one so I decided to make a little list and start a discussion about it here.
- The most important thing to understand is that everyone is busy. Everyone. Commanders above you and in units below you, your peers, the people that work for you. Everyone is busy and you have to respect their time.
- As a staff officer your primary goal is to complete the tasks on your plate as soon as possible. You are a middle man (or woman) and you are getting something to the boss so that a decision can be made, or you are getting something to a unit so that something can be executed. The longer it takes you to do something the less time the boss or the unit has available to do their work.
- Be prepared for meetings. When it is your turn to speak, get right to the point. Start with sentences like “we need a decision regarding,” “our biggest problem is,” “the main points are,” etc. If the person you are talking to wants all the details, he or she will ask for them. Then you can play your own small part in making those meeting we all hate a little less painful.
- This same line of thinking goes for emails. Start every email with something like “I need you to do…,” or “Can I get ….. from you,” or “This is a follow up from when you asked me about….” Get right to the point. It’s the same old BLUF that you hear all the time and the hardly anyone does. If you feel like you need to add details, by all means add them after that first sentence but don’t make someone read 500 words before they get to the thing that you need from them. Odds are because they are busy, they won’t read it, and you won’t get what you’re looking for.
There are many more things that make for a good staff officer and a lot of them are job specific but no matter your job, the tips above can help make you one of the rare staff officers that people in the Companies don’t hate.