What do you get when you combine three motivated Army First Sergeants with over 50 years of experience?
You get a hard hitting leadership book which provides a short and concise breakdown of the leadership attributes, competencies and values of the US Army. In 50 pages, and a book small enough to put in your cargo pocket, you can digest a hard hitting book on the fundamentals of Army Leadership.
It was quite a pleasure to work with Noel DeJesus for this interview. It is clear through his writings that Noel takes a holistic view of leadership and focuses his book on the physical, emotional and mental development of leaders. I hope you enjoy the interview and the book.
What is the backstory behind “Preparation Breeds Professionalism? And how did you and your fellow First Sergeants come up with this idea?
The origins of this book started a few months ago as I engaged my company during physical readiness training one day. I often employ a physical fitness routine called “get smarter or get stronger”. During this routine, I asked individual Soldiers of my company a basic question about the United States Army, ranging from leadership to land navigation, first aid, and other basic Soldiering skills. If the Soldier gets the answer right, I do push-ups, and if they get it wrong, the entire Company does push-ups. This not only encourages the Soldiers to learn about the Army, but also encourages their peers and leaders to aid them. Unfortunately, many of the Soldiers could not answer basic questions about Army leadership, and this included many of the leaders as well. This pushed me towards creating a consolidated guide on Army leadership, as many of the Soldier’s excuses for not answering the questions were, “There are just too many regulations to read through”.
We must never lose sight of the fact that we are only as good as the men and women who follow us; alone we are no more than an individual who solely possesses a vision — Noel DeJesus
Why does the Army need this book on leadership?
I feel that this book serves as the perfect leadership guide for the professional Soldier and aspiring leader. In less than 50 pages, a Soldier can develop a deeper understanding of the competencies, attributes, and values of the Army’s Leadership. The book is also small enough to fit in the uniform pocket and serve as a quick reference guide for any Soldier at a moment’s notice. Many Soldiers are intimidated by the vast amount of Army regulations and the technical overwriting that they are filled with. This book cuts the fat and delivers the meat of what a Soldier needs to know about Army leadership.
Why is reading important for our Army, and Nation?
Reading is extremely important for leaders within the Army because it serves as a basis for knowledge acquisition. In the complex and ever-changing environment of the 21st-century, leaders need to remain flexible, adaptive, and informed. In my experience, the best leaders are those who are life-long learners, and reading is the ultimate tool for learning.
How did your leadership and ethical philosophy develop?
My leadership philosophy has evolved over time, and I would directly attribute that growth to my experiences. I feel that while the concepts of leadership can be taught, they must eventually be forged in the fire of experience. My leadership philosophy places a huge emphasis on preparation, and this largely stems from the experiences I encountered during my three combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. When you fail to prepare in a combat environment, the consequences can be fatal, so I try to implement that same mindset with all that I do.
Other than your book, are there any books you would recommend be added to the Army’s Reading list?
I would recommend two books by Barbara Kellerman, “Bad Leadership: What is it, How it happens, Why it matters” and “Followership: How Followers are Creating Change and Changing Leaders”.
Author’s Bio: Noel DeJesus is a First Sergeant in the United States Army. He has served on three combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Combat Action Badge among other awards. He is a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Army’s Senior Leader Course and Advanced Leader Course, and he holds a Master of Arts in Administrative Leadership from the University of Oklahoma.
Noel Can be contacted at @Noel__DeJesus or LinkedIn
Book Description: Preparation Breeds Professionalism is a consolidated guide to leadership in the United States Army. Leveraging over 50 years of military experience from a trio of First Sergeants, Preparation Breeds Professionalism delivers a short and concise breakdown of the leadership attributes, competencies, and values of the United States Army, and serves as a must-read for the professional Soldier and aspiring leader.