INCIDENT IN THE BARRACKS (Continued)
Staff Sergeant Butler's counseling was "directive." He told SGT Boyer what he did
wrong and what he wanted him to do to improve. In directive counseling, the
counselor identifies the problem and tells the counselee what to do about it.
"Nondirective" counseling is helping the counselee determine the problem and plan a
course of action. In nondirective counseling, the counselee determines his own
problem and solution with the help of the counselor.
You, as the leader, have to determine if you should be "directive," "nondirective,"
or some appropriate combination. It depends on who has the information about what
the problem is and how to solve it. In SGT Boyer's case, Staff Sergeant Butler had the
information. Staff Sergeant Butler told Sergeant Boyer that his beliefs were wrong, but
he did not tell him to change them. You can't order someone to change their beliefs
and then enforce that order. Don't give orders you can't enforce. SSG Butler did
attack SGT Boyer's beliefs and explained why he thought they are wrong. He then
gave SGT Boyer a significant emotional shock when he told him he would relieve him
if he did not change his way of treating soldiers. Sometimes such a shock is
necessary to start a process of change.
SSG Butler let SGT Boyer know that he saw his good points. He told SGT Boyer
that he wanted him to succeed and to develop as a person and professional and that
he would do his part by giving Boyer daily lessons on leadership. Butler also let Boyer
know that if he did not behave in strict accordance with Butler's policies, he would not
hesitate to relieve him and recommend reduction.
After finishing this counseling session with Sergeant Boyer, Staff Sergeant Butler
met with Private Mendez. He told Mendez that he was a superior soldier with the
values, character, and skills that show he has excellent potential as a soldier and
future leader. He apologized for Sergeant Boyer's behavior and said that he had
reprimanded and counseled Boyer. He said that Sergeant Boyer would apologize to
Mendez. This session began the healing process of the psychological wound to
After talking to Mendez, Staff Sergeant Butler planned and organized his next
counseling with Sergeant Boyer. He hoped he had started the belief and behavior
change process with the first session. Now he would have to keep it moving. When
Sergeant Boyer came in the next time, Staff Sergeant Butler created a different
atmosphere. He told Boyer to sit down and relax. He began by asking Boyer if he was
serious about wanting to become a better leade,r and if he was motivated to be
receptive to the leadership lessons; he intended to give him in a series of counseling
sessions. Boyer said he was receptive. If Boyer had been stubborn and resentful,
Butler had made up his mind to relieve him.
Staff Sergeant Butler then got SSG Boyer to talk about asking a series of
questions: Why were you upset at PVT Mendez? What did you hope to achieve by
Figure 1-2. Incident in the barracks-counseling exercise (continued).