The Staff Non-Commissioned Officer’s (SNCO) responsibility to be the link between enlisted Marines and developing junior officers is one of the most critical relationships in the Marine Corps. The role of the SNCO is to share knowledge from their experience and offer sound advice to develop junior officers. The SNCO’s mentorship will ensure the leadership team, and the command is ready to overcome sophisticated threats in any environment. A SNCO’s role is to lead, and an officer’s role is to command, not that officers are not leaders, but as commanders, their leadership is more strategic. They are the decision-makers, and they shoulder the responsibility of accomplishing the mission at stake. The officer is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the unit or mission.
First, it is crucial to understand that developing the relationship between the junior officer and SNCO is a delicate process. One wrong word or attitude can ruin the young officer or create a negative mindset towards SNCOs, which can last throughout an entire career. SNCOs need to approach junior officers without an attitude of superiority. There is no benefit to trying and impressing the new officer with how much experience a SNCO has or tell them how insufficient their knowledge is. If the SNCO shows intolerance toward young officers, it can be counterproductive. The appearance of intolerance often causes them to stop asking questions, which leads to mistakes. It is the responsibility of the SNCO to recognize, act on, and correct the errors by turning them into learning opportunities, understanding that it is far better to learn in a training environment than to make mistakes in war (Learning, 4-5).