Chain of Command Counseling Example

Purpose of Counseling

The purpose of this counseling is to inform you of the need and requirement to use the chain of command.

Key Points of Discussion

On 4 April 2012, you were not at work even though you were scheduled to work. The only person on-duty, due to a scheduled class, was SGT Sullivan. This is not acceptable for several reasons.

First, one person cannot do the job alone. Because of your absence, we are behind on work orders and the other shifts are going to have to sacrifice to catch up.

Second, working alone is a safety hazard. I filled in intermittently when I could but I could not assist 100% of the time. Consequently, safety was compromised. Luckily there were no incidents.

Third, I was unaware of your whereabouts and because I knew you were supposed to be at work, I was concerned that you might have been in a car accident or sick.

After several hours of phone calls I finally reached you and was informed that MSG Harm had given you the day off. When I asked MSG Harm about this, he said you approached him and asked for time off to move and he assumed you had already cleared it with me. This was incorrect procedure for both you and MSG Harm. Because you did not follow the proper procedure, a chain of events was put into motion that crippled our section for the entire day.

To make this clear, you must follow the chain of command. You must clear any absences with me (or whoever your supervisor is) and not the next supervisor in the chain of command. The next person in the chain of command does not know what our schedule is or what I might have planned on a day to day basis. It doesn't matter if I am not working that day. You must clear any actions with me by phone or wait until I work again.

Failure to follow the chain of command is failure to follow orders. If you fail to follow the chain of command again, it will be my responsibility to formally document your actions on DA 4856. I am confident though, that, based on your above average day-to-day performance, this has been a learning experience for you and there will not be a repeat of this behavior.

SSG Wells, USA


Reference: AR 600-20, Army Command Policy, Para 2-1.c. Chain of command

c. Proper use of the chain of command is vital to the overall effectiveness of the Army. Commanders must acquaint all their Soldiers with its existence and proper function. Effective communication between senior and subordinate Soldiers within the chain of command is crucial to the proper functioning of all units. Therefore, Soldiers will use the chain of command when communicating issues and problems to their leaders and commanders.

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