My brother's keeper: forging SOF operators through developmental relationships
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Personal and professional development is paramount to the growth and success of individuals and the organizations they comprise. The United States military's special operations forces (SOF) are elite small teams that work in austere situations globally. SOF operators are expected to be competent and capable at all times. They must rely on their team members for personal and professional development. This paper sought to assess the characteristics and outcomes of developmental relationships within SOF teams. Through interviews with SOF operators from the Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, and Marine Raiders, the findings reinforce the necessity of development within teams. Numerous viewpoints emerged regarding the importance of team dynamics, leadership cohesion, and strong personal traits. SOF development providers' and recipients' insights helped paint a picture of developmental relationships within SOF teams--specifically, how and why development is initiated, what is provided, and how it benefits operators. The qualitative interview process exposed numerous implications for SOF operators, team leaders, and the greater SOF community regarding the importance of proactive and meaningful development.
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