By Rosalie Bolender, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Twelve active duty and Reserve Supply Corps students from the Naval Supply Corps School (NSCS) successfully completed the newly developed Department Head Leadership Pilot Course (DHLPC) at the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center (NLEC) Aug. 15.
The weeklong course was taught jointly by NLEC and the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) College of Operational and Strategic Leadership (COSL).
At the command level, it is imperative that the Navy's future leaders and department heads are educated not only in their areas of expertise, but in ethics and leadership effectiveness as well. The DHLPC course upholds the NWC's mission of developing such leaders, combined with a strong sense of preparing its students for real world operations.
"We chose to embark on a proof-of-concept for department heads because it's such a pivotal position within any command," stated Capt. Mark Johnson, NLEC commanding officer. "These officers will be required to lead other officers, and for most of them it's the first time in their careers where they will be charged with that responsibility. This curriculum gives us the opportunity to leave an impact on them."
The DHLPC course is designed to prepare students for their next career milestones by centering activities on relevant challenges that are faced by department head leaders today. Students develop their leadership capabilities through a series of reading assignments, writing and reflection, lectures, and case-based learning methods on the topics of self-awareness, ethics and professionalism, team building, and decision making.
"Leadership is of utmost importance in the development of oneself and the development of people for the good of the Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. David Kolberg, a DHLPC student. "This course looked like an excellent opportunity to help develop myself as a leader, as well as to be put in a situation to learn more about current ethical training."
This course has a strong focus on both ethics and character; it ensures that the talents that students develop as leaders are as administrative as they are ethical. In addition, the course offers students an in-depth assessment of their own personalities, and also those of their peers, as an exercise in understanding problem solving and communication. This theme is later translated into an assessment of different learning styles and leadership tactics relating to the personality of an individual, which are then broken down in case-studies.
Lt. j.g. Courtney Fowler, DHLPC student, remarked, "Leadership is not static, it's dynamic. That alone was incredibly enlightening for me, to know that one leadership style doesn't always work. It was very powerful to study the theories first and then apply them to a real-world scenario."
The DHLPC course is taught by NWC COSL professors retired Capt. John Meyer, Olenda Johnson and Gene Anderson; and NLEC professors Cmdr. Kate Standifer, Cdr. Tom Dickinson, and Lt. Cmdr. Ed Rush.
"The model for NWC professors coming to NLEC to teach has already been established in some of the other command-level courses that we run," said Johnson. "What's different about this course is the greater level of integration and synergy between NLEC and the NWC, and that's what really makes it special. NWC's COSL formed the Navy Leader Development Strategy, and the Leader Development Outcomes are associated with that strategy, so it was natural to have that kind of expertise in leader development assist us in putting together this pilot course."
This was the first run of the DHLPC course. It will be taught again during an October session incorporating refinements to the material based on feedback from students and faculty and from the five observers from NSCS, the Center for Personal and Professional Development, and Naval Air Forces who watched as the pilot course was taught. The command-level course curricula will then be updated sometime in the spring of 2015.
"This course gave me the tools and self-awareness that are needed to position myself and those who work for me to better serve the country," said Kolberg. "The nation needs to be able to trust that their sons and daughters are being led by people they can rely on."