Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Leadership course provides Airmen pathways to success

by Master Sgt. David Eichaker
National Guard Bureau Public Affairs

8/26/2015 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md., -- Calling the experience "very eye opening," Airman 1st Class Madison Harrison came away from the recent three-day Enlisted Leadership Symposium at Camp Dawson, West Virginia with a greater understanding and appreciation of the total Air Force.

"Seeing how the Air Force works as a whole is going to help me in my career," she said. "This is the kind of information I need to share with other members from my unit.  You can lead a leader or you can lead a leader to lead others."

A material management specialist with the Arizona Air National Guard's 161st Air Refueling Wing, Harrison was one of nearly 400 hand-selected Air National Guard members to attend. ELS hosted Airmen from all three enlisted tiers from the 89 wings, representing the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia. The symposium included direct interface with top ANG and the Air Force senior enlisted leaders.

One piece of important information is the Air National Guard Command Chief's Aim Points.

"We need to understand what the profession of arms is and how to apply the profession of arms to what we do every single day," said Chief Master Sgt. James W. Hotaling, command chief master sergeant of the Air National Guard. "We need to be very mindful of being a resilient Airman, which includes physical, mental, social and spiritual. We have to understand that our Airmen are human beings first, and we need to recognize and embrace our accomplishments."

Understanding how to communicate with Airmen is one way to be a successful leader, noted Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Basik, Air Force representative to the Secretary of Defense for Military Professionalism.

"It's the Airmen who accomplish the mission," Basik said. "There's a psychology associated with inspiring, engaging and elevating Airmen. This is an opportunity for us to focus on what connects with people, what moves people to action, and what helps leaders accomplish the mission through their people."

A key highlight for all attendees was being able to hear directly from the most senior enlisted official within the Air Force as he spoke about topics that can affect Airmen, to include the total force concept and professional development.

"There is only one United States Air Force and it's important that everybody understands that," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. "When I say Air Force ... that's every component--active, Guard, Reserve and civilian."
Hotaling said it is important for all four components to work together.

"The one Air Force concept is pretty simple," he observed. "To be a United States Air Force, it takes four strong components, whether it's the active component, the Air Force Reserve, or the Air National Guard, or our civilian Airmen. Any one component can't be an Air Force without the other three."

Even though there are three uniformed Air Force components, the standards for professional development training and other opportunities are the same, Cody added.

"We have to understand that the end-state is that everybody gets the same professional development education," said Cody. "Everybody has to have the same opportunity to develop. Whatever that developmental opportunity is, every Airman in the Air Force, regardless of the component, has to have access to this ability to develop."

A list of discussion topics included financial responsibility, the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence's Human Capital course and Enlisted Performance Reviews. Access to the ANG's senior leaders also made the ELS a valuable experience.

"Be the best Airman that you can be today," Hotaling said. "If you're a staff sergeant, I want you to be the very best staff sergeant in the Air National Guard. If you concentrate on the here and now, your future will be very bright."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dempsey, Basketball Luminaries Give Nellis Airmen Master Class in Leadership

By Jim Garamone
DoD News Features, Defense Media Activity

About a thousand airmen at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, received a master class in leadership from three proven leaders Thursday.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski; and USA Basketball Chair and Managing Director Jerry Colangelo shared their experiences and philosophies as part of the Hoops for Troops partnership between USA Basketball and DoD.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas served as the facilitator of the discussion.

Dempsey is the highest-ranking service member in DoD and has commanded at every level of the military. Coach Krzyzewski’s Duke teams have won five NCAA Championships, and he coached USA Basketball to two Olympic gold medals. Colangelo, a sports mogul, revived USA Basketball after some disappointing international competitions, and he fashioned the teams that have gone 75-1 during his tenure.

Expertise, Humility, Courage

Krzyzewski and Colangelo agreed with Dempsey’s listing of the attributes of a good leader – expertise, humility and courage. Expertise is important because people need to be able to do their jobs, Dempsey said.

“I’m not going anywhere near that airplane unless I have confidence that somebody in this hangar knows how to maintain it or, if you’re the pilot, you want to know for sure that your maintenance chief has the expertise necessary to allow you to take that platform into combat,” he said. The military is not a world that accepts mediocrity.

The second attribute is humility, which Dempsey called the foundation of trust. “If we have a relationship based on humility, and it leads to trust, trust becomes relationships, and relationships then allow you to actually understand the leader-to-led aspect of our business,” he said.

The third attribute is courage, the chairman said. While physical courage is important, just as important is moral courage, he said. “Do the right thing when nobody’s looking,” he said.

Leadership: A Team Sport

All three men stressed that leadership is a team sport – meaning everyone needs to cultivate leadership traits.

“In the United States military, we consider ourselves to be the preeminent leader development institution … in the world, really,” Dempsey said. “Every one of those young men and women out there has the potential to become the chief of staff of the Army or the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman or … the chief of staff of the Air Force.”

Dempsey said the military’s motivation is to protect the nation, but military members are inspired by each other. He noted that the youngest Marine killed in the attack on a recruiting post in Chattanooga, Tennessee – Lance Cpl. Squire Wells – was not running out of the building, but running into it to protect his fellow Marines.

“That’s what inspiration looks like in the military,” he said.

Leadership is about getting everyone on a team to contribute, Krzyzewski said. He asks his teams if two is better than one? “And the guys say, ‘Yes, two is better than one,” he said. “Not necessarily. Two is only better than one if two can act as one.”

Everybody Can Be A Leader

That’s leadership in a nutshell for Krzyzewski. What leadership does is get the unit or team to act as one. “I understand that you all are different ranks, but everybody can be a leader,” he said.

Krzyzewski, who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1969, said the best leadership stories are not from the generals, but “from that private, from that sergeant, from that lieutenant. Your leadership is not about your rank. Every one of you can be leaders, and that’s when a unit is really good, when everyone … contributes.”

Colangelo said leadership can sometimes be the willingness to fail while taking a calculated risk. “When I think about the three of us who are sitting up here from different backgrounds but very similar – an Irish background of immigrants, Italian, Polish – it just illustrates that in this country it doesn’t matter where you are, who you are, what your beginnings are; the sky is the limit, if you shoot for that star, if you’re willing to take some risks,” he said.

“To me, leadership in that framework is the willingness to fail, knowing that in order to get to your objective, you may have to fall first,” he continued. “Most of us would say that we learned more from our defeats than we did our victories. That’s certainly been the case in my life.”

Need for Balance

Dempsey spoke about the need for balance between personal ambition and humility. “I want you to be ambitious inside … the left and right limits … of what’s best for your unit and your country,” he said.

Humility does not mean meek and does not preclude competition. But there must be a balance, the general said. “I want you to be both ambitious and competitive,” he said.

In motivating people and units it’s best to be yourself, Dempsey said. “There’s nothing worse than someone who’s incapable of being George Patton trying to be George Patton,” he said. “You’ve seen it – normally you end up with a bunch of four-letter words strung together that end with a hoo-ah or something. And it doesn’t make it right.”

Personal Example

The chairman gave a personal example from when he commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq in 2004. Many units in the division had already redeployed back to Germany when Baghdad exploded. The only solution was to bring those units back and extend those still in country.

“I started going around from unit to unit and explaining … why it was important for us to do this, that we wouldn’t do it, if it wasn’t important,” he said. “At one point I remember this one guy in the front row, kind of fidgeting. I said have I said something that upsets you in some way? And he said, ‘no, sir.’ But he said, ‘Look, I’ll tell you, we trust you. If you tell us it’s important enough to stay, we’re with you.’

“I’ll tell you, I was so moved by that, you know, that we had the kind of trust,” he continued. “And that – by the way, that’s about as much motivation as anyone could possibly build.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Women Warrior Luncheon: Empowering women one chevron at a time

by Senior Airman Aubrey White
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

8/13/2015 - JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.  -- A small group of female Airmen came together for an afternoon of empowerment and planning during the inaugural Women Warrior Luncheon here, Aug. 12.

The luncheon, hosted by 633rd Air Base Wing Chapel staff, facilitated communication between junior Airmen and seasoned leaders with the intent to support each other as military women.

"Even though we're all Airmen, women are still in the minority and it is sometimes difficult to find each other and find out that you have commonalities," said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Christine Blice-Baum, 633rd ABW deputy wing chaplain. "There's something about women linked together that offers encouragement and empowerment."

According to Blice-Baum, targeting junior-enlisted Airmen helps build the Wingman Concept and reinforces resiliency through relations for new Airmen.

With issues like suicide and sexual assault affecting many military women, Blice-Baum said Women Warrior networking with the appropriate agencies will create safeties for women to help mitigate or lessen those types of occurrences.

As for the expectations for the future of the group, Blice-Baum said she hopes the group takes on a character determined by its participants, and to also connect with U.S. Army Soldiers at Fort Eustis.

"It's not my vision, it's going to be the vision of the group with the encouragement of the senior folks and us being able to lead, guide and provide structure," she explained. "My hope is [the group] creates connections as we continue with our joint partners to strengthen each other, offer support and foster friendships."

Montgomery Police Department, Office Training School partner for leadership development

by Tech. Sgt. Sarah Loicano
Tech. Sgt. Sarah Loicano

8/13/2015 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Members of the Montgomery Police Department, in a new partnership with Officer Training School faculty, participated in a two-day leadership consortium here Aug. 6-7, 2015.

Montgomery police officers attended a tailored version of leadership training coursework that OTS cadets receive. Day one included leadership self-assessments and courses in conflict management, effective supervision and full-range leadership. Day two involved tackling the Leadership Reaction Course, or Project X, a field exercise consisting of a series of obstacle course challenges.

When deciding which courses to include in the leadership consortium, Capt. Kris Walker, OTS chief of training, said that the initial goal was to look at solving problems in communication and personalities between members in an organization.

"The main premise was to look at work center focus, to look at those issues that regardless of the institution, the organization or its actual goal or mission, any team or work center is going to have," explained Walker.  "[There are] similar, universal managerial obstacles that front- line supervisors have to be able to overcome to get mission success."

The second portion of the consortium consisted of field training at the popular Leadership Reaction Course, where participants navigate various obstacles with specific goals, rules and time limits, while different team leaders must get his or her team successfully through the obstacle within those limitations. The LRC emphasizes and solidifies the theoretical classroom lessons on leadership, personality, and conflict management, under the real- world restrictions of time and limited resources.

"What it does is it separates us from all the things we know and puts us in an environment where someone is going to have to stand there with a team and understand that the performance of their team is all on their shoulders," said Col. Scott Lockwood, OTS commandant.

He explained that even extremely successful people can find that leadership role to be an uncomfortable experience.

"When you're standing up front and everything relies on you, and you're accountable for the performance of that team ... sometimes it's a lonely feeling," he said. "We're trying to invoke those feelings in an individual going through this to see how they use their team members and all the talents that are out here. In the end, hopefully what we can find out is that not only have you trained yourself to be a better leader, but that when you walk away you know what your weaknesses are. That's as important as anything, that humbling experience."

The field training exercise is essential to underscore the classroom lessons of the course, as the police officers quickly discovered.

"[The leadership reaction course] teaches you how to work collectively and collaboratively with your guys to achieve a goal. It's a building exercise to learn the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the group so you know where to pool your resources," said Capt. Shannon Youngblood, a 20- year veteran of the MPD. "You don't realize how you can apply lessons until you get out here and work together with the group and bring in the classroom portion. It's a great idea. It lets you realize that just because you're the leader doesn't mean you have all the answers. You can take the input from the other guys and collectively form the best way."

Despite the heat and physical challenges that going through the reaction course presented, Youngblood spoke about the benefits and camaraderie of the day.

"The best part is everyone having fun and working together. There are so many personality conflicts that can happen when you have so many people together, but everyone has worked together really well and gotten along really well, and it's just been a lot of fun," he said.

The training initiative was developed to create a community partnership between the police department and OTS, allowing both organizations to compare and contrast leadership training efforts as well as learn new ways of conducting leadership training, both in an academic and field environment. Although the police department has several avenues for police development, including Command and Staff College for sergeants transitioning to lieutenants, Capt. Wayne Gaskin, the assistant division commander for the MPD training and recruiting division, jumped at the chance to work with Officer Training School faculty.

"In developing leaders, we believe that there are always ulterior ways to develop those skills, and in the consortium with Maxwell and OTS, we wanted to take advantage of the alternative training methods that were utilized in developing our skills as leaders," Gaskin said. "It's a learning experience for our officers, that there are alternative ways to fix problems. Seeing this training gives us the opportunity to take advantage of alternative ways, showing that you need to work together as a team to fix those problems."

In exchange for classroom and hands on leadership training, the police department hopes to provide OTS faculty with leadership experiences in the form of ride- along opportunities, grappling techniques and active shooter scenario response.

The Department of Defense routinely sends senior military officers to civilian schools for new perspectives on leadership, organization management and behavior, and Lockwood explains that this partnership was created with that same goal in mind.

"It's very easy for us to feel like we know a whole lot about what we're doing and that we're doing it the right way and that we have the answers, [but] it simply takes a little exposure to outside perspectives and the diversity of perspectives to be able to find out that there are a lot of things we can learn from our community partners," said Lockwood.

"It's really a natural fit with MPD to be able to come out here and do these exercises with us. I think we're going to be able to glean as much from MPD as they are from us. We're benefiting from them; hopefully we are able to educate and train them on the way we do things and how we think about leadership. We look at OTS to produce leaders of morale character. We think that's the most important aspect of leadership right now that the American people deserve."