I have been a great many things that contribute to the leader I am now. I was a Boy Scout Senior Patrol Leader. I’ve been a dishwasher. I’ve been a cook. I was a Lead Petty Officer and Reactor Operator on one of the best aircraft carriers this country has ever operated. I was an IT manager. I am a husband. I am a father. I draw on all these experiences as I move forward on my leadership journey. In the context of the ELDP learning objectives, there are some that I have mastered and others that are still a work in progress.
When we talk about “Knowing and Leading Self,” to say you’ve mastered it is to realize it is a continuous work in progress; you will always be learning and adding to who you are. Allow yourself to explore every opportunity without limits to fully understand who you are. With respect to understanding my position in the DoD institution and my contribution to the warfighter: these deployments were not lost on me. Raised in the army, having served as an east coast sailor, I thought I knew something about being a warfighter. The PACOM and South Texas experiences were eye-opening and enlightening. It caused me to refocus and center what I thought I already knew about the warfighter.
When it comes to things I need to work on, it has been some time since I worked in teams, much less built teams or lead an organization. The last 10 years of my career have been in an autonomous and self-leading vocation. I have become self-reliant on so much. I’ve watched in admiration as members of my team discuss “team” stuff; they have a jargon and fluidity working as a team I wish I possessed. I want the ability to discuss and find my place in teams as easily as they appear to; I intend to work on “teamwork.” It is currently unclear if my current position allows for this or if I will be looking for opportunities outside my current place of employment.
We talked a lot about transactional and transformational leadership. I fail to see the benefits in transactional leadership. Given how much I enjoy change and improvement (See Why I Lead example above), I would much rather be known for transformational leadership.
I want to be the kind of leader that is known for effective positive change and embracing improvement. I want to be the kind of leader that is known for building and maintaining strong relationships.