Leadership Inspiration from the ASMC Aloha Chapter 2019 Regional PDI.

Author:Mitchell, Emma L.

The 2019 ASMC Aloha Chapter Regional Professional Development Institute (R-PDI) was a two-day event filled with inspiring presentations provided by influential speakers and networking opportunities for the DoD comptroller community. I had the pleasure of attending sessions geared toward financial management operations and initiatives and also a couple of breakout sessions on the subject of leadership.

The combination of topics fit well with the theme "Reflecting on Your Service for Our Nation!" As a junior leader, empowered to take charge of my career path and leadership style, I found the sessions on leadership to be very impactful. Having the opportunity in the present to understand how effective leadership will drive my future, the Aloha Chapter R-PDI better enabled me to identify the important steps in between.

There were four speakers on whose concepts of effective leadership I would like to capitalize. They rolled up many common lessons and tied them together. The experiences and lessons learned by Mr. Craig Whelden, Ms. Susan Ballard, Mr. Dave Weinberg, and the Honorable Chip Fulghum can serve as a solid foundation on which all leaders can build.

During the R-PDI, Mr. Patrick Lynch, CEO and Managing Partner, Lynch Consultants, LLC, stated, "We can't get enough perspectives on leadership." Although an overwhelming thought, it's easier to conceptualize the abundance of field-tested advice by revisiting the most commonly discussed leadership traits. As I develop my own leadership style, there are key fundamentals I seek to implement: earning trust, goal setting, providing honest assessments, and challenging tradition.

Earning Trust

There are instances in which leadership positions are assigned rather than earned. Although in charge of people, this doesn't necessarily indicate a leader knows how to lead. Mr. Weinberg expressed this concept with the following quote by Benjamin Franklin:

For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost, For the want of a rider the battle was lost, For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail. (1) Ben J. Franklun As individuals in our organizations, we are the driving force behind the fight. Our organizations cannot effectively accomplish the mission without the skills, knowledge, and initiative of individuals supporting the main effort; thus, we are the horseshoe nail that is driving the outcome of the war. Using a six-part explanation on what it means to take care of people, Mr. Weinberg presented a roadmap to earning trust.

  1. Treat them like people, because they are. This means to give people the dignity and respect they deserve, not because they've worked hard to earn it, but simply because they are people.

  2. Surprise people. Surprise them by showing them what they can accomplish and by setting the bar high. People believe in themselves more when they know someone else believes in them, too.

  3. Enthuse people--get excited about what's going on. They're watching you and drawing energy from you. When you lose confidence or become a "negative Nancy," people will notice. Bring as much energy as you can muster. You must take control of your attitude as a leader and change it if it isn't the right one. It doesn't matter what you think, it matters what others think. You must purposefully build a...

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