Leadership Characteristics For PHS Officers Professor Jerrold M. Michael, RADM (Ret.) George Washington University March, 2006
Officer Leadership Leadership is guiding human and physical resources into dynamic organization units which attain their objective to the satisfaction of those served and with a high degree of morale and sense of attainment on the part of those rendering the service. In many cases this is done under conditions of stress.
THE SIX MISTAKES OF LEADERSHIP <ul><li>The delusion that personal gain is made at the expense of others </li></ul><ul><li>The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected </li></ul><ul><li>Insisting that a thing is impossible because we can’t accomplish it </li></ul><ul><li>Refusing to set aside trivial preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Neglecting development and refinement of the mind and not acquiring the habit of reading, listening and studying </li></ul><ul><li>Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do. </li></ul>
THE SIX MISTAKES OF LEADERSHIP <ul><li>The delusion that personal gain is made at the expense of others </li></ul><ul><li>The tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected </li></ul><ul><li>Insisting that a thing is impossible because we can’t accomplish it </li></ul><ul><li>Refusing to set aside trivial preferences </li></ul><ul><li>Neglecting development and refinement of the mind and not acquiring the habit of reading, listening and studying </li></ul><ul><li>Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do. </li></ul><ul><li>CICERO, Roman Statesman </li></ul>
Leadership Characteristics For PHS Officers <ul><li>LEADERS HAVE THE AUTHORITY OF KNOWLEDGE </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS ARE VISIONARIES </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS PRODUCE CHANGE </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS GIVE THEIR ALL </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS ARE GOOD LISTENERS </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS ARE GOOD COMMUNICATORS </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS ARE LIFELONG STUDENTS </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS TAKE RISKS </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS ARE ETHICAL </li></ul><ul><li>LEADERS ARE OPTIMISTS </li></ul>
Leaders have the Authority of Knowledge Every PHS Officer has professional discipline skills that are recognized and that are valued by colleagues. That professional capacity must be coupled with other skills and experience in successfully leading in order to attain senior leadership positions. Senior officers can not be just effective speakers, although that is useful. Officers at that level must demonstrate involvement in whatever is undertaken. Those officers also must bring something special to the undertaking that enhances the performance of others in the group.
Leaders are Visionaries Leaders have the capacity to visualize ideas that other officers may view as ordinary and must be able to rearrange them so that they are challenging These visualizations should draw simplicity out of complexity and clarity out of obscurity. Simplifying complex issues can become the inspiration for inspired group action. What is needed is an ability to step back from the immediate context and rearrange the available facts into a larger understandable whole with clear goals or end points.
Leaders produce change Leaders are not disoriented by change such as “Transformation.”. They see change not as a threat but an opportunity and a challenge. They are able to master change because they have already experienced and managed difficult change within their own lives ! Leaders emerge from personal change events with a sense of clarity and a need to ask “why do things work they way they do?” The ability to master difficult personal and work related change in an effective manner, marks the officers with potential from those who are productive but not able to lead in an occasionally stressful environment.
Leaders give their all Leaders are willing to commit themselves to their vision, their success and to the group for whom they work and to the overarching Corps that they are part of. Leaders do not hold back or conditionally dedicate themselves to the success of their efforts and let themselves be sidetracked. That complete dedication taps the reservoirs of passion for the undertaking that gives leaders the energy to transform the problems into opportunities for success. Often giving your all is expensive to family and personal well being. Leaders understand this expense and must consider the balance of all of life’s factors in achieving success for the group and for the individual.
Leaders are Good Listeners Leaders have the ability to hear what others are saying about the problems that accompany direction and change in particular. Leaders can accommodate to the difficulty others experience in the pursuit of the stated goal. It is one thing to be able to articulate a vision and another to empower other people to accept and follow that vision. The path of accomplishment in achieving the stated goal will not always be smooth ! All those officers who have been deployed understand that.
Leaders are good communicators Being a good communicator does not mean always being smooth and articulate in speaking and in writing, although that is helpful to positive leadership. It is important, however, that the leader be clear, concise, complete and consistent. Good leaders are able to deliver the messages they want and need to deliver – and deliver them with enthusiasm and sincerity .
Leaders are lifelong students PHS Officers can not stop learning. They are obligated to study the “process” and be willing to learn from mistakes. Importantly, they must avoid repeating the same mistakes throughout their entire lives. The thirst for knowledge includes the wisdom of today as well as the wisdom of the past. The complex problems of the current and future times requires that leaders acquire as many points of view as possible. That implies listening to others, reading, committing time to research, considering formal advanced education and taking the time to think
Leaders Take Risks Leaders create change, which requires risks. They must be willing to take risks because they can visualize how things can be done better. The most important risk is the willingness to expose yourself to the possibility of negative outcome in order to carry out a personal, group or overarching Corps vision. An equally difficult position is the willingness to let others that you have a concern for, take risks for themselves. Risk does not mean betting on long shots. In order to be a risk-taker, one needs some record of success. People will not take risks if they fail repeatedly
Leaders are ethical People will not follow a leader if they don’t trust that person. It is not a matter of morals. It is a matter of mechanics. People may follow a leader because that person can con them into doing so. But in the long run, that person will be revealed as to their true nature.
Leaders are optimists Leaders have hope. They trust their “gut” feelings and other people. That trust and hope are the basis on which officers who are leaders empower others. Leaders must believe in themselves as winners. No one can be expected to trust you to lead unless you believe in yourself and demonstrate that you have the confidence in your shared vision for the future.
Leaders are a Special Breed Officers who are true leaders are not those who strive to be first, but those who are first to strive and who give their all for the success of the team. True leaders are first to see the need, envision the plan and empower the team for action. By the strength of the leader’s commitment, the power of the team is unleashed. A true leader has the confidence to make difficult decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. A true leader does not necessarily set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of actions, the nature of the personal commitment and the integrity of something called character.
A leader’s destiny As an officer with leadership potential, watch your thoughts for they become words. Choose your words for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits for they become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny. In the end leaders are like eagles ..they don’t flock … you find them one at a time.
Reflections on Leaders Leaders need to live each day to the fullest and get the most from each hour, each day, and each age of life. Only then can you look forward with confidence and back without regrets. Don’t dwell on what you regard as what the Corps owes you and concentrate on what you owe the Corps. Finally, when you are faced with a decision, make that decision as wisely as possible and move on because it is a truism that the moment of absolute certainty never arrives.
Some Tests of Personal Growth <ul><li>Do I permit my subordinates to take risks ? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I clear about my faith in what I am doing and will it underwrite greater risk ? </li></ul><ul><li>Am I seeking constantly to increase my knowledge and skills as well as improving my attitudes & motivation ? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a minimum difference between outside and inside image of self </li></ul><ul><li>Am I currently aware of risk ? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have a research point of view </li></ul><ul><li>Do I identify myself with others in the Corps who share my search for personal growth ? </li></ul><ul><li>Do I have a growing sense of purpose? </li></ul>