Friday, October 14, 2011

Leadership Month Blog Series (Part 5)

In recognition of Edgewood Chemical Biological Center's October Leadership Month, a special blog series featuring ECBC employee  responses on what it takes to be an effective leader will be featured on the blog throughout the month of October. The fifth part in this blog series features Michelle Goddard, a mechanical engineer and current Executive Officer at the Pentagon.

Michelle Goddard
Have you ever noticed that some teams are more fun to work with than others? All of the best teams in an organization have something in common: high morale! A good leader knows how to turn negative energy to positive energy. There are a few factors that link successful leaders to high morale:

a)   Leaders show their hearts. A sincere expression of belief in the importance of the mission generates a positive emotion that people feel.

b)   Leaders know that people are the most important part of any project. They pay attention to how things are going for those around them both professionally and personally. They know there is no limit on praise, and critical comments or corrective feedback should come in a tactful way. They genuinely care about people!

c) Leaders are visionary and critical thinkers. A good leader successfully manages current project execution, and also maintains a macro-level view of where the mission space needs to go. Strong leaders understand competing requirements, and know how to partner and when to defend turf.

d) Leaders have a clear sense of right and wrong, and the ability to articulate why they believe in a certain course of action. Employees perform better when they work towards a cause they believe in. Mundane details take on a new importance when put into a big picture perspective.

Two leaders that I admire are MG Nick Justice, Commanding General of U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), and COL (P) Peggy Combs, Deputy Commander for U.S. Army Cadet Command. Both leaders exemplify resilience, persistence, and other qualities that we can all seek to emulate:

MG Justice is a Proactive Doer. He leaves the office and goes to talk face-to-face with stakeholders. He is not afraid to change his strategy for attacking a problem because he understands that “the way we have always done it” is not necessarily an effective method. He is not complacent and looks at overall trends in his operational environment. Without an understanding of trends, he would not know where to lead the Command.

COL (P) Peggy Combs is Operationally Focused. As a former Division Chief in Headquarters Department of the Army G-8, COL Combs received many budget drills and taskers. She excelled at providing strong justifications for courses of action that demonstrated impact to the soldier. It is difficult to refute a request when the clear, operational impact is linked to requirements and tangible effect on the soldiers.

Michelle L. Goddard has been a DA Civilian for six years at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.  She is currently completing a developmental assignment in the Pentagon HQDA G-8.  Ms. Goddard has a bachelors degree in Engineering from  Loyola University in Maryland and a Masters degree in Engineering Management from Drexel University in Pennsylvania.  

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