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. In the ninth part of this blog series Ron Pojunas, Associate Director of the ECBC Engineering Directorate, answers four questions about leadership.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a leader?
Progression in your professional career field and for that matter your personal life is a journey. Our experiences especially the difficult ones bolster our ability to more effectively deal with and resolve the multitude of issues we will face, and in a 30 to 40 year career we are likely have the opportunity to “see it all.” Key to traversing the challenges of the job is taking full advantage of the inherent support system around us. Your co-worker, supervisor, manager, or a mentor is a source of support that is close at hand. You simply won’t meet your or the organization’s potential if you chose to go-it-alone. Take advantage of the knowledge, insight, and inspiration of others. Build healthy relationships based on respect and trust, these associations will be a mutually giving for the years to come.
What traits does a leader need to have in order to be successful?
A successful leader needs to possess the ability to inspire others. Whether in the form of a champion, cheerleader, or by simply rolling up your sleeves and leading the way. Inspiring others breeds success. Recognizing and understanding the needs of the workforce and awareness of their concerns goes a long way in being able to foster a happy and productive workplace. Your care for the workforce, passion for the mission, and invested interest in the success of the organization will inspire employees to bring their talents, attributes, and dedication to the task.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to become an organization leader?
Advice for one who desires to be a member of leadership is to keep The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Striving to aligning actions at the workplace and in your personal life to the Army’s Values - loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage will certainly allow you to achieve this goal. As a leader it’s important to rise to the occasion and accept whatever challenges that come along. Make the best out of change, and see every challenge and change as an opportunity to learn and grow. Good leaders are able to reflect and assess their performance and tackle those personal weaknesses which are blockers to excellence.
What leaders inspire you most?
Leaders who have a deep connection to their employees inspire me the most. That connection allows for a complete understanding of the unique abilities each individual can bring to the task or mission resulting in an organization built for success. A leader who takes interest in his or her employees’ well-being, whether their professional development or quality of life at the workplace will bring the best those individuals have to offer front and center. Core to any success an organization achieves are its people, and leaders who embraces this fact will better serve their customers and employees.