Leading by example!
In December 2011, one of my co-workers came to my desk and asked, Why are you smiling? I told her that I was categorizing some of the information and leadership styles that I learned during the 10 month long, fun, and stressful Darlene Young Leadership Academy (DYLA). I explained to her that I started the training in December 2010 and graduated in August 2011. She said at your grade level, you dont need to take any leadership training. I replied Leaders cannot ever stop learning. I then looked at my computer and noticed that I had received a new message. I clicked on the message and it read, Hello Mr. Duggans, I hope this message finds you well. I would be honored if you would consider being the MC for the 5 Year Anniversary Celebration of the DYLA. After I read the message about five times to ensure that I was not blind, I felt honored that Ms. Young remembered me and happily accepted the challenge as MC for the 5 Year Anniversary Celebration of the DYLA. Then, I informed my Chapter President, Mr. Calvin Stevens, and he expressed how happy he was and gave me a vote of confidence. I asked myself two questions. First, what makes Ms. Young such a dynamic leader? I thought about the first time I met her. I met Ms. Young when I reported for training during my orientation for the DYLA Class of 2011. I watched Ms. Young and the DYLA coordinators make their final checks to ensure that everything was in order. I noticed how everyone responded to her. She never imposed authority, her influence was felt by her example and the confidence she instilled in the DYLA staff. Then a quote made by General Omar Bradley came to mind. It is a quote that I kept on my desk when I commanded the 5th Replacement Company at Fort Polk, LA in December 1991. The test of a leader lies in the reaction and response of his/her followers. He/she should not have to impose authority. Bossiness in itself never made a leader. He/she must make his/her influence felt by example and the instilling of confidence in his/her followers. The greatness of a leader is measured by the achievements of the led. This is the ultimate test of his/her effectiveness. I witnessed these and many other leadership traits while I watched and took notes of this outstanding Public Servant. I began to think about the Center for Leadership and Management, Graduate School, Executive Core Qualifications: Leading Change; Leading People; Results Driven; Business Acumen; and Building Coalitions. It is the understanding and professional growth in these traits that will prepare DYLA graduates for future leadership roles. I then asked myself How can I, from a students perspective, explain to Ms. Young the benefits of her vision The DYLA Program. While I was preparing for my role as the MC these words and thoughts entered my heart. Ms. Young, the past and future graduates of the DYLA cannot in words express our sincere appreciation to you and your Vision. Because of your vision graduates of your Leadership Academy have had the opportunity to develop and improve their leadership knowledge, skills and abilities. Because of your vision graduates of your Leadership Academy have had the opportunity to shadow present leaders, pick their brains and get a clear understanding of the skills needed to lead, manage and be successful. We did not only learn what made them successful but we learned about their failures, shortcomings, and mistakes that they made. But most of all - we learned how to be accountable for our actions and stay focused on the challenges at hand. Because of your vision graduates of your Leadership Academy have created a networking community where we share information, knowledge and support each other. I would like for you to know that some of the information that we received from fellow graduates is not the response that we want to hear, but you can be proud because its the information that we need to know in order to move forward in our careers.