KING GEORGE, Va. - Government employees immersed in Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division's inaugural Leadership 101 - Introduction to Leadership training course were all smiles as they graduated on May 3.
On their first day of the five-day introductory course, NSWCDD Technical Director John Fiore welcomed the students to the intensive daily sessions that gave them a sense of what it takes to be an effective leader, what leadership styles exist, and when they are most effective.
"I'm very excited that Leadership Academy classes are available for our employees to work on their personal and professional development in leadership competencies," said Kim Thornton, NSWCDD Leadership Academy dean. "I'm looking forward to offering some exciting opportunities in the future in terms of leadership development for our employees."
The Leadership 101 course - held at the University of Mary Washington's campus in King George, Va. - is designed for entry level employees with one to five years of work experience who do not currently serve in a formal leadership or supervisory position, including a group lead position.
"We want to grow our employees as our future leaders in the organization and this program provides the tools for their success," said Thornton, adding that the class is part of the new NSWCDD Leadership Academy launched earlier this fiscal year. "Employees learned the basics of different leadership styles and how to employ leadership tools in their current and future roles at Dahlgren."
The event's keynote speaker, Gill Goddin, NSWCDD chief engineer, spoke to the class at the end of their last day about leadership opportunities he experienced throughout his career before presenting graduation certificates to each one of the 28 graduates.
"The Leadership 101 class is intended for entry level employees in the workforce and Dahlgren," said Thornton. "It is an introductory class that focuses on leading self and developing competencies that will be the foundation of future leadership growth."
The NSWCDD Leadership 101 class relates leadership development within the Kouzes and Posner model of 'The Leadership Challenge'. Instructors and students discuss and build a personal leadership development framework based on the five practices: Model the Way; Inspire a Shared Vision; Challenge the Process; Enable others to Act; and Encourage the Heart.
Additional learning objectives for this course include:
- Discuss the idea of a leader without a title and discover ways on how to lead without a position of authority.
- Gain a greater understanding of how personal behaviors and communication styles affect workplace interactions.
- Identify personal strengths and areas of improvement and build a personalized plan for continued growth.
Throughout the class, students focus on the following leadership competencies: interpersonal skills; flexibility; integrity and honesty; oral communication; resilience; and problem solving.
The NSWCDD Leadership Academy overarching objective is to identify and develop high-potential employees for leadership through specialized instruction and learning opportunities as they prepare for and advance into the next levels of leadership.
The Leadership 101 course is the first of five programs tied to a specific leadership level.
"Programs are comprised of classes and electives that, together, teach the leadership competencies expected for that career level," said Thornton. "Each program follows a widely recognized leadership model and includes self-assessments for leader development."