• Top ROTC cadets learn about leadership

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    More than 200 of the top Army ROTC cadets representing colleges and universities across the nation gathered for the 2018 George C. Marshall Leadership Seminar Feb. 11-14 at the Lewis and Clark Center.
    Marshall was considered one of the greatest American statesmen of the 20th century. Throughout his career, Marshall assisted with international affairs from 1939 to 1951, served as Army chief of staff from 1939 to 1945 and was named general of the Army on Dec. 16, 1944. After retiring from the Army in 1945, Marshall focused his efforts on the cause of international peace and security, which eventually earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for his attempts to seek peace for the world through cooperation and understanding among nations.
    “Welcome to the Army University. Welcome to the intellectual center universe for the United States Army,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Hughes, commanding general of Cadet Command, in his opening remarks. “Welcome to one of your first steps toward professional development as officers in the United States Army.”
    Cadets chosen to participate were “nominated from their respective programs based on scholarship, leadership, physical fitness and community involvement and are designated George C. Marshall Award recipients for their respective year,” according to the Cadet Command website.
    Cadet Raven New, representing Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Ala., said she was honored to be chosen for the seminar.
    “It is a great honor (to be chosen). I know that this sticks with me throughout my military career so this is something I can write on my resumé,” New said. “I’ll definitely be able to make connections and network while I’m here, too.”
    Cadet Nathaniel Lenderman, representing Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., said he was looking forward to hearing all of the speakers.
    “Over time, I feel like you learn more about the Army and leadership styles so learning from all the people that are going to be speaking here during this seminar will definitely expand my knowledge and leadership style. I can take bits and pieces of what they have and incorporate it into my own,” Lenderman said. “I hope to do 20 years. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it as much as I think I will, but if I do, I certainly hope that I make a career out of it. I don’t really have a rank that I’m going for but more just being a good leader and officer in general.”
    Throughout the event, cadets took part in seminars, question-and-answer panels, and small group discussions with Army leaders, focusing on the idea of emotional intelligence in respect to being a successful leader.
    “There is one truism and that truism is the business of the Army is people. You can fly a helicopter, you can shoot a cannon, you can be a sniper. You can do whatever you want when it comes to the equipment. We can train a monkey to shoot a gun. The technical skills are just that, they’re technical skills that can be taught to anyone,” Hughes said.
    Page 2 of 3 - “The cognitive skills, interpersonal skills and the ability to work with people is something that I’ve learned that we failed in the Army to openly talk about and openly explore and explore those differences in such a way to be better leaders.”
    To help the cadets understand how important emotional intelligence is, Hughes instructed the cadets to place themselves into a group of extroverts or introverts and used different examples, such as dating and school assignments, to demonstrate what the two personality types need. By doing this, Hughes showed the cadets why communication is key.
    He also gave examples of when failing to understand people’s needs and personalities caused misunderstandings in his career, telling the cadets about a colleague he thought was arrogant and unfriendly. However, when they were taking classes to prepare to transition out into the civilian world, Hughes found out that his colleague’s Asian culture is what caused him to be quiet and not make eye contact when he spoke to others because his culture taught that it was a sign of respect.
    “I had not walked one step in his shoes to understand his culture. I had not taken one moment of time to say ‘dude, what’s up? We’ve known each other for 30 years.’ I just automatically assumed the negative and maintained a negative relationship, and you can’t do that in this profession,” Hughes said.
    “You cannot allow misunderstandings in people’s personalities, people’s colloquialisms, people’s mannerisms, (or) people’s faith. All of those things make us this powerful Army, arguably the most powerful entity in the history of mankind. It’s those things that make us different that make us powerful. It’s diversity of thought and culture … We have only talked about one element of personality, (but) there are so much more to it.”
    Emotional intelligence speaker and author Dr. Gregory Ruark, of the U.S. Army Research Institute, provided the cadets further insight into emotional intelligence. He spoke specifically about what drives human behavior, one’s emotional regulator and the six attributes of a leader as determined by the Center of Army Leadership in 2006 in Field Manual 6-22, “Leader Development.”
    “(FM 6-22) provides you with what is required to be a leader within the U.S. Army. It also defines leadership as an act of influence. I like the concept because in reality that is what it means to be a leader, to influence others, particularly to influence others who are not necessarily on board with what you are wanting to do. Every soldier is a leader,” Ruark said.
    “Emotions add value. Emotions help in understanding priorities. Emotions help to tune the way that people think, the lens that people look through.”
    Page 3 of 3 - After Ruark spoke about emotional intelligence, Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, commanding general of First Army, connected the idea of emotional intelligence to his real-life experience during the Battle of Baghdad Task Force 3-15 in 2003. However, he prefaced his experiences with his own thoughts on the six attributes from FM 6-22 and one’s emotional regulator.
    “None of (those six attributes) mean nothing unless you love what you’re doing,” Twitty said. “You got to love this business called soldier (and) you have to love your soldiers. If you can do those two things, you got half the battle.”
    Twitty said the key to finding an emotional regulator is confidence.
    “Your regulator is simple. You have to know your craft. You have to be astute in the Army’s doctrine. If you know your craft left and right, top to bottom, if you are astute in the Army’s doctrine then … you’re going to be a confident leader,” Twitty said. “When you are confident, you’re calm and when you’re calm, your soldiers are calm and they will perform because they know that you know your stuff and that you’re confident and that you’re calm.”
    Twitty said the cadets need to remember three things as they transition into becoming soldiers in the Army — motivate, inspire and lead.
    “It’s all about care. If you go in there and you treat them like a machine, let’s see how long that works,” he said. “What you need are the things I just talked about. The business that we’re in, we’re not about planes. We’re not about ships. We’re about people.”
    Cadet Mallori Thompson, representing Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga., said she thought the study of emotional intelligence should be a more prominent topic.
    “It’s revolutionary as far as leadership goes and also surprising that it’s not more pervasive in our studies and our discussions on leadership,” Thompson said. “Definitely because of the gravity of the type of leadership that we are trying to foster here just as soldiers and a lot of us as combat soldiers, emotional intelligence is vital to the decisions we make that end up being life or death mission success.”
    Hughes said one’s emotional intelligence continues to grow and is key to success.
    “There are no commonalities of attributes and characteristics of leaders that you can put together to create the perfect leader,” he said. “There are attributes, there are characteristics, but if that person doesn’t know themselves, if they don’t understand people, they will not be successful. The only thing in common with successful leaders is they understand themselves and they understand others, and that is what I want you to take with you.”
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