• 40th MP Battalion begins ethics campaign

  • As part of an ethics campaign led by Lt. Col. Kevin Payne, 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention) commander, senior leaders from the 40th, the 705th MP Battalion (Detention) and the 15th MP Brigade gathered for a day-long ethics symposium March 28 at the Mission Training Complex - Leavenworth.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    As part of an ethics campaign led by Lt. Col. Kevin Payne, 40th Military Police Battalion (Detention) commander, senior leaders from the 40th, the 705th MP Battalion (Detention) and the 15th MP Brigade gathered for a day-long ethics symposium March 28 at the Mission Training Complex - Leavenworth.
    “This effort is necessary,” Payne said. “Ethics is nested in everything that we do. It is our job to establish climates to motivate soldiers and uphold the Army ethic in the exercise of mission command in order to ensure we’re trusted professionals.”
    Payne said the campaign will target three lines of effort — spiritual, foundational and organizational.
    In the spiritual line of effort, the chaplains’ engagements in the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and in the unit areas focus on ethical leadership, character and civility. The hope is that additional resources are provided to aid in the process of ethical decision making while increasing esprit de corps within the battalion, Payne said.
    In the foundational line of effort, the purpose is to establish a targeted engagement strategy designed to reinforce foundational knowledge on ethical leadership and decision making in hopes that it will reinforce ethics training and education efforts, facilitating leaders’ ownership of ethical decision making for themselves and their subordinates.
    In the organizational line of effort, leaders will conduct sessions with ethics instructors to develop an organizational vision statement in the hope that leader knowledge is reinforced and that ownership is developed at every echelon, Payne said.
    To address the first two lines of efforts, the senior leaders were addressed by local ethics professionals. The organizational line of effort will be addressed throughout the rest of the campaign.
    Chaplain (Maj.) Jonathan Bailey, Command and General Staff College ethics instructor, addressed the spiritual line of effort by focusing on ethical leadership and the three points of the ethical triangle — consequences, principles and virtues.
    “A lot of times people will have an area on the triangle where they focus, that provides them with their particular ways and that really does drive their behavior,” Bailey said. “But it is not good to stay there all the time. These are all on the spectrum, all on the triangle. It is not like you have one and you don’t have the others. You’re always operating with these three interacting with one another.”
    Then, he expanded the triangle into Dr. Walter Earl Fluker’s Ethical Leadership Model, which focuses on character, civility and community and their corresponding virtues.
    “These ethical perspectives all go in across this model,” Bailey said. “It gets woven into, ‘Who am I? Who am I alone? Who am I in public? And also, who are you? Who are you alone and who are you in public?’ They shouldn’t be different people.”
    Page 2 of 2 - These models led to various discussions among the senior leaders about examples of authentic leaders, challenges to authenticity in their own leadership, balancing power and humility, and how to incorporate personal moral traditions into their leadership.
    “Everybody comes from a different background, everybody comes from different moral upbringings, and I think the goal of this is to get everybody on that same page in order to move forward as an organization,” said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Wildman, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 40th. “(Bailey) did a good job of bringing the perspective into the dilemma with ethics inside the facility.”
    Retired Col. Todd Ebel, principal instructor for the Brigade Command Development Program at the School for Command Preparation, addressed the foundational line of effort with his presentation “Leadership, Ethical Reasoning and Mission Command.” He said the bottom line to all of it is building trust between leader and subordinate.
    Ebel said he had three criteria for building trust — integrity, competence, and reliability.
    “One of the easiest ways as leaders that we violate or lose trust is to not think about how we make decisions,” Ebel said. “How you make a decision is as important as the decision you make. Do what’s right.”
    To demonstrate, Ebel led various decision-making exercises and spoke about various models of leadership and ethics.
    In the end, Ebel presented a leadership challenge to attendees.
    “Create a healthy work culture such that all individuals on the team can be trusted to decide to act ethically (and) honorably in their own best interest, and the best interest of their organization, the U.S. Army and our great nation,” he said. “I believe you can do this.”
    Maj. Stephanie Pfeiffer, HHC, 40th, said both speakers proved that the topic of ethics is not a simple one.
    “These are difficult topics that we’re bringing up,” Pfeiffer said. “We have to have discussions about the different perspectives. We have to have the discussion about how we make our decisions. It is not just a matter of right versus wrong.
    “Our soldiers will one day serve a different organization and hopefully take what they learned here and throughout this journey, and bring that with them to wherever they go,” she said. “What we’re doing right here, yes, is improving our own organization, but it is also trying to improve the entire Army.”
    The 40th ethics campaign will continue through March 2020.
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