News: III MEF leaders meet, advance effective leadership
Story by Lance Cpl. Diamond Peden
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Officers and senior enlisted Marines and sailors met as participants during the annual III Marine Expeditionary Force Senior Leaders Workshop Jan. 29-31 on Camp Foster.
Throughout the conference, the participants discussed current leadership issues and equal opportunity concepts to improve upon their leadership capabilities.
The topics covered in the workshop included: socialization and values; dynamics of power, sexism and sexual harassment; leading a culturally diverse workforce; and contemporary equal opportunity issues under the theme of ‘Knowledge of Self: The Highest Form of Leadership.’
“Leadership is a privilege, not a right,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brandun L. Schweizer, the equal opportunity advisor for 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “It’s important to know yourself because it’s hard for you to take the way that you were raised, the way you were socialized, and be able to go out and make sound decisions without letting any (distractions) get in the way.”
Knowing yourself and seeking self-improvement is a widely looked upon principle in the Marine Corps, that aids in the process of being an effective leader.
“Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean you know all the answers, but that you will go out and seek those answers, so that you can lead your office to the intended place it needs to be,” said Master Sgt. Joseph L. Rice, the communications chief for Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. “We can only do that by involving everyone and taking advice from others.”
Throughout the seminar, the participants were challenged to see beyond their way of thinking and explore how to effectively communicate with subordinates, according to Chief Warrant Officer John W. Crandall, assistant operations officer for Camp Hansen.
“It’s the body itself that makes everything happen, but it’s the leaders that guide it,” said Crandall. “You (either) succeed or fail by your leadership. By being more (knowledgeable) and sound leaders we bring more to the table, and we can be more equal when we engage others.”
After three days of discussion, the conference left the participants confident in the leadership skills they had built on, according to Rice.
“Having conferences like this benefits the Marine Corps as a whole,” said Rice. “It’s easy to say something, but in order to do something you have to know where you stand. If you don’t know where you stand, how can you look and see someone else and try to bring out the best in them? It’s paramount that you know yourself before you try to lead someone else.”