Army emphasizes leadership skills in civilian workforce
December 10, 2009
The Army has a system to develop the leadership skills for officers and noncommissioned officers and has recently begun a system for its civilian workforce, as well.
The Enterprise Human Capital Lifecycle Management System is being implemented to manage the careers of those in the Army Civilian Corps along all segments of their career's lifecycle - recruitment, training, education, development, promotion and retention.
"The Army is facing a human capital crisis because of the high average age of the workforce and number of employees who are eligible or will be eligible in the next five years for optional retirement," said Teri Mayo, Workforce Development Branch chief, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command. "Building the bench of employees who have developed not only their technical/functional skills, but also that critical leadership skill set, is an important initiative for USASMDC/ARSTRAT to preserve corporate knowledge.
"Supervisors set the climate for their employees' development as well as provide the necessary resources," Mayo said. "A supervisor should be mentoring his or her employees as a sponsor, guide, role model and motivator."
The Army's Civilian Education System is one resource supervisors can use to help develop and prepare their employees. It is also a resource that USASMDC/ARSTRAT deputy G2 Steven Eldridge has encouraged his employees to use.
"Effective leadership doesn't just happen," Eldridge said. "You have to grow it, and a good education program is the foundation of that effort."
Recently, two G2 employees - Rose Mary Moore and Kathy Simmons - returned from the Basic Course and the Advanced Course, respectively.
"The course improved my awareness of the importance of teamwork to reach a common goal," said Simmons, whose class was four weeks long. "The course required students to work as a team to solve real-world problems the Army faces today. You can see that the course has real-life application and the command benefits from this training venue. I find myself making decisions in relation to the imperatives."
Moore agreed on the benefits of the Civilian Education System.
"This class helped me further identify my learning and leadership styles and then how to utilize those styles in a positive manner in the work environment to support our mission and enhance my own career," she said.
Simmons said her direct leadership greatly supports professional development.
"Mr. Eldridge has stated on more than one occasion that the investment is worth the sacrifice," Simmons said. "He understands that growing people is one of the most important things we can do for the Army's mission."
Eldridge takes seriously his responsibility for his staff's careers.
"It is my responsibility to set the conditions so that my employees have the opportunity to reach their goals," Eldridge said. "There's a direct link between investing in the professional development of our workforce and providing better support to the Warfighter. Also, I believe people inherently want to succeed - professional development is a key to that success."
Eldridge said he uses Individual Development Plans to guide and set a course of action to facilitate his employees' success.
"The IDP is as important as you choose it to be," he said. "To me it is a tool to communicate and record a desired general course of action, but experience dictates the need for flexibility."
Mayo also stressed the importance of IDPs.
"IDPs are necessary at all levels of the workforce," Mayo said. "IDPs create a plan that outlines the employee's individual and organizational growth.
"The complexity and level of knowledge and skills required to develop, manage and man future Warfighter and operational systems is daunting," Mayo said. "The current and future operational environment will remain fast-paced and highly competitive. If we are to succeed in this environment, we must focus on not only recruiting the best and brightest, but just as important is developing our current workforce to ensure they possess the technical and leadership skills required to succeed."
The Workforce Development Branch, which manages civilian workforce development and training issues, has been moved from the deputy chief of staff, G1, to the deputy chief of staff, G3 Training, Readiness and Exercises Division. For more information, speak with a supervisor or contact Anna.Edmonds@us.army.mil or Teri.L.Mayo@us.army.mil.