Work, family, fun the keys to staying healthy at Meade
July 28, 2011
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - I am both proud and honored to serve as Fort Meade's installation commander. And while you most likely have heard these words before, please know I am truly sincere when I say, "It is a privilege to command."
Officially, I now have "boots on the ground;" however, you should know I'm still feeling my way around Fort Meade. Though this is not my first time on Fort Meade (my wife, Audrey, and I have been assigned here on two previous occasions), it is my first time in this capacity.
That said, I thought my first column should be a simple one -- one I hope will give you some insight about my values and principles, both personal and professional.
Personally, Audrey and our children, Emily and Sam, are excited to join this community. Values that we hold dear are family, helping others and balance. The first two are easy to understand, therefore, I would like to comment on the last -- balance.
It is important to understand and execute balance in our lives. I define that as a commitment to work, family and fun! You need all three to stay healthy. We look forward to taking part in the community events here on Fort Meade -- they already have a reputation of being great.
Professionally, I want to talk a bit about my leadership style walking into the job. Depending on whom you talk to or who you have known in the past, there are many guidelines or rules that have been cited as "the principles of an effective leader."
If I have a golden rule for leadership it is: "Don't give an order you would not want to receive." To apply this rule effectively, we need knowledge and imagination. We need to know what effect our actions have on the lives of others and how they would receive those actions. With knowledge, innovation and this golden rule, I believe we can continue to enhance the vision for Fort Meade.
To me, another important factor in being a good commander means being a good listener. Conversation is a two-way activity and communication begins with good listening skills. I believe listening to others can help solve problems. Listening helps us understand people and their needs. How many times have you heard someone say, "I like him, he's a good listener"?
I have been amazed by the different points of view and perspectives that I would not have been subject to had I not been a good listener.
We are in the customer service business, and listening to our customers helps us understand what they want.
I have learned that when you really listen, you demonstrate your interest in what is being said and you show your respect for the individual saying it. Listening is a cornerstone of success because it's the foundation for building relationships. And I believe Fort Meade is in the business of building relationships.
Finally, at least for this column, I also believe the military just doesn't enlist service members. We also sign up families.
I cannot begin to tell you how important families are to me. In my mind, family programs are commanders' programs. I also know about the stress a deployment can have on a family, as I just returned from a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. Not to mention the stress of multiple deployments. I understand and recognize the sacrifices families have made during the past 10 years and once again, that is why balance in our lives is so important.
I'm very happy to be your installation commander. Once again, my vision is to create an environment in which we appreciate innovation, promote trust and teamwork, value family and family time, and continue to find ways to advance Fort Meade as the most desirable installation to live, work and serve in the military.
Working together, I know we can succeed.