FORT KNOX, Ky. (Jan. 31, 2014) -- We talk a lot about leadership. That's because a lack of leadership results in failure, and in this command, failure is not an option. We have a no fail mission!

What is leadership? Webster defines it as the ability to lead, but it is so much more than that. Leadership is a process in which the leader evaluates him or herself, as well as his or her personnel to determine the particular skills necessary to accomplish a specific task. Leadership is the ability to influence others to obtain a specific goal. However, to influence others, a leader must understand his or her own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of his or her personnel.

It is imperative that leaders involve their personnel in the decision making process whenever possible. This will ensure all personnel understand he or she has a stake in the outcome.

Leadership is essential as we face inordinate challenges and an ever-changing environment. These conditions create an environment that challenges our leaders to think beyond the traditional military.

We have the critical mission of providing the strength of the Army, by enlisting the best, brightest and most capable young men and women to serve our country. The challenges of our recruiting mission continue to increase; leadership is critical to success. A lack of leadership or toxic leadership further exacerbates the problem, and gets in the way of communicating effectively with Soldiers, prospects, parents, centers of influence and communities. An organization void of leadership is also void of trust and confidence. If the workforce perceives a lack of leadership, they will lose trust and confidence in the ability to accomplish the mission.

Today's mission is complex and demands good leadership to accomplish our mission of recruiting and maintaining an all-volunteer force. Our leaders must remain adaptive, innovative, and resilient.

Leadership is a multi-faceted topic, and each facet deserves a column of its own. For now, let me capture the broad scope of leadership in a few bullets:

--- Success requires leadership engagement at every level.

--- Our greatest asset is our employees - we owe them good leadership.

--- People expect good leadership; they want leaders who embody the Army Values and respect their unique talents and daily contributions.

--- Organizations with a great ethical reputation attract the best employees, civilians and DA select recruiters. They also attract and retain loyal customers - in our case - Future Soldiers.

--- Successful leaders embrace our Army Values.

--- When it comes to ethics, leaders must set the example. Leaders never sacrifice their long-term benefit for some immediate short-term gain by compromising their ethics.

--- Emphasize the importance of participation. I challenge leaders across the command to be innovative and to unleash the intellectual capacity of our organization. Ensure each and every person is involved and takes ownership of their portion of the mission. It's essential that we continue to communicate to everyone in the command; we are all responsible for the success or failure of our mission.

The commander and I will continue to encourage our leaders to maintain an environment that promotes excellence, creativity, and accountability.