In a leader professional development session held at Abrams Theater Sept. 2, Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major, talked to noncommissioned officers and junior Soldiers about what is important when it comes to being an Army leader.

Ward discussed his idea of servant leadership with the gathered Soldiers and also introduced a concept that relates being a leader to also being a volunteer.

"We volunteer to be leaders. When we undertake that responsibility, we undertake all of the nuances that go with it," Ward said. "You heard me say it, 'servant leadership.' You can't be in this for yourself -- you cannot be in this for yourself."

"There is nothing easy about being a leader," he said. "But you have to have the wherewithal and the character to do the right thing. You cannot waiver."

Ward gave examples of servant leadership, such as going to the barracks to check on Soldiers even when it's not convenient, always doing the right thing to set the example for young Soldiers, volunteering to go the extra step regardless of the situation and building sacred trust with Soldiers.

Master Sgt. Michael Cassidy, MSCoE Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program manager, echoed the importance of building trust with Soldiers. He shared with the group a story about 'servant leadership.'

"If you just sat down to a nice dinner that your spouse prepared and one of your Soldiers calls stating that they need some help, you need to go," Cassidy said. "Excuse yourself from the table, head to the barracks and give the help that your Soldier needs."

Another Army initiative "Not in My Squad, Not in Our Army, We are Trusted Professionals" was part of Ward's discussion.

"What's important here is that it's not just a theme, not just another Army title amongst many titles," Ward said. "Your responsibilities are to execute the requirement, because there are dire consequences when failure happens at your level -- in squads, sections and platoons."

Bringing the thought full circle, Ward reminded leaders who is effected should failure happen.

"The negativity of failure impacts readiness, our quality of life, safety and the welfare of those Soldiers who have been entrusted to us by their parents and the United States Army," Ward affirmed.

Ward addressed the junior enlisted Soldiers who will soon be promoted to sergeant with a specific message.

"You're here because I can't wait until you put on sergeant," Ward said. "You need to get this information now or you're going to be behind the power curve and you may not catch up. Everyone sitting here is a leader, regardless of what title you carry -- you are a leader."

One junior Soldier in attendance took away some key points.

"Mostly, I learned about (noncommissioned officer evaluation reports), I'm still new to that. It's really not a snapshot of certain time periods. It's about the 365 days you are graded," Spc. Callum Hicks, combat engineer, 509th Clearance Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, said.

Hicks, who said he plans to stay in the Army for a very long time, offered a lesson he will take with him when he does pin on NCO stripes.

"I know that I will have to hold myself to military standards and maintain my discipline to show my Soldiers that I am a 'do as I say, say as I do' type of person," Hicks said.

Hicks' sentiment echoed the basic leadership principles Ward conveyed to the entire group about being a leader and setting the example.