You can't be motivated by self-interests and expect to be a leader. The instant you feel exempt from the standards of the organization you cease to be a leader. A leader galvanizes people by living their shared vision.
- Cheryl Breetwor-Evans, Co-Founder of ShareData

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - Senior leaders of the National Ground Intelligence Center recently gathered for a two-day workshop focused on leadership and team-building.

"Leadership is a journey of learning and development," said Col. Ketti C. Davison, NGIC Commander. "Leaders are the ones that inspire others to do their best work. We must remain true to the principles that are the source of our strength."

Maj. Christopher Dean, guest speaker and soldier recently assigned to the Center, attributed his success to intuitive leaders.

"As Soldiers in a war environment our living conditions were austere at best," Dean said. "We didn't survive because of equipment or training - we survived because our leaders were invested in us - they cared."

Building personal relationships facilitates a more cohesive team where the focus is not in a person's shortfalls but rather their strengths, he said.

"Our leaders cultivated a safe environment where team members could learn from mission shortfalls instead of placing blame," Dean said. "They set conditions where we could take the initiative and not fear failure. As a result we had a strong bond that led us from the battlefield to the parade field as better individuals."

Relationships supersede communication because people need someone that they can trust, said NGIC Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Simmons.

"Effective leaders build a resilient team by first being someone their employees can trust and by exhibiting those characteristics of servant leadership," Simmons said. "You essentially live in the service of the people who have been entrusted to your care."

Servant leadership is a type of leadership with the focus of serving others said Lt. Gen. Kevin Magnum, keynote speaker during the event.

"Leadership is the process of influencing people by inspiring others through purpose, motivation and direction to improve the organization," Magnum said. "Toxic leadership does not care about the organization but rather their own self-interests."

Humble leaders not only give counsel, but take constructive criticism from their employees, Magnum said.

"Above all, do the right thing," Magnum said. "People value being appreciated for their contributions. Recognition does not have to be elaborate - just genuine."

Keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Barry Bridger (USAF Ret.), aligned leadership to his 6 years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War.

There are leaders who separate their team members by isolating them from each other and not allowing them to communicate and collaborate but there is error in judgment in doing so.

"Separating people destroys their strengths and stifles creativity and excellence," Bridger said. "Leadership is about integrity, for some it's the one thing that people keep in the bottom drawer of their life."

Integrity is your moral compass, Bridger said.

"If you do not have integrity, where is your moral compass?"