CHIÈVRES, Belgium – “Invest in You and Live up to your Greatness!” This is the motto from the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) Training Center to start the Game Changer Training: The 5 Levels of Leadership.
Twenty members from U.S. Army Garrison Benelux participated in this two-session workshop March 11 and 25 designed for supervisors but offered to anyone interested in knowing more about leadership.
“All employees possess leadership qualities and potential; it's simply a matter of bringing that to fruition,” said Darrick Hinson, IMCOM instructor. “All of us can benefit from knowing just a bit more than we did before and tapping into our capabilities.”
The USAG Benelux Directorate of Human Resources team contacted Larry Doxtater, IMCOM instructor, last year after learning about the in-person course created in 2017 for IMCOM headquarters personnel based on the 2014 Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute survey as a supervisor development course.
“We found that the course was applicable to all human beings,” said Doxtater. “We opened it to all personnel, changed the name to The Game Changer, and then started executing Mobile Training Teams in 2018. Garrisons began requesting the training in 2019 and 2020.”
Unfortunately, the pandemic did not allow the training to happen face to face.
“Mr. Doxtater went above and beyond to create a virtual training opportunity that suited our needs, and his team delivered it so that it would work for our time zone and the dates we had available,” said Chris Bridges, Employment Program manager.
USAG Benelux team members were eager to learn. They met the two instructors, Doxtater and Hinson, on MS Teams to follow what Hinson described as “a student-centered instruction which employs adult learning principles focusing on an interpersonal skills program intended for diverse employees with different attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and skill levels.”
Doxtater explained that the main purposes of this training, based on the 5 levels of leadership by John Maxwell, are “to improve confidence and credibility in influencing others beyond a title, to develop relationships so people give the leader permission to lead them, to produce and build momentum, to develop people and to train others to lead.”
The instructors guided the students through the different concepts, and then initiated conversations and reflections, in small groups and then all together, around real life situations to define their own leader philosophy.
To be able to navigate through those different levels of leadership, Hinson highlighted that “experiential learning is key for learners to participate in peer-to-peer feedback, practice communications skills, conduct literature review, critical thinking, solve problems, conduct self-analysis, and self-reflect, in a collaborative effort to strengthen interpersonal skills, build relationships, create lessons learned, identify personality traits (in self and others), and take responsibility for learning outcomes.”
The training reflected the variety of profiles unique to the USAG Benelux: Host nation employees, Department of Army civilians, non-appropriated fund employees, and experienced as well as up-and-coming leaders.
“I'm kind of far in my career, but it reminded me that it is really important to recruit the right people and discover what they are good at and encourage and lead them so they are able to express themselves and develop the potential they sometimes don't know they have,” said Brigitte Gabreau, manpower officer.
Mike Benson, EIC Program Manager, enjoyed the training “primarily because of the conversations with coworkers in our small breakout groups.”
“Although the concepts were not new for me personally,” he said, “I still benefitted by learning things about my coworkers that I would not otherwise have learned from meetings, e-mails, etcetera.”
For Bridges, employed by the Benelux since August 2019, the training offered a great opportunity.
“I'm not currently a supervisor, but I anticipate that I will be again in the future, so this helps me prepare for it,” she said. “I liked the seamless nature of the breakout groups. The prompts we had for our breakout groups are ones that I can use for myself, but also as I help others prepare for leadership. I also felt that the leadership philosophy exercise was worthwhile – I had not written one in a long time. “
Nearly 700 employees have already attended The Game Changer Training. In addition to this training, IMCOM Training Center also offers other classes as Emotional Intelligence, Attitude & Trust, Generations in the Workplace, True Colors, and Crucial Conversations. DHR is currently working on offering another class in September (Attitude & Trust) to the Benelux personnel.
“The participation from the USAG Benelux participants was excellent, as always!” said Hinson. “We love training with folks from Benelux as they always come ready to learn and have fun while doing so!”