ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Command teams with the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives Command gathered on Jan. 31 to receive leadership guidance from past and current Army senior leaders during the unit’s annual commanders’ conference.
Lt. Gen. Donna W. Martin, Army inspector general; retired Lt. Gen. Leslie Smith, a former Army inspector general; and Sgt. Maj. Larry Orvis, the inspector general sergeant major; Maj. Gen. Heidi Hoyle, director of Operations, G-43/5/7, G-4; and Command Sgt. Maj. Brant Shyrigh, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, shared their perspectives on leadership and engaged with 20th CBRNE leaders during the panel.
During opening remarks each leader commented on the importance of creating, maintaining, and ensuring trust is a part of all aspects of successfully leading Soldiers.
“We need leaders to be smart—not just intellectually—but specifically, savvy, mature, resilient and trustworthy,” said Martin.
Martin’s predecessor, Smith, echoed this, stating, “It’s all about trust. If you can build this trust, you will be successful in any organization.”
Smith also spoke on the need to establish genuine relationships when creating trust. “Relationships matter…every interaction matters to your Soldier. Your presence only matters when you are truly present.”
They also touched on the significance of transparency, diversity, equity and inclusion in a unit, and on giving Soldiers purpose.
“As leaders, we must provide Soldiers with knowledge. Unpredictability is part of being a Soldier, but unpredictability with knowledge is better than no information at all,” stated Orvis.
Another vital aspect of creating successful units and organizations includes embracing diversity, affording opportunities to all and including everyone in the discussion.
Martin shared her own story about the value of providing everyone the opportunity to succeed.
“As a young captain, I learned firsthand what equity means when I was interviewing for company command. As I sat waiting to be interviewed, I watched as another male captain was embraced by the commander and given the opportunity to take command before I even had the chance to interview. Equity is about providing everyone the same opportunity to succeed, and on that day I wasn’t given that opportunity.”
Speaking on diversity, Smith stated, “Units that are diverse make better decisions for their unit and for the Army.”
Each panel member closed by emphasizing leaders’ roles in ensuring their Soldiers serve with a purpose.
“Give your Soldiers the opportunity to do the job they were trained to do and let them know they belong to something bigger than themselves. They belong to the greatest Army in the world,” Martin closed.
This panel was one of several events held during the 20th CBRNE Annual Commanders’ Conference, which ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 at Headquarters, U.S. Army 20th CBRNE Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.