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Posted 1/29/2019

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By Rashida Banks, Corporate Communications Office
USACE, Savannah District

Before becoming effective leaders, people must know themselves, their strengths, weaknesses and value to the organization. This idea highlighted the first session of the newest round of the Leadership Development Program in the Savannah District.

“Unless individuals understand why they do what they do, they can’t respond to others effectively,” said Dr. Michael Evans, a facilitator with Evans and Associates Consulting Firm.

For Evans, great leadership begins with self-awareness and he uses this same theory to develop leaders throughout the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers via the USACE Leadership Development Program (LDP).

On Jan. 18, members from the Corps’ Savannah District participated in one of Evans sessions as a kickoff to the LDP Level 1 program.

The district’s LDP Level 1 is aimed at encouraging and enhancing aspiring employees who are willing to take on leadership roles within the district. Level 1 is a key element of the Savannah District's employee development program and directly supports action 4.d.4 of the South Atlantic Division (SAD) Implementation Plan titled, "prepare and recruit agile leaders for a dynamic technical future."

“We started off the day with everyone talking about their disciplines, what they do and why their disciplines add value to the organization, and how they connect to other divisions,” said Evans.

Participants also completed an emotional awareness test, which helped to measure their capacity to be aware of, control, and express their emotions and how they handle interpersonal relationships. Evans said the test results will help the participants determine their strengths and weaknesses and set developmental goals to cultivate throughout the course of the program.

Kathryn Dixon, acting chief of Mechanical Section, Engineering Division, said that the session helped remind her that she should keep an open mind when communicating and working with others. Dixon said that she typically assumed that others looked at things the same way she does, and that she now realizes many see things differently.

We all come from different backgrounds, so our thoughts, values, and ideas will not always be the same, said Dixon. Within a professional setting, Dixon said listening and really trying to understand and be open to different perspectives are crucial for effective communication.

Evans will facilitate five other sessions throughout the course of the program which ends in August. Each session will consist of training on a leadership topic, including self-assessments, book reviews, videos and other materials and resources. As part of the program this year, the participants will also plan the “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day” in collaboration with the Equal Employment Office.

2019 LDP Level 1 Participants include Samuel Robinson, Amy Capwell, Joshua Weibel, Phillip Sapp, James Rivard, Heather Pacheco, Sara Murphy, Gerard Leo, Matthew Green, Matthew Fober, Tarsha Bryant and Kathryn Dixon.