By: Mariyah Wojcik
FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY (July 9, 2015) – Short-term goals, like completing Cadet Summer Training (CST) or commissioning as a 2nd Lt., are easy for cadets to visualize. With these events so close they can almost taste it, there is no wonder why many cadets have trouble seeing beyond them into their future careers as Army officers.
At a guest speaking event on July 9, Brig. Gen. Darrell Guthrie, Commander of the 104th Training Division, discussed leadership style and training for success in an ever-more-complex world. With a career that began in 1985 when Guthrie commissioned as a field artillery officer, Guthrie now focuses on both “inspiring others to serve and continued service to our nation”.
“I began this journey just as a young guy from Alabama,” said Guthrie. “Let me tell you, it has been the best journey of my life.”
Guthrie does not contend that he has had a perfect career, but he stresses the actions that current cadets can take to ensure that they are successful in their future endeavors.
According to Guthrie, there is a big difference between “being” and “doing”. Being allows someone to simply go along with the existing system so that they themselves have the ability to get ahead, often leaving those who helped them behind, and not understanding their job fully. Doing occurs when an officer stands up for their Soldiers and takes decisive action to learn all of the ins and outs of their job so as to be an effective leader.
As future Army officers, the cadets eagerly decided that they wanted to be a group of doers.
“I’ve heard about the differences between being and doing before,” said Cadet Crystal Johnson, who just graduated from the nursing program at Washington State University. “The idea had never struck home with me until tonight. You can be a high-speed person and do a lot of things but you have to step forward and help as a leader in order to be successful.”
Guthrie also offered advice for developing a leadership philosophy by outlining important points from his own code that he has developed throughout his career. Being optimistic and proactive, as well as addressing challenges at the lowest level possible first are key to being a leader that is looked at as an example of excellence. For cadets and new officers, having a mentor to guide their careers is invaluable.
“Mentorship is about relationships,” said Guthrie. “It is hard to have a relationship if it is forced. Seek out a mentor that you look up to and keep a journal of your developing leadership philosophy.”
Cadet Nathan Smith, of Indiana University, felt that there were many takeaways that he could implement when he becomes a newly commissioned officer.
“Talk to your Soldiers and put their needs first,” said Smith. “You need to facilitate the success of everyone you lead, not just yourself.”
Johnson seconded this opinion by connecting it to her career as a nurse.
“I want to take aspects of his leadership philosophy and bring it to the Nurse Corps.,” said Johnson. “I can apply it to those I lead, the way I treat patients, and the way I conduct myself overall.”
With their careers in mind, as well as the ability to see past short-term goals and into their futures with a personal leadership philosophy, the cadets of CLC 3 and CIET 3 are well equipped to become the epitome of effective leadership.