It shouldn't come as a shock to hear someone say effective leadership is essential to the success of an organization, no matter the industry. Equally as vital is growing and developing leaders from within the organization.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District invests in employees and develops their leadership skills by utilizing the Leadership Development Program (LDP). LDP graduates are said to benefit from an expanded network of mentors, elevated promotion potential, and a greater understanding of the enterprise and district (to name a few).
Having more mentors and a better chance at promotion is nice, but according to the class of 2022, these perks are barely a fraction of what participants can get out of this yearlong program.
"The concepts we discussed add tremendously to our capabilities, both individual and collective; when we deliver projects and are interfacing with customers, internal and external," Outreach Coordinator Brian Schneider said. "I was very inspired by the teachings and concepts we covered and appreciated getting to know others with whom I might never come in contact."
The added bonus of meeting others and building lasting relationships with others in the district was a class consensus, as a majority of the group mentioned this in their review of the program.
Lead Civil Engineer Jeff Gafford identified relationship-building as the most valuable aspect, saying, "… getting outside of my engineering bubble to build relationships with people from Ensley, people in legal, and people in other professions was the most rewarding part to me."
Along with building relationships, LDP members admittedly struggled at times. Turning this into a positive, many said it was also through those struggles that they experienced the most growth.
"My time in LDP pinpointed weaknesses in my leadership style," Metals Shop Fitter Leader Joey Cabay said. "But this is what ultimately helped me overcome those weaknesses. I am a better leader overall because of my time in LDP."
Schneider agreed in that LDP is both a challenging and rewarding program, personally and professionally.
"It provides you with insights into leadership concepts to which you might never be exposed in your daily activities," he said. "In life, it's important to have situations which force you to learn something new and consider the benefits."
"I have actively made changes to how I approach people and situations so that my intentions are clear and my team knows I appreciate and recognize the work they are accomplishing," Executive Assistant Andrea Carpenter Crowther said.
The class clearly got a lot out of the program, even if it was difficult at times. And as is true with most hardships, the graduates had this advice to offer for those participating in the next program: You get out what you put into it.
"Go all in," Cabay explained. "Attend everything offered during LDP, meet everyone, and give all you have on every single project."
"Take it seriously and do the work," Carpenter-Crowther added. "Don't volunteer for the program to check the box. This is a great opportunity to show the district your work ethic and make a difference. Attend the events and be part of the program, not just an observer."
Adding to the above, Schneider also advised to, "Plan, plan, plan for all the activities, and keep up with the assignments. You will be richer for it, and the sacrifice is worth it."
Congratulations to the LDP Class of 2022. The district is proud of all you accomplished during your time in the program and looks forward to all you will surely achieve throughout the rest of your years with the district.
If what these participants said appealed to you and you're looking to grow as a leader, professional, and person, the Leadership Development Program may be what you're looking for.
To be eligible for selection, you must be a full-time employee and be in career status. You must also have a minimum of two years of federal service, a current performance rating of "3" or above and have demonstrated potential for long-term contributions. Finally, supervisor approval is mandatory.
Participants start the program with a self-assessment. The rest of the year is spent building upon counseling and communication skills, advancing enterprise and district knowledge, and developing one’s professional network.
Throughout the year, participants are expected to plan and attend a variety of meetings, site visits, workshops, and forums. They must also prepare and present a briefing on a ‘hot topic item’ to senior district leadership. Requirements are completed at different frequencies and coordinated with various district facilitators.
The deadline to apply is January 15.