NEWS | Oct. 29, 2020

MEDCoE building more capable, cohesive team

By Tish Williamson U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Public Affairs

As part of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Leader Professional Development, Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, MEDCoE commanding general, hosted a session on the “Foundations of Leadership” Oct. 28. 

The event was attended by nearly 100 virtual and in-person attendees, using COVID-19 mitigation measures, in Blesse Auditorium at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.  The group, which included both military and civilian personnel, discussed lessons learned from President John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, which ended Oct. 28, 1962 – 58 years ago to the day – as it related to three factors that apply to all levels of leadership:

  • Attributes and competencies follow you
  • Success or failure may turn into an attribute
  • The leader’s team is the sum of its competencies

Col. Laura Elliott, MEDCoE Chief of Staff, made opening remarks and facilitated the session, while Col. Caryn Vernon, the MEDCoE G3, outlined the purpose of the LPD program and the way ahead for the program. Lt. Col. Justin Schlanser, executive officer to the chief, Dental Corps, served as guest speaker and initiated discussion on leadership, attributes and competencies. 

Schlanser asked the group, “What have you done to cultivate the attributes of those junior to you?”

During the event, many audience members participated in the open discussion, to include J.M. Harmon III, deputy to the commanding general, who spoke about actions needed to improve relationships between military and civilian team members in order to build more capable and cohesive teams.

Online and in-person attendees also had an opportunity to recommend books and movies that they have found to be instrumental in their own professional development. 

LeMaster concluded the event with remarks about leadership and diversity. 

“We have to be honest with ourselves,” he said. “When you have an honest view of yourselves about your attributes and competencies, you are confident enough to bring in experts, many with opposing viewpoints, which will better help solve big problems.

“You bring in people of different ranks, different backgrounds; you need diversity of thought,” LeMaster said.  “You need different perspectives to get it right.”

The Army is committed to cultivating a culture built on trust, dignity and respect and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.  That culture change must be fostered by leaders at all levels.