Developing leadership within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers remains one of the top priorities here in the Memphis District, and the velocity at which we continue to strive toward growing its emerging leaders is evident in the most recent Leadership Development Program meeting.
Performance Management and Data Analytics Chief of Military Programs at USACE Headquarters, Sam Zakhem, led a two-day class on a variety of important topics ranging from knowing yourself as a leader, making a first impression, and listening with intent.
“He provided the class with numerous amounts of resources that can help guide us into becoming more successful and impactful leaders,” USACE Realty Specialist and LDP participant Joshua Neisen said. “He stressed the importance of being able to listen consciously and the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication. Mr. Zakhem provided the class with useful techniques and skills he uses to notice strengths and weaknesses in leaders, which we can utilize to help to develop the leader within us.”
Another engaging topic included discussing the results of the Gallup Strengths Finder Assessment. Each student took the test prior to the class with Zakhem and so the discussion was something they were eager to do.
“It was fun being able to see what each person’s top five strengths were,” Neisen explained. “Mr. Zakhem took the time to listen and discuss each person’s strengths and what it really means when applying those strengths in the Corps. An interesting thing for me personally was seeing that both Lt. Col. Molica and I were the only two individuals that had the strength of “woo” as one of their top five. “Woo” means you have the ability to win others over and there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet. What made this even more impactful was that Mr. Zakhem stated that “woo” was a strength not seen too often in the Corps nationwide.”
Observing both sessions with Zakhem made it clear his discussions were a hit, which really set the tone for the next few sessions to come.
“I am mostly looking forward to getting to know my classmates even more, sharing experiences with them outside of the office setting all while feeding my strengths and working on my weaknesses to become the best leader I can possible be for the Corps,” Neisen added.