Leadership Development Program enhances leadership and teambuilding skills

Published July 25, 2022
Leadership Development Program enhances leadership and teambuilding skills

Leadership Development Program sponsors and enrollees pose after mastering a local escape room in Fort Worth, Texas. LDP is a developmental program which provides a means for developing and enhancing leadership skills for junior employees.

The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District Leadership Development Program is a developmental program which provides a means for developing and enhancing leadership skills for junior employees. Members learn how to improve areas of performance through training, self-development, and on-the-job experience.

There are three levels to the program, beginning with the Level I program where employees learn the fundamentals of leadership. Level II exposes participants to leadership principles and team-building skills. These levels are completed at the local district level.

Level III, is administered by the Southwestern Division Headquarters, where participants develop and expand their regional leadership perspectives.

Recently, the LDP hosted a leadership workshop for the students enrolled in the Level II program. Commander, Colonel Jon Stover, kicked off the two-day workshop with a leadership discussion, followed by a wide range of leadership classes instructed by SWF district leaders.

The workshop agenda consisted of classes such as strategies for managing and resolving conflict instructed by Brandon Mobley, Chief of Regulatory Division; best practices for building high-performance teams instructed by Matthew Hays, SWF Chief of Staff; and problem-solving methods instructed by Jeffrey Mahaffey, Chief of Emergency Management.

The workshop culminated with a practical leadership exercise where students were given the opportunity to apply their leadership skills at the Red Door Escape Room, located in Montgomery Plaza. Students were assigned to two teams before taking on the challenge of finding clues needed to break out of the room scenario.

The first team, led by LaShun Medlock, SWF LDP Champion, and Jeffrey Neill, SWF Chief of Contracting, entered the “Cash Me if You Can” room and flew through the casino-themed episode with seventeen minutes to spare. The second team, led by Robert Morris, Deputy Chief of Programs and Project Management, took on “Fair Game”, a carnival-themed room, and successfully escaped.

While in the rooms, both teams expressed how crucial the skills they acquired during the workshop were to their success. The teams moved organically through each room, where each member took turns leading according to their strengths and passed the baton when needed.

“…We all sort of spread out and tried to work independently, so we were sort of harnessing all of our efforts on [working the problem], and that doesn’t always happen very often in the office,” Jeffrey Neill commented before laughing.

When asked what they took away from the workshop, students remarked that they gleaned invaluable insight into crucial skills like patience, team building, critical thinking, and effective communication.

Overall, the leadership workshop was a great success for all that attended. And when asked if the team had a blast at the Escape Room, a resounding yes echoed throughout the room. “This is what I like to hear: That the process of developing leaders for tomorrow is a fun, enjoyable process,” remarked LaShun Medlock.

If you’re interested in enrolling in Fort Worth District’s Leadership Development Program, please get in touch with the Emerging Leader at Emerging_Leader_Inbox@usace.army.mil.