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Growing Leaders

Thomas Palmatier • August 2022Perspective • August 2, 2022

As you can imagine, the U.S. Army places a high premium on developing leaders and teaching principles of leadership. As an Army officer, I attended many, many leadership courses culminating in the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and then, their capstone program, the U.S. Army War College which awarded a Master of Strategic Studies degree. These courses stressed that leadership is something that can be learned and improved on with study and practice. “Natural leaders” may be those who have charisma, but that doesn’t mean they will be successful and genuine leaders.

In this issue, Dr. Matthew Arau brings us part two of his series on inclusive student leadership. Last month, he outlined the benefits of letting all students, not just the chosen few, be developed as leaders. This month he gets into the “how.” Watch for a continuing series of student leadership tips from him in future issues.

Like many of you, I was at a band concert on the 4th of July. It was a great event with thousands of people to be entertained by the Thornton Community Band. Like most community bands, they have a board of directors. After decades as a band commander in the Army where all responsibility was ultimately mine, having a board is wonderful! I arrived at the concert and just focused on the musical program. They took care of everything else in superb fashion. In other words, they worked as a high functioning team of leaders. Now you may say, “of course they did, they are adults!” But adults don’t become great leaders and great teammates just by virtue of their age. I’ll bet every one of them learned their leadership and teamwork lessons in band.

The other thing I noticed at our concert was the wonder of America. The Denver area is incredibly diverse and has many people who trace their roots to Latin America. I saw people of all ages and heard many languages, but I’ve never seen so many American flags! As we performed a medley of songs of the Armed Forces where we asked those who served or had loved ones who served, those who stood proudly spanned from senior citizens to teens. One Hispanic family stood for four of the five service songs. How blessed we are to be in a country where so many voluntarily answer the nation’s call to duty and where America’s motto is e pluribus unum – out of many, one.

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