The Foreign Service Journal - April 2014 - page 9

APRIL 2014
Leadership Lessons
When good leaders fail because of bad
personal decisions or character flaws, too
often we focus on those shortcomings
and lose sight of the good they have done.
Major General Michael Carey’s recent
removal as chief of the United States
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force
for misbehavior on a trip to Moscow is a
perfect example.
When I worked for him 15 years ago as
a missileer, then-Lieutenant Colonel Carey
exemplified the term “leadership” for me.
He led by example, promoted a “work
hard, play hard” ethic, and communicated
to his 200-person unit how important it
was to balance the mission and the welfare
of the individual teammembers.
Rare qualities by themselves, these
traits become even more valuable when
an individual possesses them all. So I am
saddened to learn of his fall from grace, as
it will forever taint the impressive leader-
ship legacy Gen. Carey had built up over a
distinguished 35-year military career.
The State Department also has its
share of leaders with personal peccadil-
los. Unfortunately, we rarely take the time
to reflect on their skills and learn from
their mistakes. To be sure, the Foreign
Service Institute’s School of Leadership
and Management does its best to promote
such discussions and to professionalize
leadership and management techniques.
And the department has also recently
published in the Foreign Affairs Manual
leadership tenets based on the work done
by various bureaus. These are useful steps,
but more needs to be done.
Frommy personal experience in New
Delhi during my first Foreign Service tour
(2012-2014), Consular Team India did this
as well as any organization. Founded by
officers with roots in the Bureau of Con-
sular Affairs’ Leadership Development
Committee, CTI is staffed by Foreign Ser-
vice officers and Locally Employed Staff.
Anchored by well-designed systems
like the Consular Leadership Toolkit, the
Consular Leadership Indicator and CA’s
well-known leadership tenets, CTI has
been recognized as an organizational
innovator. The model has since been
adopted in Brazil and other missions.
In addition, CA has used some of the
ideas to foster an improved management
culture (through the “1CA” Consular
Management Project). This new frame-
work has, in turn, been embraced by the
M family, which now encourages manag-
ers to “think globally,” “assess honestly”
and “create value,” among other prac-
The public diplomacy function is also
moving toward a more deliberate culture
of leadership, one more likely to take own-
ership of “the message,” analyze the goals
of outreach programming, and recognize
Locally Employed Staff as the institutional
knowledge, our own “backbone.” I could
cite many other examples of this through-
out the department, as well.
State is becoming an institution that
systematically fosters and applies leader-
ship lessons throughout the organization.
What is even more exciting about this
trend is the fact that our leadership culture
is developing fromwithin, both by word of
mouth and through careful planning.
As part of that effort, all of us have the
chance to reflect on the lessons we’ve
learned from previous leaders—even the
flawed ones—and apply them to the great
things our organization is doing right now.
John Fer
Embassy Managua
Steve Honley’s Departure
It was with a bit of sadness, as well as
recognition that time passes, that I read
in the
that Steve
Honley is relinquishing the editorship of
. I worked with Steve in the
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in the
early 1990s, and thought his retirement
from the Foreign Service was a great loss.
His stewardship of the
for the
past decade probably had as large an
impact on the Service as one officer could
hope to have. I wish him the best in this
latest transition.
Michael W. Cotter
Ambassador, retired
Pittsboro, N.C.
An Exemplary Legacy
I’m sure the
is receiving many
notes of appreciation for the exemplary
work Steve Honley did as editor during
his 12-plus years of service. I’d like to add
my own praises, as I’ve known Steve quite
a bit longer than his
days, going back
to 1990 when he was Cameroon desk
officer and I was deputy chief of mission
in Yaoundé.
I was impressed then with the tre-
mendous support he provided our post,
but was also annoyed at times for his
reminding me that we should be editing
our cables more carefully. I had no idea
that he would be putting those editing
skills to such good use during his tenure
at the
Steve’s real achievement, however,
was the continuous qualitative improve-
ment in the
during his time in
the editor’s chair, culminating in the
most recent format upgrade. Of the many
excellent editions Steve put out, I believe
a number deserve special mention: “State
of Mind: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
and the Foreign Service” (January 2008);
“U.S.-Africa Relations: Building on the
First 50 Years” (May 2008); “Just Say ‘Ah’:
Examining the Office of Medical Ser-
vices” (September 2010); “Work-Life
Balance: Handling the Ups and Downs of
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