Reprinted from NAVAIR News – Aug. 1, 2013

Leadership is all about innovation, the executive officer here told new members of NAVAIR’s Leadership Development Program (NLDP) at their first training class July 22-26.

navair logo“I’d like to think of innovation as a product of learning. As the U.S. military was learning to fly, they needed innovation to make things fly,” said Capt. Frank Naylor. “Leadership must be receptive to innovation. As the future leaders, here’s the challenge for you — be open with dialogue to your employees in both upward and downward directions. I challenge you to create an innovative environment.”

Naylor spoke as part of the leadership orientation and foundational training class, the first in a series of six classes members of the NLDP take over a period of three to five years. While the first class was hosted in Orlando, the remaining five will be at other NAVAIR sites nationwide.

The class introduced employees to the concepts threaded through the entire NLDP: organizational learning, emerging technologies, electronic communication, collaboration technologies, wellness, mentorship and Emergenetics, a tool used to analyze individual behavioral and thinking characteristics.

future leaders

Thirty-five of NAVAIR’s future leaders arrive at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, Fla., July 22, to participate in the newly revamped NAVAIR Leadership Development Program course on leadership orientation and foundational training. (U.S. Navy photo)

Employees said they were inspired by the many topics covered in the class.

“The week was impressive, dealing with all facets of personal and professional growth: cognitive preferences, health and wellness, self-defense and virtual technologies,” said Procurement Contracting Officer Terressa Bebout. “NLDP truly embraces a balanced approach to leadership training.”

Aerospace Engineer Tara Chaidez agreed. “Most leadership classes only focus on leadership soft skills improvement, but this class also had us engaged in teambuilding simulations, exploring emergent technologies and relevant wellness activities,” she said.

Clayton Smith, also an aerospace engineer, said the program has been nonstop learning. “I enjoyed my first course, and I look forward to future courses,” he said. “It’s my hope that all of the courses will be as intense as this one.”

The newest NLDP group includes 93 employees, who, in addition to taking leadership training classes, will partake in job rotational assignments, find mentors, create individual development plans, shadow senior leaders, attend leadership and diversity events and build a professional network. The program includes two learning tracks focusing on management and continuous process improvement.
The NLDP was recently redesigned to focus on NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. David Dunaway’s 2013-2018 guidance, of which developing future leaders is a key part, and restructured to help participants apply their lessons back in the office.

“I believe this week has been a great opportunity for these developing leaders,” said NLDP manager Stephanie Gleason. “They have shown an incredible amount of initiative and collaboration.”

Learn more about NLDP and NAVAIR’s other training and developmental programs at www.navair.navy.mil/jobs/training.html.