GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — A major part of becoming an effective leader is learning how to communicate efficiently with peers, leadership and subordinates.

Although practice is the best learning tool, one must first understand how people communicate. One way to do this is to attend career development courses such as the John Maxwell “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” program. Programs like this give individuals the opportunity to expand their communication toolbox while connecting and learning from each other.

“We all must strive to become better leaders and followers,” said Master Sgt. Donavon Gollihar, 17th Training Wing career assistance adviser. “We can’t always do that by just reading a book or by reviewing TED talks. Sometimes we must learn from others and the knowledge they have in order to see a new perspective.”

In his position as CAA, one of Gollihar’s duties is to organize these developmental courses at the wing level and to inform personnel on base about these learning opportunities. Not only do these courses help attendees, but they also give the facilitators new perspectives on different leadership styles.

“To paraphrase Bob Vasquez from the Air Force Academy, ‘He who teaches, learns twice,’” said Senior Master Sgt. Darrin Donovan, 17th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent. “By running these courses, I get to help others grow while they also help me to grow.”

Donovan decided to join the John Maxwell team in 2015 to facilitate these learning programs and share what he had learned in previous classes with his peers.

Leadership and follower-ship are skills some possess naturally, but others may have to work at. Even if one is naturally a great leader, it could be helpful in their leadership to learn how to follow and see how others choose to lead.

“Law number three of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is the law of process, which teaches ‘leadership develops daily, not in a day,’” Donovan said.

As we continue to grow ourselves, we must also go out and share what we have learned with others. To lead proficiently, we must first know how to connect with the people around us. Attending free courses provided on base by the wing is one way for personnel to continue developing their skills while connecting with others.

“A single course will not magically transform anyone into a good leader,” Donovan said, “but I know the lessons contained in these programs can encourage, inspire and ignite good people to become better leaders.”

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