There’s a premium for post-military leadership across business and government organizations nationwide. Military leaders represent some of the best-trained, experienced and mission-driven professionals in the civilian workforce. In this issue of the Authentic Leadership Series, I talk with Eddie Maldonado, Administrative Services Manager for the VA Roseberg Healthcare System, retired U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant and two-time recipient of the “Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year” award to discuss the leadership approaches that have made him successful during his career.
Q: With over three decades of service with distinction to our nation, how would you describe the evolution of your leadership journey?
Eddie: How does one summarize 30 years of service? For me it has to begin with basic training and the instant exposure we all have to the military’s autocratic leadership approach. Imagine the responsibility of taking young people who come from all walks of life and shaping them to conform to a single standard. As you know, the military follows a hierarchy that’s intended to promote this autocratic style in order to execute war. I was fortunate to start out in the service as a medic. My job was to sustain life. My skills spanned the breadth of medical to physician assistance. I worked in emergency rooms and intensive care units, and in seven years I was in charge of my own clinic. I believe that in in addition to my expertise, it was my ability to multitask under demanding and traumatic circumstances that made me an ideal candidate.
As my military career continued, I supervised more personnel. During my last assignment, I served at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where I was directly responsible for all medical support. I was in charge of coordinating the support and flow of patients, and was a key advisor to any medical planning. This included football events that sometimes had more than 100,000 spectators in the area at one time. If there were a terror attack, I would be the one to execute the plan by managing the flow of patients and assessing our capabilities. This required a large scope of preparedness and practice. It involved providing consistent leadership and mentoring for a team of more than 85 personnel. The Air Force gave me the spark and I turned it into a leadership fire.
Read on to learn more about Eddie’s insights on translating military leadership into the modern workplace as part of the APU Authentic Leadership Series, “From Boot Camp to Command: Translating Military Leadership to the Modern Workplace.”
Michelle Maldonado is a former corporate attorney with more than 17 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, operations and partnership development across the e-learning, technology and online media industries. She currently serves as Associate Vice President of Corporate and Strategic Relationships for American Public University (APU) and is the creator and editor of The Authentic Leadership Series. Michelle is passionate about talent development, coaching and the mentoring of professionals to support organizational success and sustainability. Utilizing an authentic and consultative approach, Michelle collaborates with industry organizations to form education alliances that support overall talent and institutional growth strategies. She also represents APU in conferences and other venues on the topic of leadership authenticity and its convergence with emotional intelligence, mindfulness and other “conscious leadership” practices that inspire culture transformation. Michelle’s work has been featured in Chief Learning Officer, Human Capital Insights, Leadership Excellence, and Training magazines.
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