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NEWS | Nov. 29, 2017

Are you a good leader?

By U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Nicole Flores Coast Guard Base Charleston

To know if you are a good leader you first have to know what a good leader is. Do your research.  There are many definitions and variations of what a good leader is; one model often used in leadership literature is the transformational leadership model, first proposed by James MacGregor Burns and then developed by Bernard Bass.


The transformational leadership model focuses on visionary thinking or innovation and inspiring change, rather than management processes designed to maintain and steadily improve current performance. According to the idea of transformational leadership, a good leader displays the following traits: clear goal setting, high expectations, encouraging others, providing support and recognition, stirring people’s emotions, getting people to look beyond their self-interest and inspiring people to reach for the improbable.


If this doesn’t sound like you, don’t worry, there are steps you can take to become a transformational leader. According to Bernard Bass in his book, “Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectation,” first, you must create an inspiring vision of the future, often called a vision statement. Typically, the vision statement is provided to those of us in the military from our most senior leadership. Then people must be motivated and inspired to engage and manage delivery of the vision.  Senior enlisted members do this by being “one voice” and ensuring they relay the vision to junior members in the most positive way possible. Finally, as a leader, you must coach and build a team that it is effective at achieving the vision. The transformational leadership model is applicable in all areas of business, as well as the DOD.


For more resources to assist you with your leadership development including USCG courses that are available please visit the USCG Leadership Development Center (LDC) portal page at: If you do not have access to the Coast Guard portal visit the USCG LDC website at: These sites will aide you with your research on your leadership journey.