Great Lakes, Leadership

Chief Petty Officer Greg Rogers, a reservist boatswain's mate, stands next to his wife at a Coast Guard function in Buffalo, New York, summer of 2018. Rogers received the 2018 Reservist McShan Inspirational Leadership Award. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Chief Petty Officer Greg Rogers, a reservist boatswain’s mate, stands next to his wife at a Coast Guard function in Buffalo, New York, summer of 2018. Rogers received the 2018 Reservist McShan Inspirational Leadership Award. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Chief Petty Officer Greg Rogers, a Coast Guard Reserve boatswains mate out of Station Buffalo, New York, received the 2018 McShan Inspirational Leadership Award for his outstanding leadership.

Every year the Coast Guard awards a chief petty officer – active duty and Reserve – the MCPO Angela M. McShan Inspirational Leadership Award. Master Chief Petty Officer Angela McShan was the first African American woman advanced to master chief petty officer, serving over two decades with devotion and distinguished leadership. She served as an instructor at the Chief Petty Officers Academy, which she helped to establish, and was slated to become the chief of Yeoman “A” school prior to her death in 2000.

The members nominated for the award must be top performers with these characteristics:

  1. Exemplifies the Coast Guard core values of honor (integrity), respect (esteem of junior and seniors), and devotion to duty (ethical behavior).
  2. Fosters a culture of diversity through inclusion and commitment.
  3. Mentors both junior and senior personnel toward their highest potential.
  4. Leads and motivates by example to ensure mission execution excellence.

Rogers credits many of his qualities that led to him being the leader he is today to those around him, and the Coast Guard itself.

Chief Petty Officer Greg Rogers, a reservist boatswain's mate, receives the McShan Inspirational Leadership Award in Buffalo, New York, summer of 2018. Every year the Coast Guard awards a chief petty officer – active duty and Reserve – the MCPO Angela M. McShan Inspirational Leadership Award. Master Chief Petty Officer Angela McShan was the first African American woman advanced to master chief petty officer, serving over two decades with devotion and distinguished leadership. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Chief Petty Officer Greg Rogers, a reservist boatswain’s mate, receives the McShan Inspirational Leadership Award in Buffalo, New York, summer of 2018. Every year the Coast Guard awards a chief petty officer – active duty and Reserve – the MCPO Angela M. McShan Inspirational Leadership Award. Master Chief Petty Officer Angela McShan was the first African American woman advanced to master chief petty officer, serving over two decades with devotion and distinguished leadership. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

“I’ve often looked back and tried to sort out where my inspiration is rooted,” said Rogers. “In leadership, we have countless opportunities to learn from others. These are as small as the BM3 at my first unit asking me my first name (and using it) to make me feel valued, or as large as a service-wide concept of transparency and clear communication.”

He believes there is also great value in experiencing poor or ineffective leadership, which is bound to happen over the course of a career. He said he has found inspiration in learning from his own mistakes as well as others.

“A light comes on and you think ‘I didn’t like working for that person. I won’t do that. I won’t be that person.’ It’s like taking a multiple-choice test; Sometimes, you cross off the wrong answers to find the right ones. Never miss an opportunity to learn from mistakes-your own or anyone else’s,” said Rogers.

The leadership experience and philosophy Rogers has gained through the Coast Guard transcends into all aspects of his life, including his civilian job as a fire department lieutenant.

“I’ve found that many of the techniques that work in the Coast Guard could be applied at the fire department, too,” said Rogers. “The Coast Guard has taught me resiliency and the ability to work with such a variety of people, and it’s taught me to problem solve.”

Rogers said the award came as a true surprise, and he felt very honored and humbled to be recognized in such a way. He received phone calls and emails from past shipmates, which meant a lot to him. That is a testament of the lasting impact he’s left on those who have worked with him.

The leadership style Rogers finds most effective is to give people a specific objective and allow them to find the way to their own success. He believes a leader should give their people everything they need to complete the objective without overwhelming them with task direction or micromanagement. He said this allows them to develop as leaders themselves. The caveat being that leadership does not have a “one size fits all” approach.

“Leave something better than you found it, that’s all I did in Buffalo. I found something that needed improvement and I took action to improve it. This is purpose-based leadership,” said Rogers. “I’m a believer in doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. I’m tour-complete this year and I’m leaving with a true feeling of accomplishment. I hope my example laid down a course for others to follow.”

He said perhaps one of the things that propelled him toward the award was his tendency to identify shortfalls and straighten them out, ask tough questions, and hold people- including himself- accountable.

The Inspirational Leadership Awards annually recognize active duty and Reserve officers, enlisted members, civilians and auxiliarists. These awards are presented to members who best exemplify the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty, foster a culture of diversity, mentor both junior and senior personnel to their highest potential, and leads and motivates by example. To learn more about the awards, please visit the Office of Leadership website.

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