Inspire: Chief Petty Officer Roderick Ansley

Each month the Office of Leadership will be posting a blog post on what inspires people to be great leaders. Rear Adm. William Kelly, assistant commandant for Coast Guard Human Resources, and Mr. Curtis Odom, director of Civilian Human Resources, Diversity and Leadership, kicked off the “Inspire” series in March with a video asking for you to keep the leadership dialogue going and to share what inspires you to be a leader. The 2017 Inspirational Leadership Awards Winners will be highlighted in this series and will share what has inspired them to be great leaders.

Newly advanced Chief Petty Officer Roderick Ansley, an aviation survival technician, was selected as the 2017 Munro Inspirational Leadership Award winner for his outstanding leadership while assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City.

Ansley drastically improved the Liquid Oxygen (LOX) program, led the Enlisted Flight Examining Board, developed an innovated aerial delivery system for the International Ice Patrol, and trained 300 members on survival tactics. He provided instruction, development, and evaluation of over 20 members while still performing nine aircrew upgrades, qualifying five rescue swimmers, and training 23 LOX technicians. He developed a LOX deployment kit which consisted of a discharge hose he prototyped, standardized tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and applicable Maintenance Procedure Cards (MPCs). This allowed the HC-130J to remain world-wide deployable and guaranteed the safety of deployed maintainers.

Below Ansley shares how got here and who he is now as a leader.

How I got here: My greatest inspirations were my grandfather, a Navy man, and my father, a 1979 Coast Guard Academy graduate and Coast Guard aviator. At nine years old, I remember telling my grandfather I wanted to be “one of those guys that jumps out of the helicopter, you know, the ones that work with Dad.”

(From left to right): Chief Petty Officer Roderick Ansley's grandfather, Woody Ansley, Chief Roderick Ansley Jr, and his father, Roderick Ansley.

(From left to right): Chief Petty Officer Roderick Ansley’s grandfather, Woody Ansley, Chief Roderick Ansley Jr, and his father, Roderick Ansley.

His response was something that surprised and stuck with me for 15 years, “Son, you are better than that. Don’t you want to be the man in charge of that enlisted man?” At 17 years old, just like most teenagers, I was lost and continuously seeking approval in all the wrong places. My father, in an attempt to guide me, suggested the Marine Corps as my only option which I resisted at first but joined weeks later. One day after completing my obligation to the Marine Corps, my grandfather sat with me in the kitchen of my parent’s home, during a family visit. Out of the blue, he apologized for his response to me 15 years earlier and urged me to follow my heart. Due to his mentorship and wisdom, I have found a successful Coast Guard career.

Who I am now: Empowerment, transparency, effective communication, and leadership of self are at the core of my design. I do not always succeed in my design; I am not the best aviation survival technician; I am not the best helicopter rescue swimmer. I am well rounded. Throughout my career, I have overcome my shortcomings and been afforded leniency with my mistakes by maintaining an extremely high work ethic. A high level work ethic has proven to be infectious amongst my peers and is an effective mentorship tool for junior members.

The leadership I have provided and witnessed within the last few years has been with great success and failure. The miraculous aspect of this has been the resiliency to which mistakes have been corrected and acted upon. Men self correct. Self correction within a timely fashion is dependent upon specific men willing to act above their prescribed level. The men I lead have exemplified this. How are the men under my charge different than any other? The difference is pressure. The pressure applied is greater than the average group. The pressure applied is more dynamic than the average group. The pressure presents itself in various forms and levels of intensity. This pressure is acted upon without regard to opinion but only, yes or no. Clear and consistent “yes” and “no” is the only way we survive. Consistently leaning heavier to one side or the other, in an attempt to accommodate personal agendas, result in failure. Failure is not something we are accustomed to; failure is a wakeup call; failure is a pause in operations; and failure is a reflection of an excess of pressure applied without proper action.

My path of how I got here and who I am now as a Coast Guardsman was, like all others, influenced by many people. Throughout my career, great leaders and poor leaders have shaped my ethos and leadership style. My effectiveness as a leader can only truly be accurately portrayed by the words of the men I lead. I hope I have served them well. “So Others May Live”

Note from the Leadership Awards Panel: I was honored to be the president of this year’s leadership panel, comprised of amazing individuals that spanned the entire Coast Guard family — active, reserve, officer, enlisted, civilian, Auxiliary. We had a very difficult time whittling down 152 well-crafted nominations. Our deliberations were long and thoughtful and we left no stone unturned in selecting the best of the best. Panel members often noted that this was an extraordinary opportunity that inspired us. In fact, one teammate with three decades of active and civilian experience stated that he left the panel each day with a spring in his step. We truly have the best leaders and followers of any organization. Let’s continue to work together to perpetuate that track record. Thanks everyone – Capt. Greg Stump

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