CSM Elliott offers perspective on diversity

Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Elliott Jr. of the Headquarters Command Battalion speaks to students during a Veterans Day assembly at MacArthur Middle School last November. (file photo)

The following interview was conducted with Command Sgt. Maj. Edward R. Elliott Jr., assigned to Headquarters Command Battalion, in observance of Black History Month.

The battalion, like the larger Army, consists of a diversity of Soldiers with different backgrounds and views.

How do you incorporate an understanding of diversity in your unit to improve team efficiency and effectiveness?

Diversity is the strength and culture of the Headquarters Command Battalion.

As the senior enlisted advisor, it starts with me to create an environment that allows every Soldier within the Headquarters Command Battalion to have a voice and to ensure that their voice is an added value to the organization.

Soldiers’ involvement and participation allow them to invest in the organization as a team, creating a positive environment in which leaders and Soldiers can make a sound decision by allowing them the latitude in making mistakes.

Learning from those mistakes will develop a Soldier into a positive future leader.

Does diversity add value to your command?

Yes, diversity is a benefit to my battalion; it allows me to learn different values from each Soldier. I gather a better understanding on what makes each Soldier and leader in the formation different because of his or her education, training, experience and background.

By understanding this, it allows me to understand that every Soldier views a situation and solution different. This allows the Headquarters Command Battalion’s command team to capture the Soldier’s ideas and integrate those ideas into the overall mission.

However, even though we come from all types of backgrounds and morals, the Army Values is the thread which keeps us balanced and focused on how we should conduct ourselves as Soldiers.

How has the Army’s emphasis on diversity helped you in your role as an Army leader?

The Army vision of diversity has had an impact on me as a leader. The Army provides an opportunity to interact with others who have a different perspective that gives me the ability to embrace the strength of others’ ideas.

This includes investing time, training and cultural understanding that make me a better leader, not only in the Army, but also in today’s society.

I have the opportunity to manage talent from different personnel in the Army. However, I understand I am not only a leader but also a role model.

How important are the garrison’s observances of the contributions of different cultures and genders to the Fort Meade community?

It is important that the garrison observes different cultures because history teaches others to accept diversity.

History has shown that women have also played a significant role in the community and military. In the past, women have stood in the gap in order to break down barriers to equality.

It is important we continue to learn about other cultures and history in order to fill the ranks of the DoD civilian and military corps with diversity.

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