Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lora Ratliff
Lt. Waymando Brown is the 2018 Coast Guard Reserve recipient of the Capt. John G. Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award. Brown, the shore side division security officer for Coast Guard Port Security Unit 308 in Kiln, Mississippi, led his team through the difficult operations in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.
When it comes to being a leader, look after your crew, look after the mission, never put anyone in a situation that you wouldn’t want to be put in yourself, be a good Coastie and live by that code, said Brown.
“I love being operational, being on a boat, and if there’s an opportunity to be in the field with my guys, I’m always going to lead the charge,” said Brown. “I’m not one to sit on the sidelines where it’s safe and bark commands. I’m going to be on the playing field with them. I think my guys know that of me and know that I’m never going to ask them to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.”
A good leader can recognize the needs of his or her people. For example, family issues have the potential to distract from the job.
When it comes to family, Brown says being a husband and father of two toddlers helped him become a better leader.
“I think that helps me be a leader in the Coast Guard, having a family and knowing the demands and the balance that you need to strike,” said Brown. “I think they help me understand so when a subordinate tells me something is going on with their family, I can work with that shipmate. I can understand the kind of pull that would have on his attention and mental state.”
Martin Luther King Jr. is widely regarded as a great leader, so it’s no surprise that many find leadership inspiration from his quotes. Brown found Dr. King so inspirational that he tattooed one of his quotes on his arm:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”