Leadership and science are strongly connected. The USGS vision to be a world leader in the natural sciences through our scientific excellence and responsiveness to society's needs requires effective leadership qualities and actions within our workforce. Not just at the top levels but among all the people who dedicate their skills to enhancing our scientific programs.
Carol Meteyer, a Wildlife Pathologist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, demonstrates how the USGS Leadership Program has helped her to enhance her scientific work. A few months after completing the Leadership Development 101 Course, she wrote the following to the Leadership Program Manager:
"You would be amazed at how often I am making life-changes as a consequence of your class and the opportunity it gave me to articulate a personal vision. I have been able to let go and let others strategize and direct projects that I have been in charge of in the past. I feel less encumbered and seem to be able to finish projects that have been on the shelf for years. I resurrected an important draft manuscript describing a die-off of 150,000 grebes at Salton Sea and completed the consolidation (with new insight) and now have a strong draft manuscript for others to refine. Most of my clinical diagnostic cases have been completed; I have begun a new phase of my malformation work; and I am trying to line up a post-doc for a new direction in amphibian malformations. I am about to pull out another draft manuscript that will organize all of the organochlorine mortality on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal over a five year period of surveillance that we conducted. I have contributed to finalizing another manuscript from a co-worker here and reviewed two major articles. All of these activities are beyond my clinical work for which I was hired but I am still finding time to finish them. …I just feel more in charge of where my life is going and how I am living it. …I am grateful for the personal awareness you have encouraged."
Accepting challenges, taking intelligent risks, being open to new and diverse ideas—these are some of the leadership characteristics which scientists are encouraged to embrace as USGS creates a leadership-centered culture. This is the difference between "science" and "scientific excellence."