Friday, March 23, 2012

[337] MTSU Alum, TN National Guard Head Shares Leadership Qualities

For release: March 23, 2012

News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or
ODK Leadership Day contacts: Matthew Hibdon/Georgia Dennis, 615-898-5645; Hibdon also can be reached at

MTSU alum, TN National Guard head shares leadership qualities

MURFREESBORO — Tennessee National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Terry “Max” Haston says MTSU, his ROTC training while at the University and his early years in the U.S. Army helped build strong leadership qualities.

Haston (B.S. ’79) shared those traits with MTSU students and staff during a 40-minute presentation that was the keynote address for the first Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Circle True Blue Leadership Day. The event was held in the University Honors College Amphitheater.

“Leadership is a subject we deal with all the time in the military,” said Haston, a Warren County native now living in Knoxville with his wife, Anne. Their son, Travis, is a fourth-year MTSU student in the College of Mass Communication.

Later in his talk, Haston said, “Leadership is when you get people to do what you want them to do. However, in his line of work, reality takes on a serious vein “when they potentially know they could lose their life.”

“Leadership is than holding a position,” he added. “You have to learn and you have to earn their respect.” He made several references to the phrase, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the view never changes.”

Freshman Tandra Martin, a freshman Honors College Buchanan Fellow from Murfreesboro majoring in international relations, attended several sessions.

“This has been extremely beneficial,” she said. “I have been learning a lot of varied perspectives and how to approach leadership in different ways. Since I’m just starting here (at MTSU) and want to be involved in organizations, the skills I’ve learned today, hopefully, will help me in those endeavors.”

Haston supervises the Military Department of Tennessee, which includes the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee State Guard. He shared with students and others attending his talk a “Be/Know/Do” philosophy about leadership.

He urged them to:

• “be aware of your mission and your mission in life. Be a leader: Step on out there. Once you get the mission, don’t overcomplicate it. You have to articulate and communicate what you want folks to do;

• “be a good listener. It’s very hard to be a good listener and be a good leader. Folks with a type-A personality may be listening, but they may be waiting to talk. Be a Charlie (the character actor on the Tennessee Farm Bureau TV and radio commercials);

• “be responsible and accountable. Somebody’s going to hold you responsible in your job; and

• “be passionate for what you do. If you do not have passion, you need to go on to another career. Find something you love to do and go do it. … I have a passion for what I do — the men and women (I work with) who love to do what they do every day.”

In the “know” aspect of “Be/Know/Do,” Haston says to “know about your job and what it involves. Learn your people and their skills and abilities. … A lot of people reach lofty places, and it’s hard for them to look down and tell them (others) what to do. … Know the next phase line, and always thinking about the next day and the next event.”

In the “Do” phase, Haston urged students to “give reasons and challenges, and not just talks. Our young men and women today are better, faster, stronger and quicker than any previous generation. They think broader and think globally. … Be real. People who respect you can spot a phony. I tell young commanders to leave the unit better than you found it. That’s a true sign of a leader.”

Haston concluded by telling the students they “attend one of the best universities in the nation.”

Other MTSU staff and faculty members also shared leadership qualities during the event. They included Dusty Doddridge of the MTSU Career Development Center; Heather Arrington of the University College Advising Center; Jackie Victory of MTSU Office of Leadership and Service; Dr. Deana Raffo of the Department of Management and Marketing; Dr. David Foote of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and MTSU Institute of Leadership Excellence; and William Respess of the University’s Department of Human Resource Services.


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