Cadet Christian Scowcroft
“No leadership position goes without its merit. No leadership position goes without the potential to do something great because you are always in the capacity to guide and teach someone.”
–November Company Commander Christian Scowcroft
Cadet Christian Scowcroft of Greenville, S.C., left Alpha Company his senior year to become commander of November Company. He chose to lead the company because he believes strongly in The Citadel’s core value of duty. As a leader, Scowcroft has been a mentor to knobs struggling to adapt to the rigors of military life at The Citadel and to upper class cadets learning and understanding their roles as leaders among their peers. His approachable attitude combined with his stern command presence stands out among his peers. Upon graduation Scowcroft will receive a B.S. in electrical engineering and a commission into the U.S. Army.
Q: What is your leadership style?
A: There is a quote by James Crook that I love and that has been pinned to my corkboard, every single day of every single year that I’ve been here since I was a first semester clerk my sophomore year. It says ‘The man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.’ As leaders it is our job to say ‘We’ when presenting our goals, it is our job to say ‘You’ when praising someone and giving them credit for the good things they’ve done, and it is our job to say ‘I’ when things go wrong and things don’t work out the way we wanted them to.”
Q: How do you get people to unify to accomplish a goal?
A: In a leadership position, you learn a lot about getting people to work together that don’t know each other; getting people to work together that don’t like each other. You work on getting someone to function and operate outside of how they feel about someone and you take them to a professional level on how they have to act on a daily basis and interact with all these people around them.
Q: Where does your leadership wisdom come from?
A: A leader has to be open and willing to listen to learn, and then take what you learn and apply it. I am an observer, there are times when you have to be swift to act, you have to make a judgment call on the spot and stand by it later on, whether it was the right one or the wrong one. Developing the ability to make that call is good, and it is a useful tool to have. What we don’t do enough of here and what we should do more of is develop the ability to observe and takes notes and see things for what’s really going on and not what we first react to. I would say more than anything I am a listener and a thinker and a problem solver. I am very decisive when it comes to choosing what to do.
Q: Who have you learned from, who have been your leadership role models?
A: There were several people that I really looked up to. There were several people I learned a lot from, not because they were great leaders, but because they were not. I saw how people responded to them when they couldn’t see how people responded to them. Mine: He was my cadre platoon sergeant. He was also then my company commander when I was a sophomore and clerk. He was one of the most intuitive and incredibly perceptive and receptive people I’ve ever met at this school. He would listen, he would observe, he would encourage, and he would counsel. He wouldn’t demand and he wouldn’t order, unless it was absolutely necessary. He was a mentor to everyone that he met. I hope that at the end of the day I can look back and say that even though they may not remember my name, may not know what I look like or who I was, they will remember what I taught them, what I did for them and gave them to use for the rest of their life. Because at the end, it is not my name that is my legacy it is my actions and my deeds and how they affected the people around me.
Story by Cadet Maj. Angel Johnson and Cadet Master Sgt. Robert Keener, Regimental Public Affairs