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Pat Flanders

CIO, Defense Health Agency

CIO, Defense Health Agency

Being kind — and taking time to listen to the people who work for you — is an important leadership trait, said DHA’s Chief Information Officer Pat Flanders. “’Because I said so’ is a terrible leadership style. It’s important to take the time to understand what the people supporting you are trying to convey and … what the logic is with regard to their recommendations. There is so much diversity in personality, leadership style, culture, and experience in the workforce that if you can just tap into all that by being kind and making time at the individual level — what a game-changer. One of the ways I do this is to give a lot of very short time periods to a lot of people” rather than having longer meetings with fewer people. His overarching strategy when it comes to IT is to teach people to become “cost warriors.” They need to “understand their financials, contracts, what we pay, and what we get for that money. That is a hard thing to do in the federal government as we are, for the most part, not incentivized to do that like the commercial world is,” he said.

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