Commentary

January 10, 2013

Be the leader you deserve

Commentary by Maj. Dale Williquette
22nd Maintenance Operations Squadron

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFNS) — We all know that the New Year brings resolutions that typically revolve around better health and fitness, paying off debt or competing educational goals.

What about making a resolution to be a better leader?

Vince Lombardi said, “Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity – having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it. His leadership is then based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and will power in the character.”

Leadership is a key skill in almost any organization, but it is a must in the military. Key aspects of leadership include setting a good example, followed closely by setting and then enforcing standards. We all know these tenets from professional military education and mentorship that we receive from those we work with daily. There are two additional aspects of leadership that we should look at more closely if we want to be truly successful leaders.

The first is leading by being the leader you wish you had. We all know of good and bad examples of leadership. We have all worked for bad leaders and said to ourselves, “If I ever get a chance to lead, I’ll never do what he/she just did.”

We have also worked for outstanding leaders who we would attempt to emulate given the chance to lead. In my experience the best leaders were the ones who led as the leaders they wished they had. I know that sentence is a mouthful, but think about it. Would anyone want to be a bad leader for themselves? It is a leadership application of “do unto others as you would do unto yourself.” This doesn’t mean that you should cancel all standards and let people do whatever they want. It means that you should hold yourself to the same standard that you hold all of your folks to and treat them the way you would like a leader to treat you.

The second is followership. You’re asking yourself, “What does followership have to do with leadership?” The answer is quite simple. The only individual in our military chain of command who does not work for a superior is the President of the United States. The rest of us are followers in some way. Those who you lead pay attention to how you follow your leaders. They will emulate your followership, therefore in order to be a good leader you must also be a good follower. In order to be a good follower I recommend you take the advice of the previous paragraph and be the follower you wish you had. Once again we have all had good followers and bad followers. As leaders we can learn from our followers if we just pay attention. If you are as good a follower as you wish you had, then your leadership will be happy as long as you maintain those standards we talked about earlier.

The ultimate goal of all leaders should be to grow their replacements. Our purpose should be to train our followers to be at least as good a leader, preferably a better leader, than we are now. By setting good examples of being the leader/follower we wish we had we can grow the next generation of Air Force leaders to improve upon our successes and continue the process of increasingly superior leadership. It is up to us to do it right.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Courtesy photo

Extraordinary effort regardless of outcome

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Imagine a 5-year-old boy chasing grasshoppers at a camp site. He wanders too far. Darkness falls, and he is lost. A storm is brewing in the sky above, and the camping party turns into...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski

D-M conducts Meet and Greet at local high school

TUCSON, Ariz. — A community event was held at Rincon High School Wednesday. The Meet and Greet event allowed members of the Tucson community to interact with their neighboring Airmen and learn about the mission of Davis...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan

Tuskegee Airman takes final flight at Academy

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFNS) — (This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series. These stories focus on individual Airmen, highlighting their Air Force story.) Franklin Macon’s f...
 

 
DoD
Courtesy photo by Tim Brumbeloe

‘I Will Wait’ Tells Stories of Generations of Military Spouses

WASHINGTON — America sends its sons and daughters to war, and a new play titled “I Will Wait” looks at the effect of these deployments across the generations. The brainchild of Amy Uptgraft, the play connects the experien...
 
 
U.S. Air Force graphic/ Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane

F-22 inaugural deployment to Europe

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany  — Four F-22 Raptors, one C-17 Globemaster III, and approximately 60 Airmen arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to train with allied air forces and U.S. services through mid-Septembe...
 
 
CAP_pict

Civil Air Patrol joins total force ‘Airmen’

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — When conducting missions for the Air Force as the official Air Force auxiliary, the Civil Air Patrol is now included in the Air Force’s definition of the total force. CAP has provided 74 years of sup...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>