Commentary

November 30, 2012

This is how we do

Tags:
Chief Master Sgt. Michael Warner
Command Chief, Air Force Materiel Command


The other night I was driving home from work listening to the radio. A commercial came on for Mountain Dew and Jason Aldean, a popular country singer, said, “This is how I Dew” – then went on to explain his life philosophy.

Later I saw a commercial with another music star that was advertising for Mountain Dew. He also said, “This is how I Dew” and explained his philosophy. That “how I Dew” tagline prompted me to think about what we do as NCOs. In essence, “this is how we ‘do’.”

This is how we do: the mission. As Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III said, “No one will care how well you take care of your people if we lose the next war.” NCOs understand the priorities of the Air Force, our command, our center, our wing and our squadron. We know how important it is to educate our Airmen on the mission so they know what they are driving toward and how their actions are instrumental in getting that mission done.

This is how we do: values. NCOs know, care about and enforce our core values. We embrace, preach and live the guidelines set forth in our Enlisted Force Structure, and we absolutely embrace the responsibility to train our Airmen in their specialty, to be masters at their trade, and to teach them how to be professional Airmen.

This is how we do: priorities. NCOs know what is important. People are important. What is going on in their lives is important. Development of our Airmen is important. Discipline is important. Fitness is important. Honest, direct feedback and honest evaluations are important. Leadership by example is important. Open communication with Airmen is important. Face-to-face interaction is important.

This is how we do: conviction. NCOs know when to stand up for what we believe — standards, discipline, core values, EPR ratings that are earned. When something needs to be said, NCOs say it. When something needs corrected, NCOs correct it. If someone has earned recognition, NCOs make it happen. We cannot just go with the flow, be silent or ignore problems. Because we stand up for what we believe, inaction is not part of our behavior.

This is how we do: leadership. First, NCOs know leadership is hard work. For every one leader, there are 1,000 critics. This does not deter us. Hard work is expected; hard work is given. There is no room for laziness in good, old-fashioned NCO leadership. Being an NCO is tough, but so what — it wouldn’t be as critical to our Air Force, our mission or our Airmen if it weren’t tough. We earned the promotion because our leadership knew we could do it.

Second, once we’ve proven ourselves up to the challenge, NCOs realize that leadership is a gift given by those that follow. Being in charge and being a leader are not the same thing. NCOs know the difference and we know it is us who determines where we stand. NCOs embrace that leadership isn’t a popularity contest — it is about living up to what it means “to serve” and to be called Sergeant. We know Airmen don’t want a soft leader. They want someone who will push them to be the best they can be, to challenge them, to discipline them, to listen to them and to care about them.

Finally, NCOs use digital as a tool, not a leadership method. NCO leadership is all about one-on-one, face-to-face, daily dialogue with our Airmen. Being an NCO means training them and leading them in person, not by absentee means. Just because it is quicker to send an email or make a phone call does not mean it is the best way to lead.

This is how we do: the Wingman Concept. People are our most valuable resource … period. As the saying goes, people will never care how much you know until they know how much you care. Every Airman has a story — why they chose to serve, what they hope to accomplish, what degree they want to earn, where they want to be assigned. NCOs know those stories because we ask, because we care, because it is part of being an NCO. We know where our Airmen live, who they are married to or dating, what their kids’ names are, if their parents are sick. NCOs care about our Airmen and our Airmen know we are there to help. This is part of developing resilient Airmen for our Air Force.

This is how we do: honor. NCOs know being an NCO means something. It isn’t about the pay. It isn’t about the privileges. It isn’t about the amount of time spent in the Air Force. It means something to be a leader of Airmen and to be entrusted with their development. It means something to be called Sergeant or Shirt or Chief. It means something because of all the great NCOs that have come before us and set the stage. We know we have to live up to all of that.

As NCOs, this is how we do!




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


 
 

 

News Briefs July 24, 2014

Webster fall classes Webster University will be running the following classes this upcoming fall terms: FINC 5000 Finance, Aug. 17-Oct. 16, Wednesdays 5:30-9 p.m.; and FINC 5880 Advanced Corporate Finance; Oct. 19-Dec. 19, Wednesdays from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Each term/class will have the same 10 students for both classes. Call 661-258-8501 or visit Webster University at...
 
 
edwards-F35a

Joint Strike Fighter ITF ground testing F-35 gun

Lockheed Martin photograph by Darin Russell An F-35A, tail number AF-2, fires a burst of rounds down range at the Gun Harmonizing Range July 17. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force at Edwards AFB is in the proce...
 
 

The unseen leader

Over the years, I’ve seen many leaders come and go. The ones I admired, I took note of the traits I wished I had, as well as the ones I already possessed. It took me a long time to realize some of my personal and professional weaknesses were the very areas I gravitated toward in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Patric Lovato

Outdoor Rec provides excursions, arsenal for summer activities

Air Force photograph by Patric Lovato Members of the Edwards AFB Outdoor Recreation staff pose with one of ODR’s new paddle boards. ODR offers anything from surfboards and wet suits to mountain bikes and kayaks for your s...
 
 

NASA’S American Eatery (Bldg. 4825)

July 27-30 Lunch Specials 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday Three pieces fried chicken Mashed potatoes and gravy Vegetables Tuesday Pork carnitas Refried beans and Spanish rice Wednesday Pepper steak over white rice Thursday Teriyaki chicken Fried rice and egg roll Friday Bake cod Macaroni and cheese Broccoli All Blue Plate Specials — $7.89 Drink...
 
 

Final rule puts more teeth into Military Lending Act

The Defense Department July 21 closed loopholes to protect U.S. men and women in uniform from predatory lending practices, President Barack Obama said this morning at the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The heightened level of financial and consumer-rights protection against unscrupulous practices, called the final rule of the Military...
 




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>