Commentary

August 2, 2013

Defiance vs. distress: Digging deeper to help Airmen

Tags:
Senior Master Sgt April Brittain
439th Supply Chain Operations Squadron

The four pillars of Comprehensive Airman Fitness which focuses on a member’s resiliency: mental, spiritual, social and physical.

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. In my four years as a first sergeant, I’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly; however, I would not be effective if I allowed the bad and ugly of the past to overshadow my decisions of today. Instead, those experiences have allowed me to identify questionable decision-making from my fellow leaders relating to defiant Airmen.

From my experience, solid Airmen don’t just wake up one day and decide to quit on the Air Force.

If your top performer demonstrates a pattern of showing up late to work, or not showing up at all, this could indicate the Airman is intentionally being defiant. This type of behavior is not acceptable in today’s Air force and whether the Airman receives an Article 15 for disrespect of a superior or failure to obey an order, Airmen should understand the consequences of their actions.

Before heading down the road of discipline, leaders should stop and ask themselves, is this truly a matter of defiance, or could something bigger be going on that is driving the new behavior? Questions like these fall along the lines of “leadership 101″ and should be practiced at every level of supervision.

Although the resulting behavior may look the same, there is a mile-wide difference between defiance and distress. The reality is that you’ll never know what circumstance an Airman is dealing with without knowing what is driving his or her current decision-making. By setting aside time to dig deeper and discuss the situation, you will be able to understand and correct the behavior.

Our Airmen deserve more than judgmental or disgruntled leaders who jump to conclusions based on false assumptions. More times than not, we have high-quality Service members who find themselves in personal struggles from time-to-time because we are human and life sometimes takes a toll.

The fact remains whether you are a first-line supervisor of the chief master sergeant of the Air Force, your job is to take the time to find the root of the problem. If it turns out to be defiance, by all means, bring on the book. But if it’s something more serious such as stress, depression or even abuse, the correct course of action is to use the many resources available to get the Airman the help he or she needs. Once the individual is in a better place, allow them the opportunity to recover.

My advice to supervisors is if your “shining star” suddenly dims, your mission is to keep them from falling, or catch them if they do. We are all in the business of holding people accountable, but we are also here to help people by building him or her up.

Leadership is hard work, but I encourage everyone who supervises to get out there and lead; there simply is no other option when your Airmen depend on you.




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


 
 

 

News Briefs August 22, 2014

Pediatric flu shots The Immunizations Clinic will be vaccinating the Edwards pediatric community between the ages of 6 and 35 months.†When the adult stock is received, the dates will be released to vaccinate the remaining Tricare beneficiaries. The Immunization Clinic is open 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and noon-4:30 p.m., Wednesdays. The...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Civil Air Patrol recruiting new members

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Leaders of Civil Air Patrol Squadron 84 perform routine uniform checks during a weekly meeting on Edwards Air Force Base. Individuals interested in joining the Civil Air Patrol may attend a...
 
 

Changes to academic degree, developmental education expectations

Air Force officials announced actions designed to set clear expectations, restore Airmen’s time and refocus officer promotions on job performance. The Air Force has addressed long-standing perceptions that to be promoted, officers must complete an advanced academic degree, and those officers selected by a promotion board to attend developmental education in-residence, are expected to firs...
 

 
global-hawk2

Air Combat Command loans Global Hawk to GVCTF

Air Force photograph by Jennifer Romo The 412th Test Wing’s Global Vigilance Combined Test Force received a Global Hawk Block 40 Aug. 6, on loan from Air Combat Command. Tail number 2035, from Grand Forks AFB, N.D., is jo...
 
 
ecig

Danger: Electronic cigarettes can blow more than smoke

According to a 2014 Center for Disease Control report, cigarette smoking in our nation has reportedly been the cause of nearly 480,000 deaths, with more than 41,000 of these deaths caused by secondhand smoke. In an attempt to l...
 
 
ALS

ALS graduates 12 Airmen

Air Force graphic by Mark Wyatt The Edwards Education Center hosted the latest graduating class from Airman Leadership School Aug. 22. Class 14-F saw 12 Airmen take the next step towards more responsibility. Senior Airman Steph...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>