Commentary

August 24, 2012

What kind of leader are you?

by Master Sgt. CAMERON JOHNSON
56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron

What type of leader are you? Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the question, “What type of leader am I?”

If so, how would you answer? Would you say you’re a team leader, a motivator or a person who inspires?

Better yet, if your Airmen were asked what kind of leader you were, what would they say? Would they say you are someone they would like to emulate? Or, would they say you are an example of a poor leader?

Whether you realize it or not, you are influencing your Airmen. You’re modeling either positive or negative leadership attributes. In turn, your people will either feed from or imitate those attributes as they become leaders and supervisors. Therefore based on your example, you will have a positive or negative impact on them, their career and the Air Force.

The majority of individuals who have progressed through levels of professional military education have all echoed the same words from time to time, “When I am in that position, I will be different, I will make things better.” If you are in the position to improve things now, are you? If not, why? It is no secret that the Air Force is getting smaller, so every bit of human resource is becoming more and more valuable.

Never has there been a time when good leadership has been more of a necessity. Therefore, it’s time to rise up from just meeting the status quo and reacquaint ourselves with our core doctrine, the Core Values and AFI 36-2618, the Enlisted Force Structure, otherwise known as the little brown book. We need to use these foundational pillars as our leadership guide on how we conduct ourselves day-in and day-out.

Remember integrity first in its basic essence means doing what is right when no one is watching. Guess what, our people are always watching our actions, so be above reproach in all you do, watch your behavior, be cognizant of your actions and the words you speak. Moreover, don’t give anyone a reason to question your integrity.

Additionally, know that service before self means staying later than your shift, especially if there is work to be done or you’re behind on additional duties. Remember, you are in the profession of arms, not a fast food chain or a 9-to-5 job. Therefore, your level of dedication to your section, flight, squadron and group should reflect that.

Furthermore, recognize that excellence in all we do encompasses everything from how we conduct ourselves off-duty to how well we perform our jobs. We should be excellent in our physical fitness, as well as upholding and promoting our unit physical training programs. We should look excellent in our uniforms and the way we professionally develop ourselves and our people.

Not only is it vital to embrace the Core Values, but we also need to remember the contents in the little brown book. This book breaks down by rank our responsibilities as leaders. With that said, it is important that we refamiliarize ourselves with the contents of this publication and apply the material to how we conduct ourselves as leaders.

In closing, I implore you to answer this question — Are you the type of leader that portrays the “Do as I say and not as I do” persona? Or are you a leader that sets the right example for your Airmen? Better yet, I challenge you to be the supervisor/leader that you always wanted to have, but never had.




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