Commentary

October 12, 2012

Are you a great teammate?

Accountability is the cornerstone of any organization. Accountability equals trust and each member of an organization or team must be able to trust that their teammate is accountable and will always execute the mission at the same high standard. The standard is excellence and as Airmen we should accept nothing less, but we often do.

However, when it comes to our public officials we will not accept a lack of accountability. A misstep, an inappropriate tweet, a few misplaced or ill-timed words and pundits across the nation begin calling for resignations.

We also do not accept a lack of accountability from our favorite professional athletes or teams. We take to the airways, twitter and Facebook to provide detailed advice on how a team can run, pass, catch or throw better. We will pontificate endlessly about a loss of integrity for the game and that play is sub-standard. However, when it comes to enforcing uniform standards, technical orders, protocols, etc., Airmen are conflicted and debate internally whether they should address their teammate or look the other way. Each time we elect to look the other way we establish a new standard for our teammates and ourselves, we erode the Air Force culture and champion the antithesis of our core values.

The Air Force is a highly functional team equal to those celebrated on Sunday afternoons. Yet I hear all too often from teammates, NCOs, company-grade and field-grade officers a reluctance to enforce standards because they are unsure if their decision will stand up against the scrutiny of a growing sub-culture that includes a “me vs. us” attitude, arrogance and narrow focus.

Are we allowing the organization to tout that we are the best with the full knowledge that there are few consequences for those who do not perform to standard or inhibit positive team work?

As leaders it is our responsibility to enforce standards and chart a path for success for our organizations. Part of that success is enforcing a culture of individual responsibility and accountability. If the sub-culture has taken over, there will be an uphill battle.

Peter Drucker, renowned author and management consultant noted, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” He is right. If you do not understand and shape the culture of the organization your strategy and mission will fail. Culture, mission and strategy must all align to have success.

A few months ago I had the opportunity to travel back to Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, to witness a basic military training graduation. I watched Airmen, having been newly indoctrinated into the Air Force culture filled with a huge sense of pride and accomplishment as they congratulated each other for a job well done. They had arrived as individuals but were leaving as members of a highly functional team dedicated to the mission and the core values.

We are all leaders, charged with maintaining the integrity of this team. Do not allow the few who choose self before service to distract us from our sense of purpose, focus on the mission and desire to achieve unprecedented results. Raise the standard around you and refuse to settle for anything less than excellence. Accountability is the cornerstone of our organization. Are you a great teammate?




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


 
 

 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

No man is an island Have you heard these words before? Maybe spoken them about yourself or another individual? Possibly you have read the John Donne prose found in Meditation 17, “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,” or you’ve heard the song “No Man is an Island” by the band Tenth Avenue North. Perhaps you have tried...
 

 
entire_workbook

Fly Over: ‘Paddington’ and ‘Financial Peace University’

On DVD: ‘Paddington’ I have a confession to make — I do not have any children. There, I’ve said it. And yet, I have seen my fair share of family movies, from Disney and Pixar to classics like, “The Princess Bride.” ...
 
 
smith_d2

To do or to be? – A very good question

Col. Daniel Smith I am a huge fan of the Air Force core values. For a long time, I have felt that whatever board or individual developed the values got them absolutely right. In fact, every Airman, young or … seasoned, who co...
 
 
Top-3-Council

Airman — The Air Force asset

The most important asset to the Air Force is the Airman. Regardless of rank, Air Force specialty code, position, gender, age and experience, each of us still needs guidance, validation, and most of all, honesty. So how do you t...
 




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>