Commentary

December 7, 2012

Learning to lead comes from observing good, bad styles

One day, one of my Airmen asked me a question, “How do you know how to lead?” My initial thought was to tell him to go watch the movie “Office Space” (one of my favorite movies). However, this simple question really made me think. Let me frame this from my perspective.

I took command of the 56th Contracting Squadron June 18 … almost six months ago. This is my first command and seventh assignment. My prior assignments include instructor, contracting officer, aide-de-camp, industry intern, deputy chief of contracts and executive officer. In only one of those jobs did I have anybody assigned to work for me. So, I’m asking myself, “How do I know how to lead?”

There are thousands of resources available to us to learn about leadership. I’ve read leadership books and have attended leadership seminars. I even went to a school nicknamed “The Leadership Laboratory.” But I realized I learned how to be a leader by observing the people for whom I had worked.

We have all had them … good and bad leaders. I always remember the good leaders for having effective communication, sound judgment and being trustworthy. The interesting thing is we don’t ever talk about the good leaders; we always talk about the bad. Why do you think that is?

Here are the bad leaders that stick out in my mind: the leader who never left his office, the leader who did not know his job and expected me to do it for him and the leader who could not effectively communicate with the squadron. I think we discuss the bad leaders because we had to work that much harder to make up for their shortcomings. In other words, poor leadership caused the unit to suffer.

I did not want to be like the bad leaders. I took good mental notes and learned from those shortcomings. As I took command June 18, I took the experiences from both the good and bad leaders in my career and now lead my squadron.

Going back to my Airman’s question, my response was, “There really is no right way to lead. You can only learn so much in a book or a class. What I have learned is much of leadership is developed by observing those who lead you. You take notes from the good, learn from the bad and apply leadership the best way you know how. You are going to make mistakes, but how you react to those mistakes will define you as a leader.”

I am not claiming to be a leadership expert, but I wanted to share my experience as a first-time commander. Every former commander I have talked to has told me the same thing, “Squadron command is the most rewarding job you will ever have in the Air Force.” I can now humbly say that I agree.




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


 
 

 
DT_JTC0216

Supreme allied commander comes home

Gen. Philip Breedlove, left, NATO supreme allied commander, Europe, visited Luke Air Force Base Sept. 12. Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, right, 56th Fighter Wing commander, briefed the general on Luke’s evolving mission to train F-3...
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

Command post chief averts potential disaster

Senior Airman Grace Lee Capt. George Normandin, 56th Fighter Wing Command Post chief, received the Aviation Safety Well Done Award Sept. 2, presented by Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander. Normandin took control of an F-...
 
 

You are what you eat

“You are what you eat.” This is a generic statement or a notion. It implies that if you eat healthy, you will be healthy. But how true is this in the world today? What we eat, drink, wear, drive and buy is often an attempt to construct a social identity. It lets others know who...
 

 

Knowledge equals power

The phrase “knowledge is power” is said to originate from Sir Francis Bacon in 1597. Personally, I remember learning the phrase from the old television show “School House Rock” theme song. The key idea behind the phrase is the more knowledge you accumulate, the more “power” you will have. Here is a simple breakdown: knowledge...
 
 
Senior Airman
MARCY COPELAND

EOD Airman changed for good by life experiences

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Tech. Sgt. David Gerig’s, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal team chief, first assignment after technical school was Kadena Air Base, Japan. The challenges in life are often w...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

CFC kick-off The 56th Fighter Wing Combined Federal Campaign kick-off charity fair is 9 a.m. Monday in Bldg. 1130 auditorium. Learn about the 2014 campaign ‘Serving Our Country. Supporting Our Community.’ and visit with local charities. For more information, call Maj. Jennifer Preyer-Bonton at 623-856-7144. Hispanic Heritage Month National Hispanic Heritage Month began Monday and...
 




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>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin