Commentary

January 25, 2013

Be inspiring: observations about leadership

Capt. ANDREW HOEFFLER
56th Medical Operations Squadron

Many could say that the best leaders they’ve encountered were inspiring individuals. From religious icons to heads of state and military leaders, they all seem to have one common trait — they inspire others.

I have always been a history buff, specifically the history of the middle ages. As such, I belong to a very large international organization that is dedicated to education and recreation of that time period. One concept that is central to behavior within this organization is the notion of chivalry, which, as most know, is the code that knights were sworn to uphold.

Recently, I was part of a discussion about chivalry, when the question was posed, “What makes a person inspiring?” Ironically, I kept reflecting on my military career, recalling supervisors and other leaders in my life who I had observed. The answers that followed were varied, but all had some common themes. As we discussed it further, we were able to narrow the answers to a few simple ones: honesty and integrity, selflessness and exceptional effort.

If these three points seem familiar, it’s because they are also the foundation of our core values in the Air Force. I would like to expand on them from the perspective of chivalry, as I discussed it with my friends, and match it with our core values:

Integrity first: A knight always tells the truth, even if it means his death.

Are you honest in your personal and professional dealings? Do you do what is right, even when no one is looking? Do you do what is right, even if the personal cost is high?

Service before self: A knight always thinks of how his works can benefit others and seeks for the betterment of the whole, rather than his own station. Do you work for the people you supervise, or do they work for you? That is, does the work you do benefit those you supervise? Do you look out for their best interests in their careers and personal lives, or are you more interested in your own advancement? Ultimately, do you work for the good of the mission?
Excellence in all we do: A knight always gives more than what is asked of him. He exceeds others expectations of him in all he does.

In your military role as a leader, do you go beyond the minimum? Do you make the extra effort to excel? Do you seek to continuously improve yourself through education in your job or in general? Do you give your job more than what is asked?

Living a life of chivalry (the core values) doesn’t imply that you have to be a perfect knight (airman, NCO, or officer), just that you always try to do your best at meeting the values of chivalry in all you do. If you do, I guarantee you will be an inspiration to someone in your personal or professional life.




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


 
 

 

Strong followers challenge authority

It’s not surprising that when I tell subordinates to challenge authority, I often get a look of confusion. Admittedly, this is a step used to provoke thought. Obviously, we don’t need subordinates undermining their leader’s authority. My intent is not to create insubordination — it is to underscore the importance of strong followership. Great leaders...
 
 

Travel access, opportunities not to be ignored

Possibly one of the greatest and overlooked gifts we have in the military is our ability to travel. More often than not, we are stationed at bases around the world where we have the access and opportunity to travel and see the local sites. However, it happens way too often that we ignore those opportunities....
 
 

Dollars and Sense

Understanding the benefits of compounding are important. Would you rather take $1 million today, or take one cent today with a payment every day for 30 days, each payment doubling from the previous day’s amount? A wise person would take the penny today, because the compounding impact of doubling the previous amount results in a...
 

 

This Week in History

July 25, 1944: Operation COBRA For several weeks following D-Day, the U.S. Army was mired in Normandy’s hedgerow countryside. Hedgerows were a mix of woods, small farm fields and winding sunken roads that lay between low banks topped with rows of tall thick hedges. The hedgerows gave the German defenders considerable cover and they used...
 
 
labamba

Fly Over: ‘The Princess Bride’ and ‘La Bamba’

On DVD: ‘The Princess Bride’ This 1987 romantic comedy fairytale stars Cary Elwes (Westley/The Man in Black), Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya), Chris Sarandon (Prince Humperdinck), Wallace Shawn (Vizzini), Andre the G...
 
 
Article-photo

Chaplain’s Thoughts

“A chair with just two legs . . . really isn’t much of a chair?” ~Anonymous There are four components of Airman resilience: social (connecting with friends, family and colleagues), mental (honing mental skills and abiliti...
 




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