Nearly a year ago, I arrived at Luke Air Force Base to be your command chief. Since then, I’ve spent the majority of my time digging into the biggest challenges for the enlisted corps. Through hundreds of discussions with Airmen of all ranks, I keep hearing the same thing; we want guidance, we want discipline, we want high standards, we want accountability, and most importantly, WE WANT TO BE LED! As your senior enlisted leader, I would tell you we have phenomenal leaders in the 56th Fighter Wing. However, as the wing commander says “we can always do better.” As the conversations with Airmen raise questions in my head, I wonder if we are always providing our subordinates the leadership they want, need and deserve.
The more I think about this, the more I realize that some of us need to get back to the basics of leadership. Don’t get me wrong, as I said, we do have some great leaders among us. However, my concern is that we don’t always spend enough time dedicated to the leadership development of not only ourselves, but of our subordinates. Have we become accustomed to only providing situational leadership during a conflict or issue? Better yet, in some instances, is that situational leadership provided only if it doesn’t affect “my time?” Situational leadership is a great skill to have, but it tends to be reactive rather than proactive in nature. Do we spend too much time reacting to issues involving our subordinates when a little proactive leadership at the front end would have settled the issue before it even occurred? What we actually need is intentional leadership; but this requires time, effort and getting to know those for whom we are responsible.
So how do we get there? Back in late March, I selected a group of senior NCOs to tackle this topic and came up with a plan. I shared my concerns and charged them with developing a program to meet our need as a team. In just a month, they captured my vision into a new wing initiative called “Lightning Leadership.” The nuts and bolts of this program are to provide short, but powerful discussions on leadership. You have my word that these sessions will not be a lecture or briefing environment. These discussions will be led by handpicked facilitators, but the success of these sessions lies in an open dialogue within the group. My goal is to spark (or re-spark) a desire within our enlisted ranks to step out of the shadows and be the leaders we’re not only required to be, but need to be, for the present and future success of our Air Force.
The kickoff for Lightning Leadership runs May 29-31, with two sessions each day. Members of the Airman and NCO tiers will find this program provides an immeasurable opportunity for development. If you want to take that next step as a leader, then you will be at one of these sessions. Senior NCOs, don’t worry – we’ve got a program coming for you, too!
More information about the kickoff will be coming through various advertisement avenues. For questions, contact one of the two scheduling leads: Senior Master Sgt. Angela Langhorne at 6-3609 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or Senior Master Sgt. Myeshia Lee at 6-7406 or by email at email@example.com.