Commentary

June 7, 2013

What do you radiate?

Col. Daniel Smith

I am a believer in the power of positive influence. I buy into such phrases as “your attitude determines your altitude.” I have been the benefactor of being led by those who radiate positive vibes. Not in a heads in the clouds Pollyanna kind of way, but a glass half full … turn lemons into lemonade kind of way. I am driven by leaders that exhibit drive and motivation. Nothing seems to get them down. They find the silver lining and turn the dark clouds into success stories. Not every time, but some of the time — if not much of the time.

I have also had the opportunity to be led by leaders who were less than positive, somewhat cranky, and emanated a rather drab and derogatory air of influence. You can instantly tell the difference between the two.

With one who emanates positive influence and energy, your interactions are usually productive, fulfilling and motivating. You typically walk away from such interactions uplifted, confident and eager to go to work and get the job done. When you stumble or are down, these interactions are instructive and corrective at times, but you feel the support and confidence of this type of leader. You will do your best to accomplish the mission, not only for the sake of the mission, but because you don’t ever want to let this leader down.

By the same token, you could have done a spectacular job, accomplished the mission ahead of the rest, and won several awards, and yet, when you walk away from a boss with negative energy, you can feel depleted, deflated, depressed, angry or as if the very life has been sucked out of you. We have all had interactions with people who can burst a bubble or drain the life out of you in a heartbeat. (See “Dementors” in Harry Potter novels/movies).

During a squadron commander seminar, commanders were told, “You can never have a bad day.” The tone you set as a commander or leader will radiate through your entire domain of stewardship. Not ever having a bad day is a fairly tall order. I understand the concept, not showing you are having a bad day is probably the concept they were getting to. But perhaps it’s something more. Every individual emanates or radiates an influence on those around him. It is one of the beautiful things of being human. I found a quote by a revered leader name David O. McKay which delineates this idea;

 

“There is one responsibility which no man can evade; that responsibility is his personal influence. Man’s unconscious influence is the silent, subtle radiation of personality – the effect of his words and actions on others. This radiation is tremendous. Every moment of life man is changing, to a degree, the life of the whole world. Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other man. He cannot escape for one moment from this radiation of his character, this constant weakening or strengthening of others. Man cannot evade the responsibility by merely saying it is an unconscious influence. Man can select the qualities he would permit to be radiated. He can cultivate sweetness, calmness, trust, generosity, truth, justice, loyalty, nobility and make them vitally active in his character. And by these qualities he will constantly affect the world. This radiation, to which I refer, comes from what a person really is, not from what he pretends to be. Every man by his mere living is radiating either sympathy, sorrow, morbidity, cynicism, or happiness and hope, or any one of a hundred other qualities. Life is a state of radiation and absorption. To exist is to radiate; to exist is to be the recipient of radiation.”

 

Positive radiation, influence, energy, or qi (chee) if you desire, is a contagious, and powerful force in strengthening, and fostering successful relationships. It is only one element or attribute of a leader in the overall picture of leadership talent, techniques and attributes, but the force multiplying effect of positive radiation has a powerful impact for good on the entire family, organization or unit.

So positive radiation comes from two sources; from the central core of whom and what a person really is, and their mental attitude of how they are going to reflect that core in any given situation at any time. I remember during my tenure as an emergency medicine resident pulling into the driveway after a rather taxing, stressful, 36-hour shift of giving my all in the way of life saving, compassion rendering, soul stretching experiences, and I was about to pass the threshold into the sphere of influence where I have a powerful impact as a father and husband. I had tried to develop the habit of taking a minute to mentally decompress, to leave everything outside before I entered the home and into another arena where leadership, compassion and kindness were likely to be needed and absorbed. Although difficult, I was grateful for that exercise which helped develop an awareness of the importance of radiating a positive, good influence to the members of my household. I wasn’t perfect at it, (to which my family can surely attest), but I became very aware of its importance which helped me keep the influence I was radiating squarely on my radar.

In John C. Maxwell’s “Learning the 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader,” he quotes psychologist William James who says, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitude of mind.” So positive radiation doesn’t only exist in the heart, but also in the mind.

Over time, a leader’s influence will start to be reflected in the composite attitude of those in their sphere of influence. I think this is why it was stressed to us that “you can never have a bad day.” In the realm of mission, leadership and community, the influence we radiate plays a larger role than one may realize. It says what you’re not saying. It is perceived and absorbed with or without your intention. Your personal radiation or influence is undertone to all you do, say, are, accomplish, lead and direct. How is your leadership radiating?




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


 
 

 
Samuel Price

RMO, stakeholders keep eye on sky

Samuel Price The road used to get onto the Barry M. Goldwater Range lies beneath the running water July 9, 2014, that resulted from monsoon rains. With data from the additional recently installed weather stations, personnel wil...
 
 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 

 

Air Force OSI agents prevent online exploitation of children

QUANTICO, Va. — Child sex crimes are not unique to any particular base but are a perpetual problem across the Air Force and society. Online exploitation of children continues to be a problem and is routinely investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. As part of this effort, AFOSI field units have partnered...
 
 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

MDG appointment line upgrade Patients calling the 56th Medical Group at 623-856-2273 Wednesday afternoon to schedule an appointment may reach a busy signal and may have to call back if all booking agents are on the line with other callers. The queue function allowing patients to wait on hold for the next available booking agent...
 
 

Airmen get T-bolts to give blood, win award

Tech. Sgt. Alisa Frisch, 56th Medical Group unit training manager, and Capt. Sharlott Uriarte, 56th Medical Support Squadron, were among the top 3 percent of award-winning blood drive coordinators recently honored by United Blood Services, earning a Hero Award for providing the largest impact on the blood supply. Of the 1,080 organizations that sponsored blood...
 




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