Commentary

February 7, 2014

Leadership in changes, challenges — it’s what we do

Lt. Col. PATRICK LAUNEY
56th Logistics Readiness Squadron

Changes and challenges have always been a part of military service. It has confronted Airmen from the beginning evolution of flight to today’s operational environment, ranging from near-peer adversaries to unconventional nonstate groups. History can recount Billy Mitchell’s multiple efforts through the 1920s advocating for an increased role of airpower and a separate service, challenging the status quo to change. The attacks of Pearl Harbor or Sept., 11, 2001, are obvious examples, challenging our notion of security and readiness. Look at the multiple ways airpower has provided kinetic and nonkinetic effects across the spectrum of operations in the last 15 or so years, regardless of environment or threat. Pause for a moment and think about your functional area and how much things have changed just in your career.

As Airmen, when you truly think about your daily duties, you are operating in a context of constant change and challenge. The key is you must confront it and then inform, motivate and lead others through it.

I remember multiple times as a convoy commander having to roll out on a mission even when an improvised explosive device had gone off on a previous route or that day in another part of the battle-space with someone injured or killed. It was obviously very difficult to motivate Airmen and Soldiers in those circumstances as so many emotions run through your mind such as teammates’ safety, your safety, sadness, empathy, frustration and anger.

However, as a leader you either rise to the occasion or you wilt and your people will follow your lead, whether it is to confront the challenge or not. You have to compartmentalize the issue, focus on your task, realizing a lot of others are going to follow you, and lead them through the situation. We clearly face challenging times from every angle today, fiscal woes, manning reductions, changes in global posture and constantly revised adversarial tactics and efforts. We must look at them as opportunities to rise and lead, because our fellow Airmen and every U.S. citizen are relying on that.

Change, challenge and crisis will always be there, and just like anything else in life, it is an opportunity. Ten percent of it is what the problem is and 90 percent is what you do with it. We will face some difficult discussions with some of our Airmen in the next few months with the impending force management reductions. We may even see some talented Airmen separated despite multiple years of dedicated service.

Even with difficulty, a leader must rise to the occasion and face the challenge together with his or her people. The only constant is that we will see more change and crisis.




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>