We are all very busy these days. Our force is shrinking but our mission stays the same. I often hear people complain that they just do not have enough time. Two things leaders at all levels need to make time for are our Airmen and junior NCOs.
Leaders are often stretched so thin that they neglect to ensure Airmen uphold the standards. They let the little things like proper wear of the uniform slide and use the excuse that they are too overworked to justify not taking the proper time to guide Airmen to do the right thing.
Leaders often issue quick verbal counseling when it is more appropriate to write a Letter of Counseling. If leaders do not take time to help mentor young Airmen in the beginning, they end up spending an enormous amount of time later dealing with extensive disciplinary issues. Those disciplinary issues often affect the entire unit and cause Airmen, who are doing the right thing, to work harder to accomplish the mission.
Sometimes leaders also fail to spend time to guide NCOs through supervisory challenges. They must make time to teach NCOs how to be successful and to effectively groom Airmen for success. If leaders take time out of their busy schedules to give NCOs advice and support, they will then be able to better care for their Airmen. If Airmen are better taken care of, leaders will have more time to focus on completing the mission.
I am not foolish enough to believe the above theory will always be successful. There are Airmen in the Air Force that are unwilling to help themselves. No matter how hard their leaders try, they lack motivation. But, leaders have an obligation to maintain standards, hold people accountable and provide Airmen the tools and resources to ensure mission effectiveness and accomplishment, regardless of how busy they may be. This will ensure that they can continue to make time for what is important — Airmen.