Commentary

October 25, 2013

I’ll flip you for it attitude

Tech. Sgt. Brian Bender
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. — “I’ll flip you for it.” 

I’m sure we’ve all heard those words, but I’m willing to bet not many have heard them come from a noncommissioned officer. When I first heard those words nearly 10 years ago as an airman first class, I’ll admit I thought it was funny. A technical sergeant and I were having a discussion about the most efficient way to go about taking inventory of our equipment. My idea involved having everyone pitch in, to include the NCOs. 

As he said, “I’ll flip you for it,” I thought I had a 50/50 chance of winning. Instead of pulling out a coin, the sergeant covered up his rank and then asked that I do the same. Confused, I followed his lead only to catch on the moment he flipped his hand off his rank. As he nodded for me to do the same, he sneered and said, “Looks like I won.”

At that moment, I discovered my new mantra, “Rank doesn’t make right.”

In that NCO’s mind, his rank meant he was always right — especially when it came to Airmen. However, his attitude and disregard for a young Airman and his idea were wrong. 

As I put on my technical sergeant stripe this past April, I recalled that day nearly 10 years ago. I promised myself never to be the type of NCO to dismiss my Airmen so flippantly. 

I remembered how that sergeant would walk around and belittle the Airmen. He made it well known that he had been in the Air Force for 15 years. He had seen and done a lot and should be revered for his experience. I remembered how the other Airmen and I would gripe and complain about that sergeant.

None of us wanted to turn out like him. Whenever he was around, activity in our shop would decrease while feelings of inadequacy and doubt increased.

NCOs lead and develop subordinates. Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, goes into great detail about how we are to carry ourselves in order to promote good order and discipline to get the job done.

In truth, NCOs do have more knowledge in the ways of the Air Force and all its traditions, customs, courtesies and instructions. We should share those with our Airmen. However, we have to be aware that we are a diverse Air Force with people from many different backgrounds, experience and education. To discredit and objectify subordinates to nothing more than their rank hurts not only the Airmen, but the mission and personal credibility as well. 

Society is ever changing in the ways it does business and as an Air Force, we must as well. We cannot rely on old ways of thinking. Airmen today have new ways and ideas that must not be thrown to the side with a careless, “I’ll flip you for it,” attitude.

Believe it or not, we can learn from our subordinates just as much as they can learn from us.




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


 
 

 

Conquer fear, live your dream

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Are you living the dream? Do you wake up with energy each morning or do you need an energy drink to get you going? If you constantly hit the snooze button on your alarm, wake with no energy and low self-esteem, need lots of coffee, soda or energy drinks...
 
 

Leaders: Good, bad, forgotten

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — It’s been my Air Force experience there are three categories of leaders — the good, bad, and the forgotten.Everyone reading this probably thinks they’re in the first category, but we know that’s not the case. Airmen who work for you certainly wish that were true, but not every leader’s...
 
 

Are you ready to transition out of your uniform?

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. — Leaving the military is not as simple as staying home the day after your service commitment is up. Almost 23 years ago, after a summer vacation that lasted less than 48 hours, I showed up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with about 1,000 of my new closest friends. Fast forward...
 

 

Dear Dad: A letter to my father

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — I sat in the very back of the classroom, not paying much attention to the man in blue giving a presentation to my eighth grade civics class. He was saying something about core values, pride and doing something for the community you could be proud of. He told stories...
 
 

Leadership: Is there an app for that?

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea — The world is growing more and more dependent on technology. Even our U.S. Air Force has become automated to improve programs, processes and quality of life for Airmen. We have Facebook, smartphones, BlackBerries, MyMC2 (My Military Communities), Twitter, Facetime, Skype, webpages, Sharepoint, EMS (Evaluation Management System) and many more I...
 
 

Save your back

NELLIS AIR FORCE, Nev. — Ooh if I could only be young again! How many times have you said that due to chronic daily pain? As young individuals we take our bodies for granted, overexerting, twisting, turning, and lifting everything we can to push the limits. But when older age sets in and the wrinkles...
 




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>