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.


 
 

 

Why I became a victim advocate for fellow Airmen

Editor’s note: Though the author chose to remain anonymous, this is the real story of one Airman’s experience with sexual assault. Be mindful that no two sexual assault stories are the same. If you, or anyone you know, has been or is currently a victim of any sexual crime, contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator...
 
 
suicideprevention

Suicide prevention: What you can do

http://www.airforcemedicine.af.mil/suicideprevention AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) — September 8 through 14 is National Suicide Prevention Week. However, many people are hesitant to get involved in the discussion on the topic...
 
 

Eliminating stigma: Leadership responsibility

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — As a child, a close relative of mine committed suicide. In those days, mental health was only discussed in hushed tones and little support was available. I was shaped by this experience and in my military career, I have tried to create an environment where people feel comfortable discussing their problems and...
 

 

Revisiting, examining four elements of leadership

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Whenever I see a new revision of the Professional Development Guide, I find myself reflecting on an experience I had meeting an awards board almost 20 years ago. I was a young staff sergeant and my flight chief was a panel member. He came up with a question from the 1993...
 
 

Deeds, not words make ‘quiet professionals’

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — As I was preparing for my assumption of command of the 60th Aerial Port Squadron, I was learning as much as I could about the squadron. One thing I immediately looked at was our squadron patch, because I wanted to see the emblem that represents the squadron to the rest of...
 
 
leadership-edit

Leadership Lessons: Do you know our Air Force Heritage?

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — On June 28, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated by a Yugoslav nationalist. One month later on July 28, the Austrian-Hungary Empire declared ...
 




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