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Leadership takes dedication

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Marty Anderson
  • 90th Missile Wing command chief
During the NCO professional education seminar held by the 90th Force Support Squadron career advisor's staff, I was asked a question about how to implement leadership from a supervisor's perspective.

It was a great question because we have expectations of our NCOs to exercise leadership. In fact, it is critical to the 90th Missile Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command's mission accomplishment.

My response was in three parts: establish a vision, communicate and motivate others to achieve that vision.

During my opening comments, I asked the NCOs to evaluate their work environment in the following areas: production, technical knowledge, training, morale, camaraderie, teamwork, discipline and professional conduct. Then, I tell them to establish a vision as to how they want their section to run and what kind of working environment would they like to establish.

This is developing a vision.

They now have a starting point and what they would like to see in the near future. This is key to effective leadership, because they have just created a road map with a destination for their scope of responsibility.

The second ingredient is communication.

Effective communication is critical in order for others to understand the goal and how to get there. Most of time, we assume Airmen should know what to do on their own. The problem with that assumption is we all have different viewpoints depending on where we are in the chain of command. The more specific the communication is about describing current status and how to achieve the newly created vision; the more likely Airmen will understand and be able to directly contribute to the vision.

The last ingredient is motivating others to be involved and encouraging them to want to be part of achieving the vision.
This is where the art of leadership becomes an important factor. An NCO must have a mixture of confidence, enthusiasm and management skills to achieve the vision. If a supervisor does not believe in, or has doubts about whether or not something can be attained, this doubt will permeate through the section and Airmen won't believe in the cause.

Enthusiasm is contagious, and if the NCO is excited about the vision, mission or task, then there is a greater chance everyone else will. Management skills are necessary in order to keep things on track and moving toward vision and mission accomplishment.

But, never forget leaders continue to inspire and motivate through recognition or corrective action depending on the performance of their Airmen in working toward that vision.
Anyone can be a leader. If an Airman, NCO, senior NCO, officer or civilian has the ability to conceive goals that improve the mission accomplishment or working environment, effectively communicate their vision while motivating coworkers to help work toward that vision, then that person is a leader!

This is what the Air Force needs in its Airmen in order to be successful. Never allow negativity to slow you down or interfere with the goal.
Remember this: If you can conceive it, and if you believe it, then you can achieve it!