Commentary Search

The “X-Factor:” A positive attitude

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Eric Brown
  • 320th Missile Squadron commander
How do you look at your duty day? Or any day for that matter? Recall for a moment your own favorite duty assignment. What captured your admiration for that assignment to the extent that, looking back, you remember it so favorably?

Some will argue, it is merely the mission of the unit making your memory fantastic or dreadful. I would argue, it is the people within the unit, and more importantly their attitude towards the mission, which gives your mind that particular perception.

Unfortunately, one does not have to look too deeply within a unit to find one or a few "glass half-empty" Airmen. A negative attitude is easy to project, and easier to vocalize. Why do we so willingly allow other people's opinions to influence our own? As leaders, from the youngest Airman to the commander of the unit, we need to nip this in the bud because attitude has a circular transmission. In other words, attitude is contagious. This is the case whether you are an operator, maintainer, cop, or medical or support personnel.

As this wing' s project officer for Global Strike Challenge -- our major command's bomber-missile competition -- I see a ton of enthusiasm for the mission from the operators and maintainers who raised their hands and said, "I want to compete! Pick me!" I'm sure I'll see this same approach to the mission from our cops when that team is selected in the coming weeks.

Airmen can be professional, technically smart at their duty, but without a positive attitude -- this "X-Factor" -- they are hindered from reaching their true potential. All the competitors chosen for the Global Strike Challenge have the "X-Factor." You can also see it in the individuals selected as flight commanders, section chiefs and superintendents, among others across the 90th Missile Wing.

Clearly, a positive attitude is more difficult to maintain than a negative one. Convincing ourselves we have it the worst is simple. Every one of us has stress, frustrations, and plain old bad days. It is up to us to help each other manage that stress. Next time, you encounter someone having the proverbial "bad day," instead of enabling their complaints, try taking a lighter mood, a deep breath and make them laugh about it. Far more often than not, the simple gesture of another person taking an interest in how they are feeling will lead to them being more positive, and you just might provide the hand they need to pull out of their slump and into a better day.

The simple act of lending a motivational hand repeated over several days, weeks or months can suddenly create a workplace that is entirely survivable and likely enjoyable. As a bonus, we will have improved our own attitudes as well by knowing we helped someone out. If everyone in your unit provided just one small gesture on occasion, bad moods and poor attitudes would be weeded out and unable to infect other team members.

So, there is the challenge, and not too daunting of one, for all units: Grow professional, proficient Airmen who also have that "X-Factor." Your unit, and the wing, will be better off as a result of your efforts.