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August Chief's Perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. William Hightower, Jr.
  • 169th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron

Perspective on Expectations and Respect

As a newly promoted drill status guardsman chief master sergeant, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my mentors and those who helped me achieve this goal since joining the USAF in 1989. McEntire JNGB is truly a part of my extended family and I thank everyone for this extraordinary opportunity.

I have learned quite a bit about the importance of having high expectations and respect during my 51 years on this planet. In 2003, at age 33, I was tapped to become a plant manager for my civilian job. From that experience, my experience in the USAF, and my time here at McEntire, I learned how much high expectations matter.

However, just having high expectations is not enough. One has to be willing to provide support and positivity, as well as provide helpful feedback to increase productivity. Having high expectations for those around you sends an important message. It lets members know that you believe in them and that you trust them with assigned tasks. In return, those who understand that you respect them enough to believe in them and support them will show you the same respect and trust. Once this mutual relationship of trust and support develops, it leads to higher productivity. Charles Kettering, the inventor of the electric starter and head of research for GM from 1921-1947, stated, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.”  This is a truth that I have experienced multiple times throughout my life.

I used these strategies when I managed the plant and I continue to use them daily. I also live by the rule that I will never ask someone to do something that I am unwilling to do myself. I have seen the results of putting my trust in those around me, supporting them when they need it and leading by example. And it has been eye-opening. The relationships that I have developed are those of mutual respect, trust and support. We are all imperfect humans and we all make mistakes. Supporting those who make mistakes, demonstrating how to own up to them, giving feedback on how to rectify them and finding solutions are also a part of having high expectations and developing mutual respect.

I have also come to understand that having high expectations for others means that I have high expectations for myself. My life story is all about having high expectations for myself. I have overcome many difficult obstacles in my life due to my expectations and the respect I show others. I have always been determined to succeed then find a way to do it; however, I have never done it on my own.

I only hope that I have instilled the same beliefs of respect and high expectations in my sons, colleagues, and extended Swamp Fox family, who look to me to lead.