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December Chief's Perspective

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Thibault from the 169th Maintenance Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, July 12, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder)

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Robert Thibault from the 169th Maintenance Group at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, July 12, 2014. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Leadership Qualities

Back in May, I wrote about the Keys to Great Leadership and as I closed out the article I stated that cultivating exemplary leadership qualities was a journey. Today I would like to continue that journey of cultivating exemplary leadership qualities, so let's look at a few of those qualities in more detail. Leaders must enable others to recognize purpose on two levels - organizationally and personally. "It is a concept the modern leader is wise to adopt - one part courage, one part can-do-spirit, and one part recognition." John Baldoni

Exemplary leadership qualities often start with:
· competence to do their jobs - there often called go-to' people
· credibility to bring people together - people trust them to do the right job at the right time with the right resources
· confidence to believe in themselves as well as the strengths of others - people feel better being around them.

Put these characteristics together and you have the makings of someone who knows himself/herself and knows what it takes to succeed individually and collectively with the team. Often times as I walk around the different duty sections I get asked, Chief how would you handle this situation. I enjoy those teaching moments. Let's talk about engagement, mindfulness and opportunity:
· Engagement - Supervisors and/or leaders don't work in isolation. They work with others in order to bring their ideals, their vision and their aspirations to fruition. To do this, they must engage others. So I often ask how much time you are spending out of the office engaging your Airman and NCO's. You see engagement can be as simple as one-to-one conversations, or it can be with groups, teams or entire organizations. Leaders must instill purpose by linking what it does (its mission) to what it wants to be become (its vision). This will vary depending on your organizations as maintenance will be different than say a support group but it's clearly very important to communicate both the (mission) and (vision) to your Airman and NCO's that work in your areas. You do this through your communications and actions. You will leverage purpose as the "why" of work, that is, why we do what we do.
· Mindfulness - It's an approach to leadership in which the leader/supervisor is focused not only on the moment, but also on the people in that moment who will affect the future of the organization. Mindful leaders are engaged and their engagements sets the example for other to follow. Mindfulness originates from within, the practice of it puts the individual - in particular the leader - conscious of what is happening in the here and now, as well as helping to focus on what may come in the future.
· Opportunity - As the adage goes it comes to those who seek it and that is critical for a leader/supervisor. Good leaders look for opportunities where they can apply what they know (those teaching moments) and can do what needs to be done. You need to be opportunistic in mindset, leaders are driven by their need to succeed to take advantage of what happens next. You need to be pro-active in developing your Airman and NCO's. Opportunity also requires perseverance, tenacity, and a mindset that is focused on achieving goals.

In closing, let me encourage you (leader/supervisor) get out and engage your young Airman, and NCO's be mindful of your surroundings and take every opportunity to share your knowledge in mentoring the next generation of leaders and supervisors.