MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --
In this month’s Chief’s Perspective I want to talk about leadership. Leadership is the ability to influence and drive change. Change within oneself, change within a workplace, or change in a process. We have the ability to change those around us because that’s what we do. We lead as Wingmen. Being a leader is not something that comes with rank. From the newest Airman to the wing commander, we are all leaders. Our actions impact those around us and we have free will of choice on how we are going to lead every day. If we have a bad attitude, or poor work ethic, we will lead our peers to substandard performance with second and third order effects contributing to workplace issues. However, if we choose to control our attitude, and have good work ethic, we will lead our peers to McEntire’s legacy of Semper Primus.
Recently I went to Chief Master Sgt. Audrey Boatwright’s retirement ceremony. In her closing remarks she left us with a few words of wisdom. One in particular stuck with me. “If service is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you.” This got me thinking. A good leader has to have a desire to serve others, it’s even one of our core values, “Service before Self”. Successful servant leadership starts with a leader’s desire to serve those they lead, which in turn serves and benefits our entire organization. Forbes magazine gives 10 keys to be an affective servant leader:
1. Be a good listener.
Servant leaders always listen to people before they speak their minds. They want to know what their people think and how they feel. To improve your listening skills, it is important that when you talk to people, you give them your undivided attention and notice their tone and body language while speaking.
2. Have empathy.
Servant leaders feel for their people and don't turn a blind eye toward their problems and issues. They try hard to resolve those issues by fulfilling the needs and wants of the general public.
3. Heal those around you.
A servant leader is capable of healing people with a focus on their emotional health and a feeling of completeness. This means the leader needs to make sure that people have access to knowledge and resources that enable them to create a healthy and peaceful working environment.
4. Be aware.
Servant leaders are fully aware of themselves and their people.
5. Persuade without being forceful.
A good leader is capable of convincing people in different ways. Leaders never make use of their authority to make people do something but instead motivate and encourage people to take the desired course of action. A leader is not forceful or bossy.
6. Conceptualize and communicate a vision.
A servant leader can help build a concept for people. This includes the task of creating a vision and mission statement to provide a sense of direction for the entire team.
7. Channel foresight.
A good leader can anticipate future events and how they will impact everyone. The ability to foresee is not a god-gifted talent but rather a skill that is acquired through experience, learning and analysis of past trends. Popular business tools, such as a SWOT analysis and a PEST analysis, can be used to predict the future and make educated forecasts.
8. Practice stewardship.
Stewardship refers to accountability. It is the ability to take responsibility for the actions, behaviors and performances of your team.
Good servant leaders are those whose main focus is the people, and this makes the leader fully committed to their growth and development. To develop people, it is important to analyze their needs and then cater to them accordingly.
10. Build a community.
The leader should be able to walk with and among the people, so that the leader can help them by serving and building a community.
In closing, we are leaders because we share common values, the Air Force Core Values. Thank you for your time, service, and choosing to be a Swamp Fox leader.