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June Chief's Concerns

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. --
"In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same." -Albert Einstein

Keys to Great Leadership:
The other day a young Airman asked me about leadership.

1. What characteristics does a leader need to be great?
2. Who would you say is a great leader and why?

As I pondered these questions, I thought back about all the articles and discussions outlining the characteristics about what makes a great leader. While all of the traits I considered are fundamental for leadership and for setting a leader apart from the rest, I wanted to give this young Airman what I called "a never before thought of answer". As I reflected upon his question, it came to me that everyone matters and you should treat everyone equally and with authentic caring. Bob Chapman in his book "Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family," wrote about authentic caring. Here was the answer I was searching for to share with this young Airman.

A great leader approaches everyone involved, from the Airmen, NCOs, SNCOs to Officers equally and that everyone matters. When everyone matters, there is humble dignity that emerges within the leader that reveals itself through their smile and eye contact that says, you matter to me and right now, you are the only one in the room as I shake your hand.

While there are many great people that I could have chosen, Sir Richard Branson was the person who I decided to mention. As a world-renowned philanthropist, investor and business leader, Sir Branson excels in 'everyone matters'. He has achieved success beyond success measured in the flourishing of human lives. Sir Branson cherishes everyone, modeled through his sincere connection and cultivates that throughout his organization.

Forbes Magazine listed the "Top Ten Qualities That Make a Great Leader: Honesty, Delegate, Communicate, Confidence, Commitment, Positive Attitude, Creativity, Intuition, Inspire, and Approach". These are fundamental qualities that great leaders should possess. However the perspective is about self and not about the focus on others. If the focus is on the other we would need to add the following: Everyone Matters, Authentic Caring, In Service to Others, and Attentive. Sir Branson has made conscious his service in cherishing the other which has contributed to his ongoing success.

In closing let me encourage you to take this approach where everyone matters and apply it to your work and personal relationships. Cultivating exemplary leadership qualities is a journey and it's never too late to start that journey.