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March Chief's Concerns

Portrait of Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Stovall from the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron, March 16, 2013.
(National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

Portrait of Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Stovall from the 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron, March 16, 2013. (National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Edward Snyder/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- Growing up in Mississippi at age 10, my early Saturday morning duties were to clean my room, rake leaves (dig a hole and burn'em), sling blade/push mow the grass, dump the waste, clean the outhouse and garden, and then do whatever else was needed. My grandmother would often applaud my work, however one morning I decided to quit a "little" early to play basketball with my friends. She said, "Boy, you ain't worth a dime!" I then learned the real meaning of 'AF Core Values,' according to my grandma.

As a Chief, expectations are higher. AFI 36-2618 uses terms such as "distinctive" and "finest" to describe qualities all Chiefs should have. Our actions and attitudes should be exemplary and reflect the highest standards at all times, regardless of the final outcome. This does not necessarily mean perfection, but rather a determined goal of excellence that encompasses integrity, honesty, and 100 percent effort.

Before writing this article, I read all of the great "Chiefs Concerns" articles, dating back to January 2012. Some of the subject areas included mobilization, training and professional development. After reading them, three questions came to mind. 1) What mechanisms are in place that inspires confidence and support of SCANG initiatives? 2) Why should members be excited about the SCANG? 3) How is leadership providing an environment that meets the need of its members', in maximizing their potential?

Although these are very tough questions, leadership's involvement is critical because people are inspired when leadership genuinely cares about their issues. This selfless approach is inextricably linked to member loyalty transcendent of rank, title and popular vote. People may not remember all that you say to them, but they never forget how you make them feel.

Everyone's 'Why' may be different, but at a minimum, we should perform our job at the highest level possible, while striving to have a good working relationship with fellow employees. These requirements set the basic foundation and framework for greater mission accomplishment and individual satisfaction. If you agonize over going to work or have disdain toward co-workers, a problem is created. You should sit down with your supervisor and have honest dialogue. However, if the supervisor is the problem, be honest and earnestly try to work through the issues. If that doesn't work, get their supervisor involved. But always first try and work things out at the lowest levels.

McEntire's 'What' is available if you want it. But just like most things in life, it won't be handed to you on a silver platter. You gotta' work for it! Typically there's more work opportunities than there are people. However, when you see the same small group of people making most of the decisions, and doing most of the work, it indicates that somebody isn't pulling their load. If a member wants to truly feel the pride in being a Swamp Fox, they should get involved without excuse and make it happen!

The "How" part can be challenging, but at the end of the day, we as leaders must professionally develop members, and provide meaningful feedback. Traditional Guardsman involvement is the key because a true measure of progress is determined by whether the member can lead or do the required task. This tradition of great leadership is garnered through goodwill, proper planning, training and hard work.

A few suggestions in addressing the above:

· Self-evaluate. Do you attend drill? Have you completed your PME/CCAF? Do you seek additional responsibility? How is your attitude and behavior?

· Get candid feedback from your supervisor.

· Take action! If you are pro-actively involved with one of the following organizations, then you are leading by example and giving yourself, and the SCANG an opportunity to excel. Such groups are Chiefs Council, Top 3, 5/6, Rising 4, NCOAGA, Diversity Council, NGAUS/EANGUS and base activities.

· Read, study, and apply Air Force Core Values and AFI 36-2618.

There's an ole' saying which says, "Nothing worth having comes easy." I encourage all SCANG members to do their best and challenge the theme of this article by getting involved and making a difference!