/ IT Leadership

Leadership Style: Another AFROTC Lesson

A leader makes sure that everyone on their team understands what "the mission" is and how every individual has a critical role in accomplishing that mission.

When I was on active duty I was assigned to Altus AFB. The command's mission was to train C-5 and C-141 aircrews. One thing I heard over and over again, starting in basic training, was "In the real Air Force it's not like this...", or something similar.

One day in ROTC someone asked "In the real Air Force will we have to..." and before the cadet could finish the statement the instructor interuppted her and said "This is the real Air Force!"

He explained "I am a Captain, a member of the 75th Detachment of the Air Training Command. You are cadets in the the same detachment. Our mission is to develop high quality leaders. It doesn't get any more real than that. No part of the Air Force is more real than any other part. Everyone is responsible to ensure the success of whatever their mission is. The Air Force is counting on every airman, in every part of the world, no matter their rank, to succeed."

That blew me away and to this day I remember it like it was yesterday.

As a leader I make sure that everyone on my team understands that they are a critical part of something bigger and that people across the organization are counting on them as an individual and as part of a larger team to succeed. Sometimes it's hard for the person tasked with swapping out a keyboard to see themselves as integral to the success of the company, but how long will that engineer, or financial analyst, be able to function without that keyboard?