Leadership perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Gabriel Wathen
  • 39th Mission Support Group superintendent
"How to be a good leader..."

How many of you have heard that phrase repeatedly throughout your Air Force careers? I continually search out the answer to this question. Leadership style is one of the most debatable topics in many organizations and academic institutions.

Effective leadership is key to any organization's success. Over the decades, there have been numerous reports from diverse institutions, both in the Department of Defense and civilian industries. Each institution provides many definitions and philosophies on leadership style and they all try to analyze which is the most effective.

The good news for leaders is that there are so many different variables that one can choose from their leadership toolbox. If I had to choose one aspect that is most distinguishable between a leader and a non-leader it would be drive. This is the motivation to ensure you are reaching the maximum level of effort everyday no matter how small or complex your task maybe.

As an effective leader, you must strive for high levels of achievement for yourself and your subordinates in an organization. You must be very ambitious about your work and seek the desire to get ahead. No matter what level of leadership you are within your organization, leaders must set tough and challenging goals and ensure you and your subordinate(s) meet these goals.

In the Air Force, leaders must also have an abundant amount of energy; there will be times you have to work intense long hours with minimal downtime. Despite these times, you as the leader must remain alert and continue to display high mental alertness and strength.

As a successful leader, you must also display tenacity. This is having the ability to overcome obstacles and the capacity to work with distant objectives. Leaders should be tirelessly persistent with their goals and follow through to completion. Finally, a true leader must show initiative. Leaders must be proactive! Don't sit by waiting for events to happen around you. Leaders search opportunities and look to provide solutions.

Now you have one more tool for your leadership toolbox. Remember drive is comprised of achievement, ambitiousness, energy, tenacity and being proactive. As the Air Force shrinks its manpower numbers, we need every leader to be effective. So get out there, show drive and lead us to new heights as leaders!