Stay out of rain; see bigger picture

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Supervisors, you build and lead teams to the best of your abilities. You hold an umbrella of protection over your people, but what do you do when one of your members runs into the rain via a bad decision? Do you take your protective umbrella from other members to go cover your solo member? Or do you try to guide them back the best you can while still protecting the ones that stayed with you?

As one of my colleagues stated, "You can try the carrot and then the stick, but if they don't come back, you gotta let 'em go." It's not an easy decision to make ... ever. It follows the 20/80 rule. Twenty percent of the people will take up 80 percent of your time. Is that fair to the other team members who continue to stay within or exceed the standards?

Team members, which one are you? Do you continually run away and put the supervisor in a predicament or cause your peers to be unprotected? Do you come back to the umbrella and solidify the team after a quick trip in the rain? Or are you the one staying within the Air Force standards and helping the supervisor guide somebody back?

I'm not talking about a mistake; I'm talking about a choice. Mistakes happen under the spectrum of the umbrella, but your teammates will pick you back up. When you make an intentional decision to drink and drive, to violate Air Force Instructions, to hurt someone or yourself, you've left the protection. You can follow guidance your supervisor is giving you back to the umbrella, but again ... it's a choice.

Every decision you make impacts everybody around you, good or bad. If you receive a tasker and choose to blow it off, you cause people behind the scenes to adjust their schedules, which shifts other commitments they had, and so on and so forth. It's a domino effect.

Once a member thought it'd be funny to clown around by an aircraft while a distinguished visitor was getting a photo taken. You can bet I heard about that one ... all the way up and all the way down. Do you think that member stopped to think about the time, effort, detriment or consequences that one action would cause before he did it, or the reputation of the unit that resulted?

Don't leave your peers and teammates out in the rain because of one bad decision you make; get back under the umbrella. It's not just about you ... not in our Air Force. We are a team.