The gift of leadership

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. PERCEL CRUDUP
  • 56th Medical Operations Squadron
Gen. Mark Welsh III may have said it best, "Leadership is a gift. It's given by those who follow. You have to be worthy of it."

As the people of this nation give their children up to serve in the armed forces we as leaders need to be ready to lead them as they are the future leaders that will lead our grandchildren. This is especially true for training bases like Luke Air Force Base. This goes for our enlisted as well as our junior officers.

In the profession of arms, we need to make decisions that are not always easy and will not make everyone happy. As leaders we must be ready and willing to make these decisions for the success of the mission and the team. It is important to remember, all of the people who are a part of our team are important to the success of the mission. The Airmen and officers that are joining team Luke these days have extensive education and knowledge that we as leaders must recognize and tap into. Airmen that I supervise can do things with their phones and computers I didn't even know was possible, instead of telling them to get off the phone, I ask what they are doing and if they could share that knowledge with me. Leading doesn't have to be a rank or age thing.

As we are given the gift of leadership we must keep in mind that this is a gift that should keep on giving. Sharing our knowledge and experiences with our Airmen is a force multiplier that makes the team stronger. Keeping information to ourselves, not mentoring our Airmen and not leading by example is detrimental to the team and mission.

This is especially important with our NCOs as they are the key link between senior leadership and our junior members. How many times have we seen a senior leader walk into a room and an Airman not stand up? When this happens how many times has that Airman been corrected by an NCO that is sitting right next to that Airman? This is only a small example, but if we as leaders do not correct that small issue, what other issues are we not correcting or addressing?

As Leaders we need to dedicate ourselves to be ready to lead and pay attention to detail. It is easy to overlook small details in day-to-day activities that seem to not make a difference. It is imperative to realize it only takes one time for a small overlooked detail that did not seem important cause a mission to fail or someone to lose their life. This can be seen all over the Air Force, as medics overlook a dose of medication. For many it can have minimal impact but if that wrong dose is given to a child they can die, if that wrong dose is given to a pilot it can impair his flying ability. As a firefighter, not checking an oxygen tank pressure can lead to that member dying. The examples are limitless in our profession so remember to pay attention to the small stuff.

As general Welsh said, "Good leadership can engender belief and dedication that lives on for years." I am sure we all remember that supervisor we thought was the worst ever, as well as the one we wanted to be like when we were finally in the position to lead. Keep that in mind as you put on your uniform each morning, don't be the leader remembered as the worst ever.

As the Airman's creed says, "I will never leave an Airman behind, I will never falter and I will not fail." This starts with good leadership, so if you are not leading, then you have failed. So embrace the gift that those who follow have given you and pay if forward.