Leadership by example

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- I am privileged to serve with members of the U.S. Air Force, who are dedicated, innovative and live a life of sacrifice.

I’ve met some extraordinary leaders during my military career. The most distinguishing quality possessed by all these extraordinary leaders are their ability to lead by example, or leading from the front. This is essential to great leadership and how we conduct ourselves as human beings.

Most supervisors spend countless hours mentoring and counseling members who fail to meet our standards. To me, this time would be better spent mentoring and vectoring individuals to exceed the standards and accomplish our primary mission to fly, fight and win.

The enlisted force structure, which is found in Air Force Instruction 36-2618, provides great examples of what we, as officers and enlisted Airmen, should emulate. The enlisted force structure states junior enlisted Airmen should meet all deployment requirements, attain and maintain excellent physical conditioning and earn a Community College of the Air Force degree. Non-commissioned officers should, “Clearly meet and strive to exceed the standards and expectations levied upon junior enlisted Airmen, as well as epitomize excellence and lead by example through exhibiting professional behavior, military bearing, respect for authority and the highest standards of dress and appearance, while instilling professional behaviors in subordinates.” These expectations are required for our junior enlisted Airmen and NCOs. As senior leaders we should epitomize and embody these standards as well.

As a leader our primary focus should be doing the right thing every day and epitomize the example we want our Airmen to follow—leading by example. It’s hypocritical when we expect others to achieve or exceed standards we are not emulating.

I challenge you to do your best every day, always set the example and set the bar high. To me, his will make the Air Force more effective and efficient to solidify our primary objective to fly fight and win!