Know your leadership role

  • Published
  • By Maj. James Beyer
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Command Post chief
An anonymous person once said, "If you find a job that makes you happy, you will never 'work' a day in your life". I think "anonymous" pretty much got it right. We can probably agree doing the things we are good at usually results in happiness. However, the tricky part of putting this idea into practice is actually finding a job that allows us to do those things we are good at and enjoy doing...and that doesn't just happen all on its own.

A few techniques I've heard over the years are to not be afraid to try new things, expand one's horizons, and to jump at opportunities. Of course saying we are going to try something new and actually doing something new are many times two different things.

It's human nature to resist change, even if it means remaining in an unhappy routine or continuing to do something old and inefficient. Many times, the fear of failure is what keeps us from moving forward, especially in the workplace.

There are certainly missions within the Air Force where the risk of failure is too great to experiment with, but in many other cases we need to run with the new ideas, get out there and just go for it. You never know, it may just work.

In addition to opportunities simply presenting themselves, leadership plays a significant role in creating an environment where Airmen have opportunities to do and try new things. The needs of the Air Force definitely come into play here and constrain certain possibilities, but there is almost always a way to create some type of solution. For example, Airmen are interested in improving and standardizing processes, afford them an opportunity to be trained in the tools of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st century; if they are interested in computers, provide an opportunity to create technical solutions; if they enjoy doing taxes, provide an opportunity to participate as a volunteer tax representative; if they want to participate in a professional organization, such as Route 56 or Airmen Against Drunk Driving, remove those roadblocks to provide them the opportunity.

Leadership's role of fostering an environment where Airmen are able to match their desires and skills with opportunities is definitely not easy, but in the end is well worth the effort.

As we continue to create an environment where Airman's desires and requirements are matched well, we as an Air Force will actually 'work' less and be better for it at the same time.