Supervisors: Lead by example

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Derick Clark
  • 22nd Maintenance Squadron first sergeant
I can't tell you how much I appreciate the many contributions you make to our country, our Air Force and the 22nd Air Refueling Wing.

Everyone plays a role in making things happen and getting the job done. However, there are key Airmen that we must continue to grow and develop in order to keep our organizations thriving, close-knit and strong: the front line supervisor.

As a front line supervisor, you must understand that you are one of the most important people in an organization. It is you, not leadership, who works closely with our Airmen on a daily basis.

Never forget these Airmen, the backbone of our Air Force, look to you for guidance and direction.

Therefore, you should take every opportunity to lead by example. Being the best at your job, improving your knowledge through education, and getting involved in base and community activities will motivate them to do the same.

As you motivate, you must not forget how important it is to get to know your Airmen.

A few years back and for some unknown reason, we stopped getting involved in our Airmen's lives. Why? Did it appear too intrusive? Did we feel that they would shut us out if we asked too many personal questions?

At a minimum, you should take the time to know the following information about your Airmen:

· Where they live.
· Spouses and children's first names and approximate ages.
· Home of record or where they call home.
· Hobbies.
· Short and long term goals.
· What motivates them.
· The last time they took leave for at least a week.
· Financial situation.
· Educational background.
· Upgrade training status.
· PME status.
· What type of establishments they frequent.

This list only scratches the surface of what a supervisor should know.

In addition to knowing your Airmen, senior leadership has asked us to go back to basics.

What should back to basics mean to a front line supervisor? When I enlisted in 1983, back to basics meant being responsible for your actions, holding others accountable, taking care of each other on and off duty and enforcing standards across the board. The list goes on and on.

Bottom line, back to basics for supervisors should focus on being a responsible, dependable Airman for our Air Force and Country and expecting nothing less from your subordinates.

If you're reading this as a front line supervisor, I hope you have found this useful.

If you're not a front line supervisor, what I've said certainly applies as you will either be a front line supervisor soon.

Our front line supervisors are the key to our success as an Air Force, therefore it is incumbent upon them, and those who supervise them, to take their responsibilities seriously and ensure they continue to be the cornerstone of our Air Force through leading by example, knowing their Airmen and getting back to basics.