Year of Leadership: Back to Basics
By Brig. Gen. Susan Helms, 45th SW commander
/ Published September 04, 2008
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A few weeks ago, General C. Robert Kehler, commanding general, Air Force Space Command, announced the AFSPC "Year of Leadership" directive. In that memorandum, he announced the Air Force would adapt a monthly focus area and also wrote "I expect leaders at all levels to accept responsibility, take ownership, enforce standards and demand accountability."
Here at the 45th Space Wing, we take that charge very seriously - we always have - and always will.
We all know that "perfection is the standard," because we understand the vital importance our mission plays not only in the Global War on Terror, but also to the safety and security of our nation.
This month's focus is on "Back to Basics and Air Force Heritage."
That's why I am personally calling for all leaders to step up to the plate and take a good healthy swing at this mandate.
As Chief Master Sgt. Todd Small, command chief, Air Force Space Command, says in his Page 3 interview, "Leadership is a fundamental aspect of everything we do whether it was 1947 or now, in 2008."
He is right on the money.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the technological advancements we take for granted in today's society, we forget that "personal" touch. People are still people, whether they are using a high-speed blackberry or a No. 2 pencil to get the job done.
Take the time to educate your junior Airmen about the history, the accomplishments, the heritage, and the mission of the Air Force and the 45th Space Wing. It is hard - some would say impossible - to understand the big picture when they can't see the smaller one.
So that is why it's so important to get back to basics. Teach them. Nurture them. It's a building block mentality, but that's just what we need in today's Air Force, now more than ever.
"Leading from the front" is something I've heard for as long as I've worn a uniform, but it is so much more than a throw away quote. It is the very essence of effective leadership.
Good leaders don't shrink in the face of adversity, they do stand tall when the going gets tough and don't bend to the winds when they have "right" on their side.
And speaking of bending to winds, it looks like we may have to deal with back-to-back-to-back storms over the not-so-distant future. Again, my message remains constant: get prepared now. You've done an incredible job this hurricane season, and I know you'll all continue to be superstars again.
I also want to say "thanks" for a job well done over the 101 Critical Days of Summer. We had a 50 percent incident reduction from last year, and I contribute that to your paying attention to your surroundings, making smart decisions and listening to your leaders.
Be safe. Go Sharks!