Leadership focused on the greater good

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Tanya Anderson
  • 97th Civil Engineer Squadron
As the Air Force experiences increased funding shortages, downsizing, and a push for more efficiency across programs, the need to have great leaders is more pressing than ever. Leaders at all levels must help set the tone, while ensuring follow-on actions are focused on the greater good versus individual personal gains. By seeking to understand the real needs of Airmen and what is truly mission-critical, the appropriate actions can be taken to ensure the best and most benefiting initiatives are pursued.

In these times, great leaders will be those who think and execute with positive beliefs in spite of current conditions. This will require finding efficient solutions to our most challenging problems and capitalizing on creative ideas. Although the uncertainty of situations may require the need to change directions at times, a push towards an achievable goal must always remain.

As we carry out daily operations, leaders must take the necessary steps to manage expectations within their units. There must be a collective understanding that some added effort and initiative may be needed from everyone.

If funding resources are scarce, is there a need that can be met through some type of self-help effort? With lowered levels of service across numerous service contracts, can members find a few minutes to grab the vacuum in an effort to maintain acceptable appearance in the work environment? If obvious trash collects around your facilities, will members spare the time to pick-up items in passing, or will individuals simply walk past, waiting for someone else to put forth the extra effort?

In these times, great leaders will be those who are conscious of their decisions, while also knowing how their actions impact others. The best of leaders during this time will work towards the good of their organization, whether it is ensuring the enforcement of standards or seeking feedback on an objective or project to ensure it is the optimal choice that will maximize use and/or participation. The leaders will be open to feedback, and think fondly of those who tell them what they might not want to hear.

Amazing leaders will understand they are a part of something bigger than themselves, and I have been fortunate enough to witness the results when leaders are invested in the opportunity to inspire others to greatness. Throughout the Air Force, units are overflowing with talent.

Are the great leaders making a difference by ensuring there is support when unexpected, mentoring when needed, and freedom to act through delegation and empowerment?

From the Airman who leads a small task group to those in supervisory and command positions, leadership must be flexible enough to adapt to changing times while doing the right things for the greater good. Today's leadership requires an understanding of strengths and weaknesses and putting plans in motion to fill the gaps to build great teams.

As a leader, are you focused on personal gain, or are you focused on pursuing things that are for the greater good?