Professionalism, respect, and attitude

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Dawn B. Brooks
  • Commander, 97th Medical Operations Squadron
As a first-time squadron commander, I was asked very quickly, "What is your philosophy and what are your expectations?" As soon as I was selected command, I was told that I needed to start thinking about this topic so that I could set the pace early in my command.

I thought about this for quite some time, needing to come up with some grand philosophy that sounded very intelligent and cool. After a while, I realized that it was simple, and it was something I had been living by my entire career. I began saying the words out loud several years ago as I developed as a leader and began mentoring junior Air Force members. Who knew it would one day become the basis upon which I lead my squadron today.

One of Webster's definitions for philosophy is "the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group." My most basic beliefs or philosophy, for how to be successful in our Air Force begins and ends with our Air Force Core Values: integrity first, service before self and excellence in all that we do. In addition to those core values I would be remiss if I did not mention that I absolutely put my trust in God day in and day out. I strive to lead and expect my followers to hold steadfast to being a professional at all times. We must respect ourselves and those around us.

Finally, we need to have a positive attitude. I have noticed that these few things can help you gain the respect of your peers, bosses and followers and take you to new heights in your career. Now, I'm always quick to explain that this doesn't mean you must agree with everything and be a "yes man" all the time. You can disagree and challenge issues all the way up your chain of command. However, you must do it professionally, respectfully, with a positive attitude and with good intentions.

"The Power of Positive Thinking" by Remez Sasson states, "A positive mind anticipates happiness, joy, health and a successful outcome of every situation and action. Whatever the mind expects, it finds." I think this also goes along with optimism, which is defined by Webster's Dictionary as "an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome." This type of thinking should certainly increase all of our capabilities of being successful in our Air Force. In concert with positive thinking and optimism, we must believe in others. Believe in the good and seek to find the good in others. Everyone has something to contribute. Help others to find their strengths and maximize in them for the improvement of themselves and our Air Force.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Life consists of what a man is thinking about all day." Are you thinking positively and acting professional and respectful in all that you do as you maintain our Air Force core values? I would encourage you to maintain these three attributes of professionalism, respect and a positive attitude. Lead by them and expect others to. I'm certain success will follow.