The power of influence

  • Published
  • By Suzette M. Betsill
  • 97th Force Support Squadron
As I prepare for my position of leadership as a deputy director of a force support squadron, it has become very clear to me that mentoring is the key to an organization's success. My mentors have shown me that being a mentoring leader and not a dictator builds unity, loyalty and dedication to the mission among your followers. In other words, be a servant leader and treat others as you would want to be treated. Then, and only then, will you have the power of influence.

As I move throughout "Team Altus" I witness firsthand many servant leaders helping their Airmen grow and become the best that they can be. These leaders lead by example, they do what they say, and say what they do.

These leaders also seem to naturally live by core values of integrity, service and excellence. They get involved in daily work where needed and they stay in touch with what's happening throughout their organization. I am fortunate to witness this true mentoring leadership style every day.

However, it was particularly resonant during the 2013 Altus Fourth of July Celebration. Senior leaders were present during the event and were major contributors during teardown and clean up. It was truly amazing to see those in a position of leadership roll up their sleeves and work alongside their Airmen to help expedite getting everyone home.

Another key characteristic I have grown to appreciate in good leaders and added to my own personal leadership tool box is being visible and approachable. When employees see that you genuinely care they will give it their all. I have determined this to be a key ingredient to the mission success at Altus AFB. Even under stressful situations, I see where the power of influence increases and it presents the perfect opportunity to teach skills, share insights, experiences and mentor.

I have also learned this style of leadership does not allow the status quo to set in, but excite feedback so that you as a leader know what is working and what is not.

In my 20-plus years of service, I have attended leadership schools, studied leadership principles and read autobiographies of great leaders. I had one goal in mind during my studies and that was to identify qualities that, if applied, would make me a successful leader. What I learned over the years is that qualities for a successful leader can be quite different, depending on the individual, yet equally successful.

As I continue to study leadership, observe and learn from those in leadership positions around me, especially my mentors, I no longer have that goal. I now understand if you take care of your people, they will take care of the mission and the organization. It starts with being and knowing yourself and your employees in order to influence them to perform and gain results. The mentor leader is vital to being a successful leader.