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Leadership by example

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- Warrior's of Team Offutt, I would like to take a few minutes of your time to share a bit of my mantra on leadership; specifically leadership by example. As a recent transplant to Offutt from Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall, England, I have been bombarded with solicitations to participate in several organizations such as the Top 3, 5/6 Network, Air Force Sergeant's Association, as well as attend numerous events like POW/MIA activities, wing sports day and the enlisted dining-out. I'm sure many of you have been flooded with requests to support these organizations and events as well. 

With all the day-to-day work to accomplish, many of us can't help but think; "How will I or my people ever find time to attend all these events?" Simply put ... make time -- its old fashioned leadership by example. Each one of these events contributes to our "whole-person concept" and ultimately adds critical tools to our leadership arsenal. By participating in these events, we reinforce the ideals of professional airmanship, esprit-de-corps and the profession of arms. We must all strive to be active and visible leaders. This is especially critical for our senior non-commissioned officer corps. 

As SNCOs, we must consider the following leadership questions: 

1) Are we setting the proper example by promoting opportunities to honor and celebrate the Air Force and our enlisted heritage? We are role models, whose actions will be emulated, for better or worse. 

2) Is our positioning system set on the correct setting? Airmen will come to us looking for answers and guidance; they will follow our lead whether it is down the path to success or off a cliff. 

3) Are we involved and more importantly, are our Airmen following our lead? We are in positions to make a real difference and our leadership abilities can be greatly enhanced through community involvement, self improvement and participation in unit events. 

4) Are we paving a path to success for our Airmen by promoting professional military education, off-duty education and professional enhancement classes? More importantly, have we accomplished all of our necessary requirements such as our Community College of the Air Force degree and distance learning courses, and have we passed our fitness tests? 

Hopefully, most of us aggressively answer a hearty "yes" to all of these questions as we understand and recognize the value these factors bring to our arsenal of leadership tools and abilities. Airmen go where NCOs go, NCOs go where SNCOs go, etc. Leadership by example is paramount to our success, as well as the success of our great Air Force. 

If you're already doing these things, then you're way ahead of the game. If you're on the fence ... seek out and talk to a SNCO, first sergeant or chief master sergeant. Wherever you stand, remember this; our efforts are always being evaluated by those whom we lead and by those who lead us. We must not be afraid to accept the challenges given to us. Those who understand the importance of serving as a role model - both up and down the chain of command--are preparing themselves for the future. It is this group who will someday lead the rest of the pack. Will you be among them?