Don't act under frustration

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Mathew A. Contreras
  • 40th Helicopter Squadron commander
Genghis Khan, at one time, ruled vast lands and was one of the greatest warlords of Asia. One of his best friends and companions was a hawk; the two were almost inseparable.

After a long day of hunting in an unfamiliar area, he was parched and in search of water to quench his thirst. He searched high and low for a water source and finally found some water trickling down from a high rocky ledge. His faithful hawk was soaring above his vicinity overlooking the master.  he finally was able to fill his cup after several minutes, and just before he could draw his first sip, the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup out of his hands. He was exasperated, but he picked up the cup to redraw water. After another few minutes, he had a full cup and just as he went to draw another drink the hawk again knocked the cup out of his hands. This time he cursed his companion and he drew another cup knowing that he would not let the hawk deny him a third time to replenish vital fluids. Just before he was to draw a sip, the hawk again began to swoop down to deny him, but this time he drew his dagger and stabbed the bird while dropping his cup a third time. He was frustrated, and he cursed the bird again.

Despite waiting for the water into trickle to his cup a fourth time, he climbed the rock face to draw from the source. Upon arriving at the source, he found a lethal and deadly poisonous snake defiling the water source of its purity. He could only think to himself, what have I done? I killed my best friend who was only trying to save my life...

The moral of the story is simple and too often forgotten in the busy days members of the 341st Missile Wing live day in-and day-out. It is easy in leadership positions to be filled with frustration when subordinates at times attempt to serve with not only their best intentions for leadership's intent, but also to the best of their ability. At times, units may perform at levels inconsistent with expectations, and when the root cause analysis is performed, lack of resources, personnel or even time work against Air Force members.

The Air Force is shrinking, monetary allocations are dwindling and personnel are drawn down to historical lows. Expansions in mission capabilities without the additional resources will frustrate leadership at every turn. More is expected, more will be required and Airmen will answer the call to the best of their ability. Before the hawk is struck down, ensure a step back is taken to assure the frustration experienced is not a result of the hawk serving to the maximum extent possible and in the best interests of the chain of command.

Information in this article was taken from the following website: