Year of Leadership: Self-discipline serves important role in developing leadership

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jack Corcino
  • 341st Security Support Squadron
George Washington wrote "Nothing is more harmful to the service than the neglect of discipline; for discipline, more than numbers, gives one superiority over another." It does not take long for an outsider to determine if discipline exists in an organization. One way is to observe the behavior of the personnel as well as their appearance. Do they use the proper customs and courtesies? Do they meet dress and grooming standards? Another area an outsider can look at is how effectively the organization accomplishes its mission. At Malmstrom, we have a nuclear mission and according to CMSgt Todd Small, Air Force Space Command Command Chief, "...we are stewards of the nuclear resource where perfection is the only acceptable standard." 

To instill discipline in an organization, the person in charge must first lead by example. Former President Harry S. Truman stated, "In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first." It is then that the leader can enforce standards and hold personnel accountable. Every organization has particular venues to enforce standards, whether it's pre-departure briefings, pre-flight briefings or standardization evaluations. In Security Forces, guardmounts are held prior to starting a shift so flight leadership can conduct roll-call, uniform and equipment inspection, and brief safety and lessons learned from the previous shift. Remount is another way in which Security Forces enforces standards. This is a meeting immediately following a shift or tour to discuss an infraction that occurred and emphasize the proper procedure. Needless to say, checklists are also an effective way to enforce standards. However, simply reminding a fellow airman to remove his/her hat inside is important as well. 

When a person fails to meet a standard, it is important that they are corrected in a fair and timely manner. Colin Powell feels that "adequate discipline allows a rule-violator to identify what would be right. Punishment should fit the violation so that the violator holds respect toward you rather than anger. " 

So as we enter the Year of Leadership, ensure discipline is exercised at every level.