Making leadership, success go hand-in-hand for long haul

  • Published
  • By Maj. Rosalyn Walker
  • 341st Services Squadron commander
Colin Powell once said, "Leadership will always require people who are able to organize the efforts of others to accomplish the objectives that flow from the vision." 

Are you using your leadership to set a course of success for others? Just as easy as it is to turn away from the person who is the consistent "problem child," it's equally difficult to identify what you could do to assist them on their road to success. 

Many people tend to think that leadership is innate and by virtue of that, success is inevitable. Allow me to ride the fence on the makings of leadership and say that it can be innate and certainly can and must be developed. It takes those leaders who have the gift of leadership to set their personnel up for success and develop them as leaders. Are you willing to raise others to a higher level than where you currently are? Is your leadership used for the good of the whole or only in part to further your career? 

While enlisted, I had the misfortune of being on the weight management program. I was summoned to my new commander's office to discuss the issue. The first question he asked was, "why are you on the weight management program?" He then followed that with a statement: "You are going to be this squadron's success story." 

At that time I didn't know what he meant, however I later realized that he committed to charting a course for my success. Subsequently, he has pinned on each of my officer ranks to include my initial commission. The true understanding of what he meant came about when he gave me the proverbial "first salute" silver dollar to give away. I wanted to hold on to that silver dollar because it became a sentimental symbol of the mentoring that had taken place. He explained to me that I needed to give the coin away to someone who would earn it and share the story of it with others. 

Are you willing to share your leadership and chart a course for success by investing your time to help someone else? There's the old adage that "no one comes to work to fail" rather people want to succeed and they want to bask in that success and share it with others. Keep in mind that you, too, can set someone up for failure ... good leaders wouldn't even consider doing that. The thing about leadership and success is that when you are actively involved in growing and developing people, handing over the baton becomes something to look forward to instead of a threat of being replaced. 

Be actively involved for the long haul. Remember success doesn't come overnight. I'll share with you what a staff sergeant told me about his ups and downs with mentors in the Air Force: "You can't claim me as your product of success by being a Monday morning quarterback."