Maintain a legacy of leadership through actions

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Robert Catron
  • 341st Logistics Readiness Squadron
The terms leader and leadership are often times used to describe someone in a particular role or position of authority.

In the sense, what I am actually referring to is more than just a position or title. I am talking about the kind of person whose actions and words inspire and motivate the people in their presence to excel and do great things. This type of individual is one who exemplifies integrity and service in their words and deeds. Ultimately, it's the kind of person that we must aspire to be as Airmen.

Most people, when asked, can recite to you a list of what they feel are desirable attributes of a good leader. Undoubtedly, among these you will commonly find honest and genuine as words used as descriptors. These are tremendous qualities to have, but a good leader must do more than merely possess these kinds of qualities. They must also display them and hold true to them. More often than not, our actions speak far louder than our words ever can.

No matter where you may reside in the rank structure, chances are that someone may be observing your actions with significant influence on their own actions. The reasons we emulate the actions of another aren't always clear, but it is certain that we mimic and copy those in our environment. All too often, it is the negative actions that are emulated - not necessarily due to the desire to be like the person, but more often because we look to our leadership to establish the boundaries of what is acceptable or what is reasonable. When our actions are constant and consistent with the ideals taught throughout our military careers and we ensure the people within our charge see and understand this, it is then that we begin to set the right example.

It should also be mentioned that inaction can be as detrimental as our actions. When we see people doing things they should not be doing or acting in a manner inappropriate and we do nothing to correct the situation, we are essentially promoting these actions. To project even the slightest bit of tolerance serves only to degrade our credibility as leaders. It is for these reasons that we must accept zero tolerance as the standard, not because a slightly inappropriate joke may be considered harmless, but because to accept even a slight deviation from the standards opens the proverbial floodgates for misconduct. If you can give an inch or a slight deviation from the standards, why not a mile?

We must always lead and act with honor and integrity while ensuring others follow this example. If we practice the ethos of leadership by example, and if we do not give leeway to the standards, those who we lead will follow appropriately and will continue to do so throughout their career. To do this maintains our standards of integrity, excellence and service for the next generation of Airmen.