What is leadership in the Air Force?
Leadership is the art, science and ability to motivate, influence, guide, and coach Airmen to accomplish the mission of the Air Force. Anyone of any rank can be a leader. In the book 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell, he discusses not only leading down but also leading sideways and leading up.
Traits of a Great Air Force Leader
Integrity – We have always been taught this means doing the right thing even when nobody is looking but integrity can mean so much more. This also means being able to admit when you mess up and being able to honestly tell others when they made a mistake. Without integrity, others will lose trust and respect.
Loyalty – A leader must have loyalty to superiors, peers, and subordinates. Although this may sometimes feel like the three levels conflict, a great leader does everything with the greater good in mind.
Commitment – The Air Force leader must show complete devotion to duty. Dedication to the United States, the Air Force, and the unit must be demonstrated. Everyone has heard the John F. Kennedy quote “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” We are all here to serve our country.
Energy – This means having the perseverance and stamina to get the job completed. Great leaders stay on course and attack tasks aggressively.
Decisiveness – Decisiveness is the willingness to take action. Leaders must be willing to make timely decisions even when they are tough. Then leaders must take responsibility for their actions whether they made the right or the wrong call.
Selflessness – Leaders must be able to sacrifice personal gains for the greater good. Personal comfort and convenience should not come before the mission and the people. This also means having the courage to face and overcome difficulties, even when it would be easier to do nothing.
The potential to be a great leader is in every one of us. Developing these traits in yourself will allow you to become an effective leader regardless of your rank and continue to make our Air Force better and stronger than it was yesterday.