Chief’s Corner – week of May 14
By Chief Master Sgt. John F. Bentivegna, 50th Space Wing Command Chief
/ Published May 11, 2015
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Invest, empower, inspire
These are the leadership themes I spoke about during last week's Airmen Leadership School graduation and I wanted to share them here.
Most people think of money when you say that word...profits and financial gains. But I'm talking about a far more valuable resource...our Airmen (with a big A). As supervisors, leaders and mentors I need you to invest in our Airmen and the currency you're going to use is your time. Give Airmen your time and attention. Get to know them, their goals, strengths and weaknesses, what drives them and how you can motivate them. The investments you make can be long-term or short-term. Long-term investments are with the people you supervise, work with and see regularly for a few years. Short-term investments can be as simple as an Airman you attend ALS with or maybe run across at the military personnel customer service center. Throughout my career, I have experienced and benefited from both Airmen who have become lifelong friends and Airmen whose names I can't even remember, who have all invested in my success and growth. These interactions have been critical in allowing me to serve until this day.
As supervisors and NCOs in charge you need to empower your Airmen and allow them to grow. Present them with new challenges and opportunities, give them ownership of tasks, projects and programs. If you have invested in them, you will know their strengths, capabilities and potential. There is an old Native American proverb that says, "Tell me and I'll forget, show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand." The lessons learned through empowerment help Airmen learn how to make decisions, accept responsibility and develop innovative solutions.
Napoleon Bonaparte said, "A leader is a dealer in hope". Do you inspire the Airmen around you? Do you come to work every day motivated and ready to make a difference? I challenge you to be the positive influence in your work center. Understand what you do, how it contributes to the mission of your organization and ultimately to our national defense. Share what you know, the lessons you've learned and the successes you've had. Your influence is not limited by any rank, position or duty title. You have the ability to inspire your subordinates, your peers and your leadership.
The U.S. Air Force needs you to be innovative leaders. Invest in the Airmen around you because you never know what return you may receive on even a small investment. Empower your people because you need to grow and develop your replacement and our future leaders. Inspire those around you, come to work every day and show by your actions that our Air Force is not just a job to you, it's a way of life.