Do you have a leadership philosophy?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Frank N. Reyes
  • 319th Security Forces Squadron commander
While I was a student at the Army Command and General Staff College, the Leadership Department required each student to write a leadership philosophy paper.

What follows are some of my thoughts on leadership. As you will discover, my thoughts are not original and I would argue they are common Air Force-wide and shared amongst all Airmen.

Simply stated, leadership is an action.

In the Air Force, all Airmen are leaders regardless of rank. They are highly skilled and valued for their competencies and desire for excellence. Being an Airman is an awesome responsibility and one that places heavy demands on both your professional and personal lives. Communication, professionalism, balance, and living our Air Force core values are all key to mission success.

Communication is paramount to supporting the overall objectives of our Air Force. Information must be shared in a timely, concise and precise manner.

E-mail should never be the standard when communicating. Endeavour to communicate face-to-face; if this fails, communicate by voice via landline. Always follow up on verbal communication with an e-mail or typed memorandum. This captures the information discussed and is an official method to record the verbal exchange in the written format. Communication is the pulse to our Air Force and our organizational goals and ensures mission success. When in doubt, communicate.

Professionalism is our cornerstone -- know your job and know your job well. Serve with commitment and loyalty. Be technically and tactically competent in your area of expertise. Stay on top of doctrine and be the "go-to person," the one who has the answers, or the one who can get the answers. Pay attention to detail; remember the reputation of both you and the Air Force is on the line. Always remember, we exist to support the war fighters, not the other way around.

Serving in our Air Force has its many challenges. However, the true challenge is to achieve balance.

As leaders, we need to encourage our Airmen to maximize their time outside of work to pursue endeavors essential to personal growth as well as caring for the well-being of our families.

Maximize your off duty time through such active pursuits as squadron sports, community service and off-duty education. Leaders can never overstress the importance of balance. A well-rested and refreshed team will only increase and improve the productivity and creativity to our Air Force and respective organizational units. Balance is a high interest item for all leaders and one that all leaders should emphasize.

Integrity, Service, and Excellence - internalize our Air Force Core Values. Understand and know that our Air Force core values is our playbook and guide to what defines us as Airmen. This is an all-volunteer organization, one we as Airmen choose to serve in-- an organization that is well regarded and one that holds itself to a higher standard. As Airmen, we are accountable for our actions both on and off duty, and it's our core values that keep us honest. Know and live by our core values 24/7.

Always know mission success is paramount and that taking care of our Airmen and their families is critical. Leaders at all levels must develop their Airmen and organizations!
Success can be achieved simply by using communication, professionalism, balance, and most importantly, our Air Force core values. I encourage all Airmen to personalize and develop their own leadership philosophies and share it with all.