The power of personality

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Korwin Miike
  • 319th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander
Are you a positive person with a positive attitude, one that others enjoy when you are around? If not, you could very well be placing yourself at a disadvantage across many spectrums. It doesn't matter if you're in the military or not, if you seclude yourself from others, you can easily be perceived as someone who doesn't care or someone that doesn't want to be bothered. This perception could cost you opportunities. At times, the only difference between two Airmen is their personality. Supervisors often favor the Airman that has a positive, outgoing perspective. Make sure that's you!

I learned the extreme value of a positive attitude and personality from two ineffective leaders. One of my former supervisors was not respected by his middle management. This was mainly due to his ego and unprofessionalism. For example, he would deny permanent change of station medals if they were late because it reflected a negative statistic on him. However, most of the Airmen (Senior Airmen and below) in the squadron adored him. One day, a social opportunity at a retirement ceremony presented itself where I was able to engage one of these Airmen and inquired about this. She informed me that she liked the supervisor because he remembered her name, her hometown, and other personal things. For those Airmen, the supervisor's ability to take the time to know his people, overcame his ineffectiveness on the job. His positive attitude made Airmen want to work for him.

The second example stems from a commander that I learned was not popular per a unit climate assessment. In the report, Airmen cited their lack of respect for that commander. To put it simply, he wouldn't even recognize their presence when walking pass them in the hallways. He wouldn't say "hi" or "how are you doing" or anything. Unlike the supervisor example before, this particular commander did not take the time to know his people. He was perceived as pompous with very little concern for the morale and welfare of his Airmen. Due to the lack of personality, this commander did not enhance followership and produced a negative environment.

When you go to your favorite store and are ready to check out, you most likely have a cashier that you favor over others. For most of us, that favor is a result of that cashier's performance and customer service, how they look, presents themselves, and their personality. You should also remember is that those positive traits can be sparked by you, the customer. It should be a give and take relationship. In fact, on our own base, see how much nicer our customer service professionals are when you initiate a positive atmosphere. Say "hello" to James at the Shopette, "hi" to Kyle and Warren at the Bowling Alley, "greetings" to Holly at the Northern Lights Club, and "how are you doing" to Stan at the Golf Course. You'll not only be a better customer for it, but you'll also create an optimistic and positive attitude for everyone around you. This principle works on the job too.

Keeping these examples in mind can not only make you a better leader, follower, or Airman, but can also make you a better person. Be's infectious!