Commentary by Col. Dennis Seymour
927th Mission Support Group
MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) — How do you define a leader?
Is a leader the individual who creates an atmosphere of teamwork and camaraderie in the workplace? Someone who quickly and easily gathers support to accomplish that short-notice tasker from your boss? Is a leader someone you place your trust in to get you through the tough spots, or commands an aircraft carrying men and equipment to a safe landing in some faraway land? Is being a parent the definition of a leader?
The answer is yes, to all of those and more. A quote that has stuck with me through the years reads, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” As leaders, we should strive to lead our troops on this “narrow way.”
When we joined the military we were young, strong, and more than a bit scared. We looked for someone to follow who would show us the way; putting us on the right path and then letting us step out on our own, with that leader always right behind us.
We knew we could trust them, because they were our leaders. These days, we hear about sequestration, furloughs and budget deficits. And we know all about deployments, family care, powers of attorney and hazardous duty pay. You might think, “I didn’t sign up for all this.” But it is that narrow way we chose to walk when we signed up.
Whether you have one stripe on each sleeve or eagles hanging on your shoulders, we all must continue to challenge ourselves. You’re never too old or too smart to learn something new, or to share what you’ve learned with someone else.
An organization rises and falls on leadership. Wrapped around that leadership is communication. I make it a point to visit with my folks on an informal basis as much as I can. I do this not only to keep them in the loop, but also as a way for me to find out what’s going on with them. They get to know me and things I like, and I do the same with them.
Keeping the lines of communication open up and down the chain of command definitely works. Trust me.
We can all be leaders. Step out and keep stepping. Someone will need you to lead them, to help them walk that narrow way.