Leading by example

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Dean Hill
  • 509th Civil Engineer Squadron
When you hear the word supervisor, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the person responsible for writing performance reports on individuals within their supervisory chain of command, but it really means so much more.

Supervision or from now on what I'll refer to as "leadership," of any individual includes a gambit of responsibilities, and it starts from day one when the Airman arrives on base. Ensure you are engaged right from the beginning as a sponsor and this will lay the path for success.

Did you pick them up from the airport? Is billeting arranged? Do they know their way to the hospital, commissary and base exchange? Does the Airman have a dorm room when they arrive on a Friday night? Setting the right atmosphere from the beginning will help facilitate a smoother transition for them and help establish you as a leader right from the start.

To be an effective leader, having genuine care for the people that work with, for, and around you is important. Without this type of attitude you will not be very convincing in the ways you handle the different situations that arise.

This type of genuine care enables you to be there for them. Unfortunately, this means sometimes having to correct certain types of behavior to stop them from re-occurring in the future.

As a leader, you need to be there for the good and the bad. A pat on the shoulder for a job well done goes a long way. Putting your Airman in for an award they deserve and following through by taking the time to produce a package that reflects the best of the individual is the needed effort that a good leader should be willing to perform time and time again.

You also need to be there to help with the common day to day issues some individuals might have such as marital, financial, family emergencies, stress or personal issues. Use your personal experiences as a guide to provide assistance, and you'll be surprised the situations you've been through and can offer insight to touch and provide assistance to those in need.

If you don't have the answer though it should be a quest for you to know the agencies on base that have the capability to help. If you don't know where to start, contact your supervisor or first sergeant and use them as a sounding board for advice and a point of contact to help you become a more knowledgeable leader on these types of circumstances.

Bottom line, it is "your" job is to be involved with your Airmen both on and off duty and to engage when good or bad arises.

In your day-to-day activities you need to be straight and consistent in your leadership actions. Weigh each situation on its own merit when deciding how you will respond. Just as each person has a different personality and way of dealing with issues, each event has different triggers that cause it to happen; this is where your leadership capabilities will be best utilized in counseling and helping your Airmen decide on the correct action to take.

People tend to respect and listen more when they know exactly where you're coming from. Don't beat around the bush with issues, deal with them head on, and you'll find you are more understood and listened to.

Leading by example is the key to success. Don't be the one that walks by an issue and lets it go; when you do this you just became responsible for that event and loose credibility.

When you see someone doing something wrong, don't be afraid to say something, even if this person is your friend. As a leader, it's easier to maintain the consistent standards than try to correct substandard performance later on. Leadership is something we all share! 

Finally, to put forth a quote from John Quincy Adams, " If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader".