Grooming strong leaders

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Williams
  • 460th Mission Support Group command chief
Mentoring the enlisted force so our troops can replace us is vitally important. The top enlisted leaders can promote this goal by encouraging our first-line supervisors to look and act the part to produce positive results with our young troops.

James C. Hunter, author of "How to Become a Servant Leader" says, "The most important person in ensuring positive employee relations is the front-line supervisor."

Former Tactical Air Command commander retired Gen. William Creech supports Mr. Hunter by saying, "There are no weak platoons, only weak leaders."

Gen. George Patton once said, "You are always on parade."

Your personal appearance can be your greatest asset or your worst liability. In the first 30 seconds of meeting you, people will make judgments about you based on what they see. You must make a positive first impression every day and remember you will never get a second chance to create a great first impression.

Think of yourself as the most important package you will ever market; therefore, your image should impact someone's memory after each encounter with you. You destroy your credibility when you show a lack of self-pride when wearing your garrison and physical training uniforms.

All service members must remember they "are always on parade." Of course, looking the part loses its importance unless you can act the part of a professional servicemember.

First-line supervisors are encouraged to follow in our past leaders' footsteps, and continue to support and take responsibility for their troops even though the consequences could be mixed.

To me, it takes moral courage to defend a troop in a challenging situation and take responsibility of everything your troop does -- right or wrong.

I like Martin Luther King Jr.'s view: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy."

Your decision to defend your troop -- or not -- will have positive or negative effects on retention. For example, a couple of years ago, I asked an Airman why he was getting out of the military. His reply was, "Non-commissioned officers don't support the Airmen!"

The first-line supervisors are the most important people in the chain-of-command to produce positive results with our troops. 

Never forget that we don't have weak platoons, only weak leaders. By looking and acting the part of a professional, you will become the strong leader who will one day replace us.