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Tips to Being a Great Leader

By Tech. Sgt. Jeremiah Smartt Air Force Sergeants Association

I work in the 2nd Maintenance Group as the Unit Deployment Manager. I am also on the executive council for the Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 615. I have worked with many great Airmen and great leaders in my 14 years of service. One noticeable common theme is affinity for Air Force Core Values and high standards. Great leaders, and Airmen, set high standards and personify that example, embracing our core values.

A great leader sometimes means going against the grain. This doesn't mean going against Air Force instructions; rather going against the norms that are often seen every day in the Air Force. Setting standards and following through with corresponding actions is essential for leadership. The goal is to set high, yet achievable standards so Airmen have something to work toward. People like to feel accomplished in tasks in an effort to feel valued. Although being a great leader is an important Air Force role, being a great Airman is critical.

Some may think "being a great Airman" is a broad statement. When hearing the term "great Airman," I immediately think of the Air Force Core Values. If all Airmen encompass those values, the force would be on the intended path. Being a great Airman is more than being at work on time, doing a job and going home. It is being a great follower, leader, and wingman. For great Airmen, the Air Force is more than just a job. It is a lifestyle. This is one reason why I sought membership in the Air Force Sergeants Association. Its mission epitomizes Air Force Core Values.

Incorporation, or memberships, into private organizations such as AFSA, Air Force Association, Team 5/6, Top III, and others is a great way to increase base and local community involvement. The opportunities that exist in these types of organizations teach us leadership and followership techniques that can be taken back to work centers and fellow Airmen. These private organizations also offer opportunities to volunteer your services, which builds more relationships, and will provide us all with an abundance of opportunities to highlight our leadership skills.