by Tech. Sgt. J. Smith
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Integrity, empowerment, managerial competence with excellent communication skills, compassion with sincere enthusiasm, and being a servant leader are five leadership qualities individuals should strive to possess.
If you ask someone the definition of integrity you will probably receive an answer similar to this: “integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.” To me, integrity means that, but also so much more. Integrity is about trust, honesty as well as being unified with your organization. A friend once told me integrity also includes the responsibility to stand up and challenge substandard decisions being made. If a substandard decision is decided upon, it is then your responsibility to find answers for questions arising from that decision and it is your job as a leader, and follower to promote that vision to those around you and keep your personal feelings, and opinions out of it.
The second quality is empowerment, this sometimes feels like a buzz word. In my mind, empowerment means providing your subordinates, peers and leaders with all of the needed resources, tools, self-determination, and confidence necessary for them to be successful in any task whether it be personal or professional. The goal of empowering individuals around you, should be to make them the best versions of themselves. Each of them need to have the ability to make educated decisions not only for their careers, but their lives as well. Also, when individuals feel empowered they are usually more motivated and productive. Contrarily, if they feel powerless they will not feel valued and their work ethic, integrity and loyalty will drop.
Managerial competence with excellent communication skills means managing your organization in a way that ensures the welfare of not only your customers but also your personnel. Being a good manager means having good working relationships with everyone, splitting work evenly and fairly, also ensuring you are allocating your personnel appropriately. Communication is essential up and down the chain of command in all organizations. Information should never stop flowing, and it should not get stuck with individuals who fail to pass it up or down. A solid communication strategy is vital to an organization’s success, it is what separates a good from a great organization. Communication is weaved throughout planning steps, relaying expectations as well as ensuring personnel are recognized for their achievements.
Compassion with sincere enthusiasm shows workers that you, as a person and a leader, are invested in them and that you genuinely care about them. If you do not feel you are strong in these areas, try to reframe your thoughts. Along with compassion with sincere enthusiasm comes emotional intelligence. It is a person’s ability to have awareness and control when they express their emotions. Essentially, someone who is emotionally intelligent handles all interpersonal relationships in a manner which brings credit upon themselves and their organization.
Lastly, traditional leadership is when a leader’s focus is the prosperity of their organization. A servant leader is very different from a traditional leader. A servant leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first, and helps their people develop and perform as highly as possible. In general, leadership starts with every one of us. Throughout history it has been shown that great leaders have been more interested in others’ success rather than their own, which is the basis of servant leadership.
I challenge you to ask yourself if you possess these qualities. If you answered yes, it is your job to mentor those around you to assist them in acquiring these qualities as well. If you answered no, take some time to self-reflect and figure out your weaker areas and then set goals to strengthen those areas.