As another class graduates the USAF’s Officer Training School and we launch another round of officers into the breach of America’s military–I know we are indeed training officers, but I wonder if we are really building leaders.
Massive bureaucracies tend to only think of leadership in terms of action–as in…what can we measure? What can we report on? Feed a massive bureaucracy metrics and it believes it can show you a leader. I would argue leadership is MUCH more than an output of numbers and metrics.
A senior officer once mistakenly told me, “Leadership is something we DO everyday.” It is NOT just something you do everyday, it is something you ARE everyday! Have you ever met a person and you just knew this individual was a leader? Genuine leaders have an amazing magnetism and aura about them and people are simply attracted to who they are.
These officers graduating today indeed want to be leaders (for the most part) and I know they desire results, but being a leader MUST precede DOING leadership–and this is the struggle. We only have a short time to pour into these officer ingots before we launch them into the USAF. I know to achieve the higher goals of such an organization, especially in today’s world, we must build more effective leaders. Further, in order to attract better people to the USAF and into service, we all have to be better leaders.
If we are to achieve the greater good of our nation’s call we must all strive to be leaders of great moral character. We have all seen too often what happens when a leader’s real identity and the desired results don’t match–we see it all around us. Personal Power leaders are attempting to disguise themselves as Greater Good leaders.
But when a Greater Good leader displays consistency of character, competency, and purpose, it makes such a powerful statement to all of those around that the Greater Good magnetism simply draws people to that leader. Stop for just a moment and imagine if we all worked for these type of leaders what we could achieve as a nation.
As these Officer Trainees take their oath of office, I know they desire to do great things with their lives through their service. I also know that in order to help them achieve, we all need to seek to become better people and stronger leaders. NOTHING great can ever be achieved alone. Any act of service…well, really any act truly worth doing requires the help of others. AND, if America wants to continue to attract the best and brightest into service–those of us who lead must become better and stronger people and leaders. If we can do that, our nation will know no limits.