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Showing posts from April, 2018

When you meet a good leader you know it Part III

Do you care what a leader thinks of you? For most people with an eye on the next stripe, bar or star the answer is usually a yes. For myself and others the answer seemed a bit more complicated. I learned throughout the years that I only cared about the opinions of leaders I respected, regardless of their position over me. If someone wasn't a good leader, or didn't take care of their people you could usually hear it in my tone when I spoke with them.

Knowing this, I realized that whenever I sought someone's approval they were almost inevitably a well-respected and adept leader, beyond the casual Air Force definition of a leader.

This brings me to the topic if this week's blog, Colonel Victor Mora. Col Mora assumed command of the 56 Maintenance Group in the summer of  2012.

The maintenance group was still reeling from his predecessor and her unique leadership style and questionable policies. Being a junior NCO I didn't really have any information on where Col Mora h…

Where does the power lie?

Many leaders lose sight of the idea that they have to earn trust and commitment from their subordinates. Last week I wrote about a servant leader. This week I'd like to explore the opposite: a leader that doesn't understand the power of their people.

In 2005 I was working swing shift in the 310th AMU. The previous year we suffered through a prolonged battle with start malfunctions and other heavy maintenance issues. We worked a lot of hours. Most of us had been working together for quite a long time and we got along really well with only a few exceptions.

At this time there was still a distinct separation of the two TAMS sections [yes, there used to be two TAMS sections in AMUs] complete with separate expediters and section chiefs. I was in A section and it was universally understood our section was much better than B section. This is less a subjective opinion, and much more objective fact.

Our AMU Chief, CMSgt James Fullington was a strict disciplinarian. He didn't s…

When you meet a good leader you know it Part II

Last week I wrote about a leader that used his authority to damage the trust of his unit; while the week before I wrote about a leader that used his position to build a healthy relationship within his unit. Every leader can teach you something about leadership. It just depends on whether you want to emulate or avoid their behavior.
Aircraft maintenance in the Air Force has a distinct duality in its informal organizational structure. On one hand is the production element. In the production element most energies are devoted to producing mission capable aircraft and in turn, sorties. Production leaders worry about efficiently managing personnel, time and parts. Their interaction with personnel is typically limited to assigning tasks and managing production teams. Maintenance group commanders, AMU OICs, production superintendents and flightline expediters fall into this category.
However there is another element in aircraft maintenance that is focused on personnel independent of product…

Why this blog?

Last Saturday I posted a factual account of an incident that I believed was unethical treatment by a commander against personnel I was responsible for.

I removed the blog because I was concerned the information would pile onto someone who could be already stressed the their limits. I  wasn't willing to kick someone while they are down. I might re-post it in the future, but some names might be removed or changed. I haven't decided yet.

However, that decision led me to a greater discussion with my significant other about what exactly is the purpose of this blog.

So let me start by explaining what it is, and why I am doing it. I'd also like to address things I don't want this blog to be. More on that later.

This blog is a weekly [so far, I might run out of stories] event where I tell a story from my career. I try to explain it as objectively as possible but I might include some humor or take a shot and people here or there [assume I'll take a shot at Fraley whenever …

You have to tell them they are wrong

It's important that leaders create an environment where subordinates feel they can be candid and voice their concerns with decisions in order to act as a counter balance to the commander's possible cognitive biases. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the military often the exact opposite is created: where those that disagree with leaders often face adverse impacts to their careers.

Last week I wrote about my time working for, and disagreeing with, my commander in 2006 Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Traw. At the time I didn't know how he would receive my criticism; however that didn't deter me from speaking up.

Colonel Traw's response to the article was 'A leaders response is often the key factor in how open a person will be with them at that moment and in the future' In essence, weak leaders shut down the conversation, when the conversation doesn't support their narrative.

Once as a section chief one of my female subordinates approached me to tell me t…