News>Commentary - Diamond Notes: a musing on AF core values and accountability
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Adam Bolen, 551st Special Operations Squadron first sergeant, stands with Airmen 1st Class Amanda Teague and Martin Hermosillo, 551 SOS, in front of their squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., July 3, 2012. Bolen talks about his concept of the Air Force Core Values and holding military members accountable in July's Diamond Notes submission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexxis Pons Abascal)
Diamond Notes is a monthly column from the 27th Special Operations Wing's First Sergeants. The First Sergeant is a special leadership position held by Senior Non-Commissioned Officers. They report directly to the commander as his or her adviser concerning the enlisted force. He or she is responsible for morale, welfare and conduct of all enlisted members in the unit. (U.S. Air Force graphic by 2nd Lt. Stephanie Strine)(RELEASED)
Commentary by Master Sgt. Adam Bolen
551st Special Operations Squadron
7/2/2012 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Diamond Notes is a monthly column from the 27th Special Operations Wing's First Sergeants. The First Sergeant is a special leadership position held by Senior Non-Commissioned Officers. They report directly to the commander as his or her adviser concerning the enlisted force. He or she is responsible for morale, welfare and conduct of all enlisted members in the unit.
Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. Heard that before? Well, you should have. These are our Air Force Core Values. What happened to them? Was a memorandum sent out that I didn't see? That does happen. You say it hasn't changed? Well, when I look around I see a few people that not understand what they mean.
Integrity first. Simply put, do what is right, even when no one is looking. When you are at a house party downtown and they break out the bong and load it up with pure Hawaiian sweet bud, you should run, not walk, the other way. A true Airman doesn't think "no one will find out, I'll beat the system and get away with it". Do what is right at all times.
Service before self. Not service instead of self. Take care of yourself and your family. "The mission" is very much like the elusive honey badger - it doesn't give a crap. The mission will always be here and will always be demanding of you. The mission will demand daily sacrifices that a normal American could never dream of. Thankfully, we are blessed with competent and caring commanders who help balance the mission and the people.
You, the Airman, must also take some responsibility in this effort. Service before self means giving the mission 100 percent of your effort when it is needed. How many times have you seen people checking Facebook while customers waited or projects were due? Have you ever closed your shop a few minutes early because it's been a long day and you earned it? Or do you find yourself leaving the base in the afternoon instead of going to that physical training session you were supposed to attend?
Excellence in all we do. Do your best. No one is demanding perfection, and if you do, chances are you will be let down. Just do your best. If you put forth maximum effort and are being honest with yourself, then how is that not excellence in all you do? I would tell the folks that I've worked with over my career "Do the best of your ability, but keep trying to expand your abilities!" The continual expansion of your abilities is a basic building block of becoming a better Airman, non-commissioned officer, senior non-commissioned officer or officer.
The challenge to all supervisors and leaders is to balance needs of the mission and needs of the people and be fair about it. If someone isn't pulling their weight, hold them accountable. If someone fails to uphold standards and you hold them accountable through written documentation, you are not failing them. You fail them when you do NOT hold them accountable. If you do not provide the counseling and rehabilitative attention they need, how are you setting them up for future success? I challenge you to hold your people accountable. Set the standard high and uphold our Air Force core values on and off duty.
Holding Airmen accountable isn't popular. You may not get invited to the next house party or someone may call you unfair. When did being in the military equate to being on American Idol? Are you afraid you'll be voted off? Being a leader and upholding our Air Force core values takes honor, courage and commitment. If you do not possess an integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do mentality, then why are you here? Being in the military...it's about National Security.