Year of Leadership

The "Year of Leadership" takes place from September 2008 to August 2009. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

The "Year of Leadership" takes place from September 2008 to August 2009. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The "Year of Leadership" at Vandenberg is in full swing and I want to stress the importance of participation at all levels.

Unfortunately, disturbing incidents over the last year called into question focus and expertise in certain mission areas. As a result, Gen. C. Robert Kehler directed this initiative because, "The sustainment, growth, and health of all organizations rise and fall on one fundamental factor, leadership." I wholeheartedly agree and fully support all efforts to improve leadership.

We at Vandenberg pride ourselves on teamwork and the Year of Leadership initiative will be a Team V effort to include all tenant units who wish to participate. I know Team V will be successful thanks to leadership at every level.

There will be many aspects of this initiative, much of which we're already doing. These include interaction between leaders and professional military organizations, articles in various publications and monthly wing runs. Additionally, you'll see some things that are new. One example is a recurring round table discussion between young Airmen and senior leaders about important issues in today's military. What makes this forum exciting will be the use of movies and other media to spur conversation about the hot topics. Throughout the year our junior enlisted and junior officers will have numerous opportunities to engage with senior non-commissioned and commissioned officers. Events like these emphasize important leadership attributes and traits, improve leadership focus, enhance leadership skills and increase leadership interaction.

Here are just a few helpful hints as we get underway. Remember, good leaders must also be good followers. That is where we all start. Do your part to become the best follower you can. However, be prepared to take the reins when it's your time. Have you ever heard the phrase, "Luck is where preparation meets opportunity"? You don't want to let your shot pass you by. Also, once given your chance, the Golden Rule always applies: Lead others like you would like to be led. Treat your people well. Give them the tools to do the mission and the trust they deserve to complete it. They will take care of the mission and they'll take care of you.

The Year of Leadership is just the beginning. There will be opportunities to expand leadership techniques and learn new aspects of followership that will turn up everywhere. Not all will be labeled under the banner "Year of Leadership." Eventually, everyone will be more in tune with the characteristics and tools needed to improve their leadership potential. Expanding leadership aptitude will be continuous, pervasive and successful. We'll all make sure of that.