Bold Leadership

Speaking to a room full of non-commissioned officers, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said leadership is a gift that is rarely easy, but almost always rewarding. “People are going to criticize you if you’re the one stepping up, making the calls, enforcing discipline, making sure people meet standards, and making sure the mission gets done,” he said during the 2012 Air Force Sergeants Association convention in Jacksonville, Fla., on Aug. 15. “Deal with it. Make the tough decisions. Make the hard calls. Make your NCOs make the hard calls, and make your airmen make the hard calls.” A good leader, said Welsh, takes the time to really get to know his airmen. “If you don’t know the stories, you can’t lead the airmen. It’s really that simple,” he said. And, bold leadership sometimes means taking a step back and letting others under your command shine. “Everybody who has ever worked for you is better than you at something,” he said. “Your job is to encourage that and develop it, and to give them free rein. Every now and then, step back and lead from behind. You become the cheerleader.” (Jacksonville report by A1C Jarrod Grammel)