Be the change you want to see in the ANG Published Dec. 21, 2011 By CMSgt Matthew J. DeHate 127th Force Support Squadron SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- It is an honor to write my first article for the Prevailing Wind. For those that do not know me, I have been a member of the 127th Services Flight since 1987. After my initial enlistment in the Regular Air Force I was under contract for 18 months in the Michigan Air National Guard. I planned on doing my 18 months and then becoming a civilian. All that I can say is...time flies! When asked to write this article I knew immediately the topic I would write about. Of all the qualities that go into being a successful leader, I believe the most important is maintaining a positive mental attitude. I don't profess to be an expert on this topic, just a believer in the results. There are many books and seminars that approach this topic from every angle. What I decided to do is list quotes from successful people, many from the book Leadership 101 by John C. Maxwell, then add my own thoughts on how it pertains to us military members. "Leadership is developed not discovered. Today a reader...tomorrow a leader." -- W. Fusselman There's an old saying...Leaders are Readers. Some people have a positive disposition naturally, but everyone needs to exercise their attitude. Just as we maintain our bodies throughout the year to pass our annual Fitness Assessment, we also need to exercise our minds with positive reading. We should be mentally nourishing ourselves reading about success principles, biographies of successful people, and techniques for maintaining a positive mental attitude. The Wing Command Chief has a suggested reading list that contains the mental nourishment we need to develop ourselves into successful leaders. "People are changed not by coercion or intimidation but by example. Few things are more powerful than a positive push." -- John Maxwell As leaders, we need to maintain a positive attitude when dealing with the people we lead. Even in disciplinary situations a positive approach will go further in correcting undesirable behavior. Most people will respond better to leaders that are looking to find the positive attributes of difficult situations rather than always harping on the negative. The conscious effort to find the good in bad situations will be emulated by the people that we lead. "A great leader never sets himself above his followers except in carrying responsibility"-- Jules Ormont As leaders we must have the attitude to gladly accept the added responsibility of our position. To have a leadership position and grudgingly accept or shirk the responsibility of the position would be to the detriment of the organization and the people that you lead. "Be the most enthusiastic person you know. Leadership has less to do with position than it does with disposition." -- John Maxwell Most everyone naturally wants to be around enthusiastic people. Our enthusiasm and positive attitude will put us in leadership roles long before it shows in our rank. We become natural leaders among our peers because of the way we approach problems. Negative attitudes are the cultural norm in many organizations and can be difficult to overcome. One reason why we must constantly exercise our attitudes with positive reading material is to avoid the trap of negativity. We can not afford to go into inspection mode (ORE, ORI, UCI) with negative attitudes. In many cases a unit's inspection rating will increase from a Satisfactory to an Excellent because of a positive, can-do attitude. "It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." -- John Wooden According to AFI 36-2618, "The Little Brown Book", Tech Sergeants are often the technical experts in their organization. We have three more enlisted ranks after Tech Sergeant. What more can we learn beyond being the technical expert in our chosen field? We need to learn WHY we do the things that we do. We need to learn about taking care of people and inspiring them to be the technical experts. We need to learn long term planning and strategic thinking. We need to remain humble with a teachable attitude to learn an even bigger picture of our overall mission. "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." -- Vivian Greene Storms will always come. We must learn to see through the clouds, press forward, and "...dance in the rain". Problems will always have a work-around. The mission and the people we lead are depending on us to have the correct attitude to find the work-around and press on. "When in doubt tell the truth. It will confound your enemies and astound your friends" -- Mark Twain Telling the truth is always sound advice and falls in line with the Air Force Core Values. When we tell the truth it is easier to sort out problems, and, it's just the right thing to do. As leaders we are often put in awkward situations and forced to have uncomfortable conversations. When we approach these uncomfortable conversations truthfully and with the right attitude, it is easier to tell the parent that "their kid is the smelly kid at school". As mentioned earlier, the Wing Command Chief has a suggested reading list to nourish our attitudes with positive success principles. Though there are many facets to being a successful leader, I believe that a positive mental attitude plays a part in every aspect. If we adhere to the Air Force If we adhere to the Air Force Core Values and approach our mission with a positive, can-do attitude, I believe that there are no limits to what we can achieve. Core Values and approach our mission with a positive, can-do attitude, I believe that there are no limits to what we can achieve.