First & Foremost: Leadership
By Col. Douglas Champagne, 127th Operations Group
/ Published April 16, 2012
SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. --
As the newest Group Commander in the 127th Wing, I have been given the opportunity and privilege to share a few thoughts. In my address to the troops at my Change of Command ceremony I wanted to emphasize one primary topic, namely LEADERSHIP. Over the last 24 years I have been around the block a time or two and have seen my fair share of leaders. I learned what I should be doing as a leader from some and I learned what not to do from the others. You may say, "how can you say that about your fellow officers," but I will reply by saying that I didn't specify officers...I simply said "leaders." Here is what I am talking about: I feel very strongly that Leadership does not stem solely from the officer core, although they are certainly ONE SOURCE of leadership, they are only PART of the leadership team that comprises our Wing. The vast majority of our leadership comes from our enlisted core and is stratified at every level in our organization and...EVERYTHING RISES AND FALLS ON LEADERSHIP.
Everyone, in some form or fashion, is a leader and more than anything else the leadership of any group or organization will determine its success or failure. You can see the impact of leadership frequently in every aspect of life. Where there is good leadership, an organization is successful, where leadership is lacking the organization struggles. This concept applies to all areas of your life - the people in our nation, in your church, in your business, or even in your family depend on good leadership...without which, they will surely struggle.
The call to leadership is consistent, predictable and follows universally accepted patterns. Leadership is not demanded from masses, it is called upon individually and specifically. Whenever there is a difficult task at hand, if we expect to be successful, someone will need to step up their game and take charge. Simply put; every time there is a desire to do something great, a true leader will need to step forward to get the job done. Today, through very turbulent waters, we are calling for leaders in all parts of our wing to step forward and carry the 127th Wing banner.
All 127th Wing members should be leaders of people. That's more than just being the "boss" or having a supervisory position, and it certainly doesn't mean being pushy or in control. I have been taught that leading means serving others and there are no more influential leaders than those who are servant leaders. We are all called to exert influence in a positive manner. Leadership, simply put, is influence - nothing more, nothing less. The ability to positively influence others is a powerful thing and if you do it well you will be in high demand, not only in our Wing, but in every aspect of your life, so expect it and be ready when opportunity knocks!
One of the most important leadership principles is, "Leadership ability determines a person's level of effectiveness." That is key when working with others. Greater than resources, money, talent, or intelligence, leadership makes the difference when it comes to making an impact. Consequently, the key to increasing your effectiveness is to increase your leadership ability. If you desire to have an impact on others and to leave a lasting legacy, you must become an impactful person of influence - a student of leadership.
We live in an age of tolerance, where protecting feelings is seemingly more highly valued than proclaiming the truth, and while tolerance is important, you can never compromise the core values by which we live. Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in All We Do. When you step up to be a leader, some people may look at you with suspicion. This is not unexpected as anyone who desires to influence is bound to be questioned about their motives, but remember this; Thomas Jefferson proclaimed, "In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of conscience, stand like a rock."
I highly recommend that we all become dedicated students of leadership - and if you, do I guarantee you will leave a legacy for others to follow. The principle of legacy states that, "True success is measured by succession." A legacy that does not include people has no future value. That is why leadership is critical. Becoming a good leader will guarantee that you will leave a legacy for future generations as EVERYTHING RISES AND FALLS ON LEADERSHIP. - Good Luck & as always, I'm right here on your wing...