As a very young Airman I made a mistake. I was away from the shop working on some equipment and I was carrying my radio (you might call it a walkie-talkie). When I got back to the shop I didn’t have my radio anymore. I knew this was bad, lost equipment, a security violation…so I immediately went back to the equipment I was working on and it was gone. I headed back to the shop after about 20 minutes to reluctantly tell my shop chief what had happened. What I didn’t know is that someone had found the radio and turned it in while I was away. Instead of getting a big lecture, I was actually praised for doing the right thing by reporting that I had lost it and fessing up to it.
Many lessons that are learned here…but for today here was the primary lesson I learned on that day. From that moment on I wasn’t afraid to tell my boss if I did something wrong. Not every mistake was going to equal a moment of praise…wouldn’t expect it to but at least I knew that he wasn’t out to “get me” and everyone in the shop saw that too. I took the lessons from that day and carried it throughout the rest of my career and remembered it when someone admitted a mistake to me and encouraged people to do the same. Hiding mistakes never equates to anything good…don’t make people afraid to be honest with you!