Deliberate Development

Professional Development for the Military Leader



Find Your Voice

A while ago, I was asked to sit down with an NCO who had a task and time management problem. Short timed for PCS and bringing in a different perspective, we got to work. They thought we were going to do it at their desk and go through each process individually, instead, I asked they not pull anything up but they grab their cover, it was time to go mobile. We were going to get into the wickets. Hearing their story, and sharing mine, the field was set, Game On!

It quickly became apparent there wasn’t a task/time management problem, there was a voice problem, coupled with a standards problem.  This NCO was picking up the slack from subordinates not meeting standards while correcting errors because the OIC directed they just solve it, which led to falling behind on other routine work. They were quick to accept the directives instead of pushing back to enforce standards because it kept the boss happy.

Not all problems are solved in a day, so we work on growing ourselves and finding our voice.  I was once charged with the following points and encourage all my brothers and sisters in arms do the same:

  1. Inner voice matters and should be expressed.  Speaking up, we enforce standards.  Never accept anything less than the best.  There are techniques to get everyone on board with those standards.  They include: building more time into a process. Sending something back with corrections to be re-accomplished and is acceptable because we accept the standards we allow. Identify things that need to change with a proposed solution.
  2. Ask questions of your peers.  Stop trying to work in a silo of excellence. Share experiences with each other.
  3. Get out of your office.  Move away from your environment and comfort zone to learn something new.
  4. Lead up. Their OIC wasn’t a bad person, just inexperienced and needed the NCO to explain to explain their viewpoints. Being the first time to work directly for an officer can be challenging, leading up removes some roadblocks to enhance the mission and the relationship.

Our voice is built from understanding what is expected, what is acceptable, and actually vocalizing those things up, down, and across the chain.

Make it happen and find your voice.

Daily Deliberation: 11 November 2019

Thank you to all my brothers and sisters in arms who have served and those currently serving. Being a year removed from the uniform, nothing prides me more than seeing the admiration the civilian world has for those serving. It is one thing to get thanked for my service, but something completely different hearing them talk about service members when they don’t know I was one. Thank you for making our nation better, thank you for setting a positive example for others, thank you for your service to this great nation!

Daily Deliberation: 10 November 2019

Integrity First. It has never been harder to be the person we were raised to be. All of the social pressures and flip-flopping politicians make it easier to align with public opinion and blend in with the crowd. Although, this is not new; it is broadcast on a larger stage when we do not align. As a leader, it is easier (at first) to go with the popular decisions; however, the popular vote will make sure your team never gets ahead as you will teeter back and forth. We need to come up with the vision for our team and chase it. The decisions we make might not be popular at the time, but they will be the right ones for our overall success.

Daily Deliberation: 7 November 2019

So often we hear great plans and visions, but the actions of the leader does not match their speech. When we share our thoughts with our team or our leaders, we need to ensure our actions match this. If we don’t, it is one of the fastest paths to losing their trust.

Daily Deliberation: 5 November 2019

I think we look at things we face in our lives and workcenters as if they are beneath us. I know I have done this many times throughout my career and am guilty of it still on occasion. We think the task is too simple for us or something we did as an Airman and we are above that now. However, our actions are obvious to our teams and we do lead by example. When we are above the minor things, our teams look down on them too. Instead we need to accept we are not above any single task present in our workcenter and all of the little details make up the whole. Don’t let your position or ego get the better of you.

Daily Deliberation: 4 November 2019

This is very true. Who we surround ourselves with and what we read shape us. What are some of your favorite quotes?

Daily Deliberation: 30 October 2019

“This one time at band camp…” We all want to revel on our past achievements or even wallow in our short comings. Many people over the years have sought mentoring from me about something that happened years ago. I was told about how a flight chief (2 flight chiefs ago) had passed this person by for an opportunity and that is the reason for his gloom and doom mindset. We have to let go of what was and strive for what could be. The past is there to learn from, not to re-live.

Daily Deliberation: 27 October 2019

From the time we are young, we learn to pass blame to avoid getting into trouble. We worry more about the consequences of our action than taking the steps to avoid them happening again. When we take ownership as an adult, we are not volunteering to get into trouble. We are 1 ) saying we accept the consequences and 2) accepting accountability to take those steps to prevent further issues.

Daily Deliberation: 24 October 2019

So often we look at what could happen and let all of the “what ifs” control our actions. We become crippled with the fear of something that isn’t even real. Statistics stop us in our tracks. Numbers on paper or a trend from the past. Sometimes there is not even a historical basis for our fear; rather, the ramblings of some idea fairy. It is very important to plan and seek the smartest route for our time and resources. Once we come up with a solution that is in-line with our core values, pull the trigger and go for it. Learn to recognize actual dangers and escape from the “what if” fantasy world.

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