AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – The power of influence can and will have
rippling effects within an organization.
We have all worked for great
leaders with the power of influence and they tend to stick out when thinking
about who we want to emulate. John Maxwell stated, "Leadership is not
about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing
This has been true throughout
my military career. I have experienced supervisors who lead from behind a desk
and never connect with individuals within the organization. I have also been
fortunate enough to be influenced by those who take the time to get to know
their members and take a vested interest in what is going on in their lives,
both personally and professionally.
As a young technical sergeant
at a conference, I heard a lieutenant general say, “No one cares how much you
know until they know how much you care.” This resonated with me as I thought back to
the leaders who had the most impact on my career and how each had taken the
time to get to know me personally.
It does not matter whether
it’s having a cup of coffee with an Airman or stopping our ever-busy lives to
turn away from our overpopulated email to listen to what’s really affecting our
Airmen – we owe that to them.
Influential leaders create an
atmosphere of productivity by supporting the team and striving for what is best
for the organization by empowering subordinates and letting them succeed or
fail, all the while supporting them. I have learned more from influential
leaders who have let me fail at tasks, but always supported me during the
process. It is inevitable we will all fail at some point. What matters is that we
pick ourselves up, wipe the dust off and get back to work.
Knowing those in your
organization and using creative leadership influence has the power to lead to
increased productivity. When you invest time to know what motivates your
members you can make more informed decisions on where each individual fits best
within the organization and where they would be most productive.
Placing members in a position
they are focused on and interested in not only increases productivity but gives
the member more drive and determination to complete a task, knowing they feel
self-worth in completing a task which intrigues them. The ability to influence
an organization bigger than themselves allows members to feel a genuine sense
of influence, no matter what their rank or position.
Whether in our professional or
personal life, we should always strive to create an atmosphere of positive
influence that will have a lasting impact on those we lead. Leadership doesn’t
always have to have a top-down approach. There have been many times throughout
my career I have witnessed a bottom-up approach to influence. We must not
suppress our future leaders and allow them the opportunity to create influence
within their organization and support innovative ideas to be implemented while
giving latitude to create more effective and efficient ways to lead and
develop. It’s our responsibility to reach down and pull up the next generation
while deliberately developing Airmen so our Air Force will be better off than
when we took over.