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Great Leaders Inspire Others

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Sharon Thompson
  • MacDill Top III
The old adage is that a house must be built on a strong foundation in order to weather all storms. Leadership must have a strong foundation as well and one of the bricks in this foundation is the ability to inspire others. Inspiring leaders create vision that uplifts the mind and soul. John Quincy Adams once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
Inspiring leaders are able to communicate the importance of all tasks, showing Airmen that their contributions are part of a bigger picture driving them to excel every day, and not take short cuts on any assignment no matter how trivial it may seem. For example, correctly stocking medical supplies in a cabinet enhances the efficiency during a patient's visit which keeps the provider on schedule and other patients seen on time. It is the leader's responsibility to communicate with Airmen so they see their roles in the big picture.

Inspiring leaders seek and welcome opportunities to communicate with Airmen, always listening for what's going right and where things need to improve. This builds trust, stimulates loyalty and fosters commitment. Trust is extremely important because without it, no matter how inspiring the leader may be, their efforts will produce a hollow message. Inspirational leaders do not shy away from conflict, but address it quickly and with fairness. Inspiring leaders understand that if conflict is not addressed, it will distract from the mission and interfere with the member's ability to reach their greatest potential.

Inspiring others requires loyalty to both superiors and subordinates. Leaders must ensure their Airmen have the appropriate training and resources they need to accomplish the mission and provide fair and timely evaluations and recognition.
Inspiring leaders are committed to excellence. Their commitment is a stabilizing force to the organization. They have an authentic interest in the well-being of their personnel which arms them with the ability to uplift others, especially during mission crisis. Airmen feel they can trust leaders who are authentic in their concern and work hard to show support of their decisions.

Inspiring leaders promote and encourage self-acceptance and the acceptance of others, which is extremely important in our diverse Air Force culture. They understand the impact cultural influences can have and work hard at mastering the techniques that bridge differences within the organization while addressing behaviors that are not conducive to sustaining a positive environment.

Leaders create vision by setting expectations and providing honest feedback. Barriers are removed and doors are opened to new ideas. Communication helps eliminate cultural differences and reduces conflict within the organization. This develops Airmen who will understand their individual roles and see how it impacts the overall mission. It allows them to be more forthcoming with new ideas and discoveries. Airmen will be more productive and strive to produce high quality work. Inspiring leaders will develop Airmen who will dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.