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NEWS | Aug. 15, 2011

Chief's Corner -- Every job is a self portrait

By By Chief Master Sgt. Michael J. Steiner AFDW/779 Medical Group Functional Manager

Many of us may have heard the phrase, "Every job is a self-portrait. Autograph your work with excellence." However, have we stopped to consider that the way we accomplish our work on a daily basis, autographs the self portrait of our organizations?

Our immediate duty sections, elements, flights, squadrons, groups and wings are representations of the sum of the parts that create our Air Force. The parts are reflections of the type of leaders that we are; leaders who take on the role of guiding our units.

Whether we talk about formal leaders (supervisors, NCOs in charge, flight commanders, etc.) or informal leaders, we all contribute to the "work of art" that is our organization.

First -line supervisors have the largest impact on their subordinates, especially upon the newest Airmen. Whether good or bad, supervisors set the tone for our newest team members, and can put our Airmen on a path to excellence, mediocrity or ruins. By setting a positive example in terms of dress and appearance, customs and courtesies, and adherence to standards, we can start our future leaders off the right way.

However, if we take the path of least resistance, or fail to clearly articulate what is expected, we foster an environment of mediocrity and paint a picture of average at best. While supervisors may have the largest impact on many members of the team, senior leaders set the overall example in shaping the character that our organizations take.

As senior leaders in our units, we lay the foundation for our teams and set the example of what is accepted and expected. In turn, supervisors and their Airmen are a direct reflection of us and what we do, say and tolerate.

If Airmen in a unit do not take pride in their uniforms, lack customs and courtesies, or basic levels of professionalism, we as supervisors need to examine our own actions and see what image we present. Servicemembers that take a lackadaisical approach to training and mission accomplishment are most likely emulating what they see from their NCOs, Senior NCOs and officers.

As leaders, we must realize that what we tolerate or accept in our presence demonstrates our standards far more than what we say.
n today's Air Force, we are all tasked with balancing many competing priorities, while trying to accomplish our mission as quickly, efficiently and accurately as possible. Every member of the force must function to their fullest capacity in order to be successful. No member of the team can do the minimum and reach his or her maximum potential.

The various levels of leadership must recognize that our organizations are a reflection of everyone, and ensure that we set the right example to autograph our self-portrait with excellence.