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NEWS | March 6, 2013

Leadership during uncertain times

By Lt. Col. Andy Dawson, 841st Transportation Battalion commander 841st Transportation Battalion

It seems like every week the headlines on the front of Air Force, Navy or
Army Times, or the major news outlets brings more bad news about the coming budget cuts, force reductions or other issues that will impact our units.

Just last week, the most recent budget debate known as sequestration culminated with yet to be determined impacts to us all in the days and weeks to come.

Regardless of your duty title, or the role in the unit you serve in, how will you respond? Will you accept these new distractions with indifference?

Or, will you see the opportunities that these challenging times bring as a chance to refocus your unit's mission, essential functions, or perhaps, implement that new business process, or lessons learned from more than
11 years of combat?

As leaders, now is the time to leverage these financial, manpower and other challenges into opportunities to improve your organization. You can do that by focusing on what's best for your unit and by focusing on your employees.

What is your unit/organization's core mission? Is that the most important reason everyone comes to work every day? Or have distractions taken over causing the units to lose focus of its primary mission?

When was the last time your organization reviewed its' mission statement, vision and key tasks? These may seem like simple questions, but every organization, even military ones, lose perspective and focus from time to time. There are many influences on your organization, but what is important for leaders today is to recognize forced change can allow you to refocus the direction of your unit.

Every issue that our military faces today will personally impact us as leaders, but also as unit members, either directly, or indirectly. As leaders, it is important to remember our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians are the unit. Yes, we are all part of a military service, but it's truly your unit of assignment that you most readily identify yourself as a member. So as a leader facing the challenges ahead, how will you communicate with your unit? Will you solve problems collectively? Will you retain the perspective that we are still at war?

As a leader and member of Joint Base Charleston there are things you can do to influence how the current challenges impact your unit. But by focusing on the right things, we will all succeed.