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NEWS | Dec. 5, 2012


By Maj. Charles Eichner 628th Air Base Wing Plans and Programs

Over the holidays, my father and I were talking about life and work. He mentioned that someone at his workplace commented that previously, he was one of only a few "professionals," but now he works on a team in which everyone is a professional. I thought about that statement and realized that we frequently use buzz words, but rarely internalize what they actually mean.

For example, we are a professional military force. Professional in the strictest sense means we are paid to be a standing military force; however, professionalism is more at the heart of what we strive for and what the comment implied.

Do we really hold ourselves to standards of conduct and behavior that others could judge as professional and would they consider the military a moral institution?

Professionalism is more than standards of conduct or behavior; it includes how we interact with people in and out of our organization. We strive to make the best moral choices possible in the situations we face.

Professionally caring for our team members is more than talking about being a wingman or encouraging resilience. It includes being involved and interested in their lives, learning about their strengths, weaknesses, struggles and personal life in order to help each other.

As professionals, it is our job to build a cohesive team. Each member of the team has certain strengths and weaknesses; we strive to capitalize on the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses. We develop each member to be more effective through increasing their strengths and improving, mitigating, and or compensating for their weaknesses.

Professionals strive to live out the golden rule: "treat others how you would like to be treated," in words, in attitudes and in actions. We work together as a team. We take care of each other. We teach and train each other to be better at our jobs and to increase efficiency. We should be more concerned with helping each other succeed and less concerned about ourselves. If we live as a professional community, then Gen. George Patton's statement, "If I do my full duty, the rest will take care of itself," will be true.

If we succeed as a team, we will succeed as individuals.