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NEWS | Jan. 19, 2007

How does your leadership style affect those around you?

By Capt. Kelli Beaty 437th Airlift Wing Military Equal Opportunity chief

During the course of your career in the military you may have heard various people state they are "just one person" and that they are not responsible for the morale of others, adding if someone can not "handle it" maybe they should just get out of the military.

I will allow that everyone has their own leadership style. Some lead by example and people naturally follow in their wake. Some lead by encouragement and people follow to please or because they have been motivated to strive for excellence. Others lead through fear and intimidation or with strict discipline. Each style of leadership has its place.

There are times when we need to look to someone for guidance -- to emulate their success. Then there are times when we feel beaten down by high ops tempo or difficulties at home and we just need someone in our corner to lend that helping hand and reaffirm that this too will pass. Additionally, there are times when we need that drill sergeant in our face, telling us not to think, but to do. Sometimes we need a combination of each.

As individuals and leaders, we also need to be perceptive of how our leadership style affects those around us. For many leaders it is unrealistic to cater to each individual person's needs. However, if our actions are such that people dread coming to work each day because the fear of potential interaction is causing poor performance, we might need to look to ourselves for the answer.

The demands on our people, from time away from family due to deployments, to the strain of doing more with less, affects each person differently. Some individuals become energized working under time constraints and are easily distracted or unfocused with too much free time, while others may become stressed out with the same conditions preferring to move at a more methodical pace. Regardless of leadership style, there are always those "stand out" leaders who manage to get the job done with the full support of those around them, even under the most trying circumstances. Whatever they are doing works for them; but most importantly, works for the people they lead. People are excited and positively motivated to achieve the highest results possible. They feel a part of the whole team. They know they are contributors and they revel in that feeling of accomplishment.

Each one of us has the ability to touch hundreds of people everyday. Take this opportunity to look inward and realize that you may be "only one person," but you have the potential of being that "stand out" leader that makes the difference to those you lead.