Joint Base Charleston


Diamond Tip: Why am I here?

By Senior Master Sgt. Jack Fox | 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron first sergeant | August 21, 2013

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Why am I here? Recently, I had to ask myself this question. I had become so caught up in the day-to-day administrative process, work, school, family and personal issues that I lost focus on the reason I am here.

Fortunately I am surrounded by the best people in the world, between my outstanding first sergeant peers, members of my squadron and all of my fellow wingman across Joint Base Charleston. From within this group, I received a needed gut check and remembered the reason I am here is to be a servant leader.

What is a servant leader? It's really very simple; a servant leader is someone who practices the idea of first serving, then leading people. This philosophy was developed by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s. He stated, "Servant leaders serve the people he/she leads." This implies that your people are an end in themselves rather than just a means to a finished product, organizational purpose or bottom line.

To remind myself of this, I thought about our second core value: service before self. Then I remembered the term sergeant originated from the Latin term serviēns and literally means to serve.

Does "I joined the Air Force to serve my country" ring a bell?"
I looked up the definition of service and found Merriam Webster defines it as "the contribution to the welfare of others." I don't think there is a better definition than this one.
Now back to Greenleaf's philosophy. He offered 10 keys to servant leadership.

1. Listening: effective communication is critical and receiving the message is the key.

2. Empathy: understanding the feelings of others and being able to feel how other people feel.

3. Healing: a willingness to help other people solve their own problems.

4. Awareness: being observant, perceptive and sensitive to changes.

5. Persuasion: to influence with openness and honesty, not to manipulate in order to get things done.

6. Conceptualization: seeing the big picture.

7. Foresight: visualizing long term outcomes of current plans and operations.

8. Stewardship: caring for individuals and the job (mission) while simultaneously building a strong team.

9. Commitment: deliberately developing future leaders and assisting them achieve results.

10. Building a community: every individual knows what the goal is and they have an important part in its achievement.
This list is not all inclusive. As long as serving people is the outcome it does not matter how you get there. I would recommend taking what you can use from this list and or coming up with your own ideas of serving others. The bottom line resonates in a familiar saying that goes, "take care of the people first, and the people will take care of the mission."

To my fellow first sergeants, squadron members and JB Charleston teammates, thanks for the reminder. I needed it.

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