First of all … Servant of all
By Major Jamaal Mays, 366th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
/ Published August 24, 2010
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Service: it's the reason I joined the Air Force and I have always found it a motivating principle. Service guides how I set priorities and my subsequent actions. I am blessed to have the opportunity to hold the best job in the United States Air Force - squadron commander; a job of servitude that affords me the ability to impact the lives of Airmen every day. In laymen terms, allow me to share my leadership perspective.
Service to my country was indeed the driving reason behind me joining the Air Force. I wanted to be part of something truly special and I am extremely proud to be a member of the greatest Air Force ever created. My leadership philosophy is extremely simple; live by the Air Force core values, and do my best to empower Airmen to collectively solve problems bigger than any single person could. While integrity is the foundation of my leadership, and I unapologetically accept nothing less than the pursuit of excellence in everything we do, I must admit, the principle I most champion, is Service Before Self. In fact, my leadership philosophy is "First of all, servant of all,"-- words I live by.
I believe leaders have a responsibility to take care of the needs of their subordinate and I agree with boxing great Muhammad Ali, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth." Some time ago, I realized that my role as a leader had nothing to do with pushing a personal agenda, but instead had everything to do with taking care of Airmen ... of all ranks. "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,"--Mahatma Gandhi
Let me clarify that integrity does not play second fiddle to service. As I stated above integrity is the foundation of my leadership, and as a leader in the profession of arms, the decisions I make must be above perception of favoritism, selfishness and even indecision. Nevertheless, my personal conviction is to place the needs of my subordinates above my own. I firmly believe that by taking care of my Airmen, I ensure the mission's success. Taking care of Airmen is my heart's ambition and here is my secret:
1) I strive to clearly state expectations and consequences
2) If expectations are not met, I give immediate and direct feedback
3) Always, always, always reward excellence
4) Make time to mentor your Airmen, especially first-line supervisors.
Find out what first-line supervisors need and get it to them. We put a lot on our young supervisors -- if you don't invest time where the rubber meets the road, you'll end up off course with no idea how you got there.
I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to impact so many lives. I just try to earn that privilege every day. Service: it's the reason I joined the Air Force, and it continues to drive my actions today. I'm proud to be a servant of all!