The ABCDE's of life, leadership

  • Published
  • By Col. Dave Julazadeh
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Vice Commander
Sabers, Wow!

I've only been at Spangdahlem for a couple of months and am totally impressed. From "fire in the hole" to "grilled cheese to IDs" to "Griffins feed the fight" to "we're here, don't stress; MDOS," you're an incredible team that continually displays pride and professionalism despite all that has been thrown your way. Your dedication to the mission, the Airmen and families helped secure the Installation Excellence Award win and ensured success through multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. I am convinced there is no better team in the U.S. Air Force.

Chief Master Sgt. Sandra Miller, our esteemed Saber Command Chief, suggested I "craft a short E-Herald article to share my perspective on life and leadership...but keep it short." Notice the word "short" twice -- I think she was telling me something. So, here it is; what I call my "ABCDE's" of life and leadership.

Air Force Core Values.

Integrity. It's binary--it's either on or off, you have it or you don't. Integrity is who you are in the dark when no one is looking. Once you lose it, it's hard to get back.

Service. Regardless of rank, position, whether you are a leader or a follower, your job is to serve and learn. Serve the leaders above you, serve the followers below you and learn everything you can to make yourself and those you lead better.

Excellence. Set high standards and always seek world class.

Balance. We all work hard every day, but it's important that we remain physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually balanced.

Physical: Getting adequate rest, nutrition and always meeting fitness standards.

Mental: Education helps you maintain mental agility and increases your knowledge base. You should continually strengthen your mind through self-study or via formal and or informal classes. Young Abraham Lincoln said, "I will study and prepare myself, and someday my chance will come."

Emotional: Developing personal, trusted relationships with family, friends and co-workers provides a safe environment to exchange ideas, values and experiences.

Spiritual: Means having peace of mind with what you believe in. It strengthens your beliefs, principles and values and gives you a sense of comfort.

Compassion. I see compassion as being sensitive or aware of the needs, wants and desires of others. A good wingman knows and cares about the people they work with, work for and who work for them. I often tell leaders they should know their people personally and professionally, know their dreams and goals, how they are performing and if they are having problems outside work. Another important piece to compassion is treating everyone with dignity and respect. Every Airman has a role in accomplishing the mission and should be thanked and appreciated for their contributions. When you diminish another person, you weaken their ability to contribute.

Dialogue. Communication is two-way; you need to transmit and receive for it to be effective. We don't wake up in the morning and say, "I'm gonna fail today." We fail at a task because we don't have the right tools, the right training or the proper guidance; the root cause is usually poor communication. Another important aspect of dialogue is feedback. Regardless of your position or rank, you should provide and ask for feedback as often as necessary, not just during formal feedback sessions.

Expert. Become technically and tactically proficient; become an expert. Know and follow the rules, Air Force Instructions, technical orders and procedures. Don't blindly follow; don't blindly lead.

There it is; a simple man's perspective on life and leadership. I apply the "ABCDE's" to every aspect of my life with the Air Force Core Values as my foundation. If you ask my wife, Kate, and my daughter, Isabel, they will tell you I need a lot more B, C and D. Yeah, I'm still working on it ladies.

Thank you all for what you do each day. I look forward to working with and getting to know all of our outstanding Sabers and their families as we continue to defend American and alliance interests anywhere, anytime as Europe's sentry and avenger.