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What Does Leadership Mean to Me?

A graphic based on the feature, "What does leadership mean to me?" by SMSgt Torrie Stack. Created with vector graphics in Adobe Illustrator. (Designed by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

A graphic based on the feature, "What does leadership mean to me?" by SMSgt Torrie Stack. Created with vector graphics in Adobe Illustrator. (Designed by Airman 1st Class Valerie Seelye)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --

Recently I was asked, How I would define leadership and what I utilize to evaluate myself as a leader.  Unfortunately, I was not able to answer the questions right away, as I wanted to take time to look myself in the mirror and ask, “What does leadership mean to me and what do I use on an everyday basis to measure myself as a leader?”  Leadership is a noun that can be described in so many different ways, but through experience, the below is what leadership means to me and how I evaluate myself on a daily basis.  I hope you take the time to read my thoughts on leadership, but more importantly, figure out what leadership means to you to ensure you are doing your best as a leader each day.

Teach - Do I teach people what I want them to know or EVERYTHING they should know?  Am I selfish or selfless?

Mentor - Do I mentor people because it’s a requirement or due to the FACT I want to see them meet their FULL potential…even if it means they end up being better than me?

Inspire - Are people only inspired by my rank, accolades and position or do they respect my actual story:  the good, bad, challenges and the person I really am…Do I inspire on my worst days as I would on my best days?

Motivate - Do I motivate regardless of who is around or do I motivate for attention…i.e, a great bullet?

Know my people - Do I really know my people or am I just doing feedbacks?  Do I understand my people, know their story and what their vision in life is?  Do I understand/know myself?  If not, can I understand anyone else?

Take care of People - Do I take care of people doing all the great things people have done for me and haven’t done for me?  Or do I say I am taking care of people because it’s the POPULAR thing to say?

Service Before Self - Do I create great products and perform at a high level for recognition or because it is the right thing to do?

Finally, if I was standing with nine other people in front of a formation with 100 troops and told the formation to “go stand behind the person you want to lead you the rest of your career,” would my line be empty or would I have the most people?

Do I even want anyone in my line if I’m not a leader?