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Good leadership requires a vision

  • Published
  • By Gene Gallogly
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Director
The National Security Personnel System spiral 1.1 is nearing the end of the first appraisal cycle, and with it is a chance for all of us under the new system to assess how we've done and what we need to do to make the system more effective.

As I set about the task of drafting guidance for new performance plans for civil engineers, I realized I could compartmentalize our service to the customer under a few broad categories: leadership, management, production, and communication.

To be successful, employees must engage in all four; the percentage of which depends on their role in the organization and the maturity of their programs.

Production and communication is fairly self explanatory. Producing work, whether that work involve your skills as a craftsman in repairing a component or perhaps technical proficiency in planning or design, is the fundamental element of our mission here at Tinker.

In order to deliver those goods and services, we also have to communicate within our team, with other teams, with our customers, with suppliers, and with many other organizations and individuals.

Management is also a straight-forward concept. We manage work processes to deliver our products on-time, at an agreed upon cost, and at the appropriate level of quality. We have many tools to help us manage our work, and we generally learn to manage better through a combination of education, experience, and adapting proven techniques.

We usually have several metrics to measure how well we manage, and we use those metrics to assess performance under the NSPS objectives.

Leadership is a little harder concept to grasp and measure, but it is fundamental to NSPS. Leadership is about setting goals for the organization, establishing a culture for success, being an example, and inspiring others to do their part in order to successfully accomplish the mission.

Every civil engineer dreams of designing an award winning, architecturally stunning building that becomes the hallmark of an installation. However, that kind of achievement can only be labeled a success if the facility enables the customer to better meet their mission.

NSPS moves beyond superficial accolades and focuses on mission impact, with leadership underpinning that focus.

Given its importance, we decided to establish a performance objective around the concept of leadership. It states that a good leader establishes a clear vision and appropriate goals for their element of the organization that contribute to the accomplishment of broader mission objectives and goals. They achieve those goals through effective planning, resource advocacy and prioritization, monitoring and communicating progress, and management redirection as required.

Most importantly, a good leader exemplifies the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence in all we do. They maintain our Air Force culture and they set the example for others.

I believe NSPS will focus our attention on the principles of good leadership and will reward those who take risks and achieve success for their organization. In that light, I also think it was appropriate for Tinker to have been chosen for spiral 1.1. We have outstanding leaders and have achieved remarkable successes in the center and throughout our many associate units.

As we move into our second cycle, let us continue to focus on the principles of leadership that enabled those successes and drive continuous improvement.