Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. Phillip Robinson
8th Fighter Wing
10/5/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- Recently,
I was asked the difference between a good NCO and a great NCO. Well, I
answered the question as best I could, but failed to mention
You see, a good NCO sets his sights on just meeting standards, while a
great NCO is continually trying to exceed standards and motivates his
Airmen to do the same.
Webster's Dictionary defines the word "standard" as something
established by authority, custom or general consent as a model or
example. It also defines it as a measure of quantity, weight, extent,
value or quality.
Do you prepare for your PT test not knowing what it will take to pass?
Do you perform an operational check on a jet without knowing the
technical order pass-fail limits? Do you get a tattoo not knowing what
is acceptable per Air Force Instruction 36-2903, "Dress and Personal
Appearance of Air Force Personnel"?
Recently, the Air Force published Air Force Instruction 1-1, "Air Force
Standards." It took guidance from different sources and put it into one
instruction that we can all easily refer to. This instruction covers
standards that have been around for decades and added new standards that
deal with issues that face our Airmen today such as social media, the
wingman concept, resiliency, etc. It also serves as a great tool during
official feedback sessions.
Now why is this important? As a custom or example, Airmen need to
reflect a professional image that encompasses proper dress and behavior.
If you need a haircut or your uniform needs attention, take the
necessary time to make sure you represent your unit and the Air Force in
the right manner.
Demonstrate proper customs and courtesies by standing up when a senior
member visits your work center; respond to him or her by saying Sir,
Ma'am, Chief or Sergeant. As a measure of quantity or quality, when you
perform your daily duties, you need to know the requirements of that
task and try to get it done in a timely, cost effective and quality
manner to assure we exceed the minimums of what is being asked of us.
Bottom line, have pride in oneself and in your workmanship.
How will you know if you are meeting and exceeding standards? Through
timely and proper feedback and encouragement from your supervisors so
you clearly understand what is expected of you. Also, demanding
perfection from yourself so you can assure you will exceed the standard
I've heard from time to time what we allow in our presence becomes the
standard. As supervisors we cannot make excuses for our Airmen and allow
them to ignore our Air Force core values. We would be doing them a
disservice and putting their careers in jeopardy.
So know, abide and exceed the standard for yourselves and your Airmen so
the next time someone thanks you for your service, you will walk away
sharing the same pride they have for you!