Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Friday, March 13, 2015

18th AF commander shares leadership messages

by Airman 1st Class Erica Crossen
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

3/12/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- Dealing with change, focusing on ways to improve the workplace and developing leadership skills are just some of the messages the 18th Air Force commander shared with members of the 375th Air Mobility Wing during a visit here March 6.

The commander, Lt. Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, and his wife, Michele, along with 18th AF Command Chief Robert W. Rodewald, and his wife, Suzann, met with Airmen throughout the wing to learn more about the diverse mission at the base.

"This mission is so diverse, that people don't truly understand at times, and may not appreciate [the mission here]," said the general. "And what is most impressive are our Airmen, and I mean Airmen with a big 'A', who make this base run so seamlessly."

From the medical field to the chapel's mission, to the C-21 operations to communications and aeromedical evacuation, the general met with a variety of teams and "star performers" who shared their successes and current challenges with him. His wife also met with Airmen to discuss family related issues, single Airmen initiatives, dormitory living and spouse concerns and programs.

"There's a fever here--a fever in a good way--a great heartbeat that's going on, and people are happy and proud about what they do," Everhart said. "What really impressed me about this wing are the Airmen we've met who have accomplished great things by thinking outside the box. That's what it's all about for this Air Force."

During the visit, he and the command chief hosted an "All Call" to address concerns from Airmen and answer any questions they may have. He said many Airmen expressed concerns about uncertainties in the future of the Air Force in terms of sequestration and force reduction. Everhart said issues like these were nothing new for the Air Force, and not to worry but to focus on making improvements in work centers instead.

"[Making improvements] is the best way to navigate through worries," he said. "Do your job, do it well, and do it safely, effectively and efficiently, and the rest will fall into place."

He said he saw examples of that during his visit to the 54th Airlift Squadron as Airmen explained how they remedied a potential flood damage issue to the landing gear of the C-21. They placed protective plastic over the front landing gear, so in the event of a flood, they could avoid costly replacements until the larger issue of the flooding zone could be fixed.

Everhart said he stays open-minded and doesn't believe in bad ideas, just in ideas that could be improved upon.

"They're using their heads," said Everhart, "The Airmen of this wing are out there getting it done, and finding new ways to do it."

Additionally, he said there will always be changes ahead, so people can choose to embrace them or go against them.

"I would offer to choose to embrace the change, and then seek out ways to change things in your favor that are positive," Everhart said.

Personally and professionally, times do become demanding for all Airmen and the general described what helps him remain positive in his own times of heightened stress.

"When I'm low on energy, I go out and talk to people, and I need to do more of that, because you can easily get wrapped around the desk."

He cites "management by walking about" as an adopted philosophy to better know the people who complete the mission. He said his other outlet is the gym, which helps him relieve stress, have a clear and open mind, and that helps him tackle a lot of issues.

If Airmen remain positive and continue to do the great things they're doing for the mission, "we will ensure the Air Force succeeds without a doubt," he said. "If Airmen keep doing the things that they're doing, we'll be all right. We are the greatest airpower ever, because of our Airmen."

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