Effort + Attitude + Choices = Exceptional Dover Airmen
By Chief Master Sgt. Shae Gee, 436th Airlift Wing command chief
/ Published July 30, 2019
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The month of July has been a whirlwind, as I have quickly become immersed in Dover Air Force Base’s mission. Every single Airman (Officer, Enlisted, and Civilian) who works at Dover plays a key role in providing and sustaining airlift and aerial refueling across the armed forces in various capacities. I am completely impressed and in awe of how our Airmen were able to share what they do and how that is linked to the mission and vision of our base. Our Airmen shared Team Dover’s successes, innovations they crafted to improve various processes and programs and their ambitions to improve manning and training. Robert Collier’s quote aptly describes the compounding effect of individual Airmen’s contributions: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” EVERY decision matters! The level of effort, which is one of three areas that embody my expectations for our team, can make all the difference in the attention to detail that we give towards our job skills, knowledge, personal readiness and team cohesion.
Our core value, “Excellence in All We Do,” really and truly explains what our level of effort should be. Throughout my immersions, the efforts that our Airmen put forward every day really make me secure in knowing they are truly focused on the mission at hand. Many of our Airmen are working in capacities above their current ranks. They are pushing the limits of the norm while accomplishing their jobs safely and efficaciously. General Daniel “Chappie” James, the first African-American U.S. Air Force four-star general, expressed, “The power of excellence is overwhelming. It is always in demand, and nobody cares about its color.” The diversity of efforts by our Airmen at Dover and in the Air Force makes us stronger and better as the individual efforts of Airmen combine to create a holistic team approach. The level of effort is not effective by itself; an Airman’s attitude is essential to creating a culture of cohesion.
Attitude is my second area that is key to unit cohesion, which is rooted in our core value, “Integrity First.” Have you ever heard, “Positivity breeds positivity”? When you walk into a work center on an immersion (even with the best people placed in front of you), whether as a customer or because you work there, it only takes a few minutes to get an understanding of the dynamics and how people are feeling. This is shared through interactions, eye contact and/or watching how the Airmen carry themselves (confidence, determination and self-control). One individual that allows negativity to pervade becomes that much closer to affecting the level of effort and the attitude of others in that work center/unit, thus leading to the deterioration of mission effectiveness. We have leaders at all levels; it is imperative to have inclusiveness amongst all members of the team. John C. Maxwell said it best, “Good leadership isn’t about advancing yourself. It’s about advancing your team.” Our team is advancing in so many areas; I cannot help but be excited to become a part of the Team Dover. When you combine attitude and effort with choices, the Whole Airman concept starts to take shape.
As a person, an Airman makes choices that create various outcomes. Our core value, “Service Before Self,” is a direct reflection of choices that our Airmen are making each and every day … to do better and to be better. First and foremost, our Airmen made the choice, the commitment, to join the world’s greatest Air Force. We are elite, and in order to continue to remain elite, we must consistently and continually grow, develop and train our Airmen while enforcing standards and discipline. Standards and discipline exist for a reason, in which consistent enforcement ensures it becomes second nature in everyday work and life.
In an article published April 29, 2019, in the Air Force Comptroller Magazine, Airman 1st Class Chad Dayton from 51st Comptroller Squadron, Osan Air Base, gave his perspective on the Whole Airman Concept: “It’s the practice of consistently bettering yourself, those you come in contact with, and your environment as a whole…What defines a person is their habits. Their conscious, continued actions will ultimately lead them to success or regret.” Everything Airman 1st Class Dayton describes evolves from choices. Every Airman has the choice to be the best Airman they can be, following standards and discipline while becoming an expert at their job and growing as a leader.
Good choices, combined with a high level of effort and a positive attitude, create an environment of cohesion and respect. Every unit I have seen over the last month has made me believe that Team Dover has the most exceptional Airmen! I look forward to working for all of you, each and every day. As I get out and about, I am motivated to learn and work right alongside each of you in an effort to better understand what you do. Thank you for being inspiring and energizing in your roles that provide Rapid Global Airlift, Combat Ready Airmen and Unrivaled Installation Support.