Leadership is crucial

Lt. Col. Tamara Duke

Lt. Col. Tamara Duke

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Leadership is crucial at all levels of the organization especially in a squadron as diverse as the 6th Force Support Squadron with 63 Air Force Specialty Codes, 60 buildings and nearly 600 employees.

Each Airman not only plays an integral role in being a member of the team, but also in building the team. It takes active participation by all personnel (military, Department of Defense civilians, Numbered Air Force civilians, and contractors) to propel the squadron forward and meet or exceed the expectations, mandates, requirements and regulations.

A few leadership principles I use while leading this awesome squadron include: live the Air Force core values (internalize these), teamwork (you cannot do this alone), trust your gut (it is what got you where you are), listen to your Senior NCOs (they have a great perspective and experience), value your teammates (make sure they know this), be consistent (discipline, no favoritism, etc.), be kind, praise in public, be cheerful (your team feeds off of your demeanor), be resilient (there will be good and bad days; you have to be able to bounce back), communicate (commander's calls, out and about, meals, morale building events, etc.) and try to add laughter to every day (humor is so important).

An example of a time where I listened to my leadership team was when I supported the submission of the Hennessy package for the Diner's Reef Dining Facility under the Food Transformation Initiative category. I was concerned because in past inspections the Hennessy team was very hard on the DFAC members; however, I listened to my flight commander and SNCO who assured me that our staff was up for the challenge along with their daily responsibilities and NORI preparation. I concurred, submitted the package, and I am thrilled to announce that the 6th Force Support Squadron's Diner's Reef Dining Facility Team earned the 2015 Air Force Hennessy Trophy for Excellence as the "Best in Air Force Food Transformation."

The Hennessy award is very difficult to win...my previous squadrons have been very close, but this is the first time I have been part of the team that clinched victory! The award is earned by those displaying an outstanding level of proficiency in providing for the food service needs of our Airmen. Our DFAC members displayed excellence in Management Effectiveness, Force Readiness Support, Food Quality, Employee and Customer Relations, Training, and Safety Awareness. To meet the requirements, it took a level of teamwork and leadership up and down the chain and across all levels including all of our Airmen (military, DoD civilians, NAF civilians, and our ARAMARK and Ability One contractors). Everyone had an important part to play. That is what it takes to breed success. Have a goal and work together towards meeting it. In the 6th FSS, we are always working to improve ourselves, our team, our customer service and our squadron. Today, we are going to enjoy this win!