An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Taking care starts with you

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Dante Gipson
  • 79th Air Refueling Squadron
I hope all of you here at home station get a break sometime this summer to enjoy the company of family and friends and relax. To those whom are deployed, thank you, and your families, for your sacrifices and for the important work being done around the world.

I don't have any pithy quotes from famous people or statistical information to pass along. I'd just like to share some lessons I've learned that still hold true today as we move into an operational culture.

* Be prepared for whatever may come your way. Do your homework, investigate and get the answers. Plan and be proactive in everything you do.

* Some things you cannot change. This does not mean you accept defeat. If at first you do not succeed, find another way. Certain factors in life you cannot change. Learn to accept those you can't change and find a way to accomplish your goals in spite of them.

* If you make a mistake, admit it and learn from it. Don't just shrug and keep wandering on aimlessly. Learn from your mistakes as well as from others around you so you can be ready when you face the circumstances again. Put new lessons in your toolbox for the next time.

* Mentor those whose development with which you are charged. Make sure they can do your job some day. Teach them from your experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly. Share your successes and failures and tell them how you handled them. Make it a teaching moment so you can make them better leaders.

* Anyone can be an armchair quarterback. Managing from the rear will get you little to no respect and people will not be motivated. Lead from the front, show people that you are not asking them to do anything you are not ready, willing and able to do yourself.

* If things go bad, I did it. If things go good, we did it. If things go really good, you did it. Enable and motivate people to accomplish the mission and whenever possible, help them enjoy it. Give a sense of accomplishment and make sure people are recognized for it. When the heat comes down, you are out front taking the heat.

* It's not about you. It's about the people. When you take care of your people, help them accomplish their goals and live up to their potential, great things will happen. Not only does the mission get accomplished, innovation and excellence ensue. The things that legends are made of can happen when you realize it's not about you and you take care of your people.

Three important phrases have guided my path: Never say never. Don't burn any bridges. Treat people the way you want to be treated. How many times have we seen the government wheel turn 180 degrees?

You never know when life will change course and you will have to turn the wheel.