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Leadership Lessons: Get'r Done

  • Published
  • By Col. Terri Bailey
  • 319th Medical Group commander
The people who depend on you expect you to get the job done. It doesn't matter who depends on you; it can be anyone--your employer, your supervisor, your significant other, family, friend or even a total stranger. Think about the people in your life. Ask yourself, who can I depend on, and why? Leaders often describe their employees using three categories: 1) those who get it done, 2) those who have excuses as to why the job is not done, and 3) those more than happy to let someone else do it. Recently, I heard it described as "those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who don't know it happened." Which category are you in? And more importantly, which category do the people who count on you put you in?

Let me share some of the experiences I had as a leader with people in all three categories. First, let's start with the people in category No. 1, those who get it done. This is the group most want on their team. These folks are very successful at what they do and are highly respected by those who depend on them. They become "go-to" people. These people are trusted and rarely micromanaged because they have a reputation for getting it done. Generally they are self-motivated by the task at hand and their ultimate reward is the personal gratification they receive for a job well done. The people in this group don't have to be the most talented or most intelligent, but they find innovative ways to succeed through legal, moral and ethical means. They support and utilize their team members, and they don't care who gets the credit; their goal is victory. We all know that it takes hard work and commitment to obtain success. This group of people finds ways around road blocks and shrugs off setbacks. They don't accept defeat.

Conversely, the folks in category No. 2 are happy to provide you with a list of reasons why the job wasn't accomplished. It's been my experience that the people in category No. 2 are intelligent and often very motivated individuals. However, intelligent and motivated does not necessarily equal effective. They are often very busy, usually working harder, not smarter. Unlike category No. 1, they become deterred when faced with obstacles and often give up. They spend more time talking, writing or briefing about why they can't do something than they will spend on finding an alternate course of action. The members in this group have a track record of not getting it done. They usually require close monitoring by their supervisors, and team members may not trust or rely on them. The quarterback thinks twice about throwing to this particular receiver when the game is on the line. And he will not even consider throwing the ball to the person identified in category No. 3.

The members in category No. 3 are simply members listed on the team roster. They may or may not contribute to the game. They are usually motivated by rules and regulations, and don't necessarily believe in the team's mission or vision. They are also described as your clock punchers; those who show up at starting time and leave at quitting time. They do what's required or what they can get away with. Often these members are unsuccessful compared to their peers. They are labeled as wallflowers, benchwarmers or troublemakers. These are the people picked last for a team...if selected at all.

In which category does your employer, your supervisor, your significant other, family and friends identify you? Can they depend on you to get the job done most of the time? No one is perfect. We are human, and we all make mistakes. Sometimes there is solution and we may not win the battle, but did you fight the good fight or find another course of action or find a way to mitigate the problem? As the military faces ongoing budget constraints, the team is getting smaller. In order for the Air Force to obtain its Global Reach, Global Vigilance and Global Power mission, we need engaged Airmen contributing to the mission and finding innovative solutions to our obstacles. Warriors of the North can no longer afford to have benchwarmers. We need everyone to be contributing team member (active duty, Reserves, Guard, civilians, contractors, volunteers, etc.) to obtain victory! Get'r Done!