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Taking charge requires balance between lessons, reality

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Lastenita Schuster
  • 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron
The principles of leadership are at the forefront of our society and the demand for it has never been greater.

At every turn, we are confronted with examples of leadership successes or failures. We hear it in the media, we read about it in print and we discuss it in personal conversations.
The concept of leadership is not indigenous to the military. It's key in government, the corporate sector, private industry, sports and even our home lives.

Leadership is not an inherent trait. We cultivate it through formal education and training, observation of distinguished leadership skills in our immediate circle, world leaders, titans of business and through our own experience and practice.

More often than not, it is a constant struggle to balance what each one of us perceives leadership to be, what we are taught and situational circumstances that confront us each and every day.

At times, the concept can appear overwhelming. In current society, we are all challenged to be leaders regardless of rank, position and title or station in life.

The principles of leadership are not isolated to a privileged few. Understanding that leadership is a living, constantly evolving and dynamic concept, will help each one of us to attain a certain degree of comfort in learning the process and putting it into practice. The theories of yesterday are continually fine tuned and enhanced to meet the demands of a technologically advancing world.

One of the many hallmarks of true leadership is a desire to strive to be the best we can be for ourselves and those we lead, the courage to admit when we falter and the strength to stand when it's not the popular thing to do.

Additionally, we have an obligation to reach out to those placed in our charge to teach and allow them the ability to develop and place into practice their specific leadership styles. We should encourage, mentor and motivate not just the learning of the process, but the freedom to step up and apply the dynamics.

Leadership is not an easy path and it's rife with challenges, but the successes of our own leadership and, most importantly, the development of the leaders of tomorrow, brings a reward that simply cannot be measured.