Inspirational Leadership

“Foster an environment that motivates, develops, and inspires leaders who translate ideas into bold actions that shape future generations.” This is the vision statement my team and I came up with a couple of years ago and have modified annually since then. I’ve chosen to live by it each day in my work center by being the best leader I could and doing my best to inspire those around me. My team is amazing and did the same in the classrooms. We know change needs to happen, we hear the stories of our students daily and understand the impacts our teachings can have across the Air Force and beyond.

I’m in the middle of a transition right now, heading back into my normal career field, and I’ve been pondering my journey. In the last 2 and a half years of my career, I’ve watched over 1200 students walk through the doors of my schoolhouse, many leaving inspired to take what they’ve learned and translate it into bold actions that will shape future generations. We didn’t win them all. We did win most, though. Even if half of our students were to take what they learned in the classrooms and translate it into their leadership styles with 1-2 of their Airmen who decided to follow suit and do the same, and so on, the ripple effect could be endless.

How do I go from having that kind of impact back to working in a dental clinic and still feel like I’m making a difference? Don’t get me wrong, treating patients is rewarding, especially given our current COVID-19 situation. I’m actually quite curious to see how we are treating patients when this illness is transmitted through respiratory droplets and we sit inches away from the patient’s respiratory system during a whole procedure while constantly creating aerosols. It's just that we are seeing one patient at a time versus many and we aren't really inspiring change on a grand scale. I know that I want to continue to make a positive impact beyond my unit. Really, it’s more of a need now, a strong impulse to be greater than me and my small circle.

I’m currently working on a post-graduate certification in executive coaching because I plan to continue guiding and educating leaders so we can all make our organizations into work centers that people look forward to coming in to. This starts with shifting the mindset from task-focused to people-focused. It’s the people who get the tasks done and sometimes we as leaders lose sight of that during our daily grind.

Inspiring others has never been my strong suit. I’m very much a logical person, “this is what we need, and this is why.” Much more than that is needed to inspire change. You must get them to feel it in their hearts. That is how it moves from an idea into action. It was much easier in the classrooms. We had time to ponder things and discuss what works and what doesn’t. It’ll have to shift into something different for me moving forward.

My new goal is to develop my inspirational speaking and writing skills. I want to make a positive impact on the world, and I know how I can do that. It’s time to take action.

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