‘Safety first’ makes excellent leaders

  • Published
  • By Eglin Safety Office
  • Air Armament Center Safety Office
There are not many callings greater and bigger than to be responsible and accountable for the safety of our Nation's people and resources especially during the Global War on Terrorism.

Many of our most successful Air Force units in history were not necessarily the best funded, resourced or equipped, but became the best because of exemplary leadership -- the Tuskegee Airmen of the World War II fame clearly serves as an outstanding example.

I am not saying we all are the extraordinary caliber of a General Benjamin O. Davis Jr., but we can exhibit his unshakable faith in executing the safety mission.

It is my intent that the following safety leadership philosophy guides you as a "safety" professional on Team Eglin.

Maintain a positive attitude: Obviously, this is one of the most important aspects of leadership.

The difference between a good leader and a great one is a positive attitude especially in safety.

Listen: We don't learn anything when we are the ones doing the talking.
Try not to interrupt -- there is no surer way to lose someone's attention and disrespect than interrupting. As I always say, just because we live and work in safety doesn't mean we have all "good safety ideas."

Self critique: Be sure to critique yourself--as a safety professional. It is a challenge to get honest feedback. We can always find new ways to do things better.

Be solution-focused: Focus your energy and effort on solutions, not problems. Be inclusive -- it is an investment and helps to get a unity of effort for Team Eglin. Don't bypass problems -- safety is tough and every opportunity missed could cost us people and resources, and jeopardize the mission.

Stay engaged and mentor: Reach out as a safety professional. Invest the time and energy to help everyone reach their full potential. Sharing your knowledge and experience is an important legacy to help grow future safety leaders and professionals.

Stay in shape ... mentally, physically and spiritually: Saying, "I don't have time" is a choice. We all have 24 hours in our day -- how we use it is a personal decision.

The safety leadership road is paved with many challenges, no special privileges, and specific obligations.

Each of our abilities to be Safety Leaders and be recognized as Safety Professionals is vital to the success of our missions and the continued freedom of our great Nation.

I am glad you are up to the safety challenge we have at Team Eglin.