Attitude really is everything

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Kersey
  • 62nd Security Forces Squadron
Not long after I was selected for promotion to chief master sergeant, a fellow senior master sergeant who would soon be taking an assignment to another base, asked me if I would keep an eye out for the interests of another junior senior noncommissioned officer after his departure.

Now, I understand my role as a mentor and I also understand the need to identify those Airmen and noncommissioned officers who are properly preparing themselves for promotion and increased responsibility, but I was frustrated by his request. A quote by French playwright Moliere immediately came to my mind, "It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable." My frustration was indicative of Moliere's observation - I had never seen this particular individual at any Top Three meeting, I had never seen him involved in any wing volunteer effort, I didn't sit with him on an award sub-committee and I wasn't aware of his involvement in any professional development seminars.

I expressed my concern with my fellow senior master sergeant. He told me the individual was not a "politician" and didn't want to "kiss butt", so to speak, in order to get promoted. This feedback was shocking. I had to ask myself what is it that made this individual deserving of additional opportunities for professional growth? Our own professional development guide states: "Professionalism is a standard expressed by attitudes and commitments and by the internalization of the values of service." This individual clearly did not have a positive attitude and was not committed to embracing positive goals, nor did he deserve to be empowered.

Winston Churchill once said: "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." As Airmen strive for consideration for promotion Below the Zone, students attending professional military education make every effort to be recognized for leadership awards and senior noncommissioned officers compete for stratification and senior rater endorsements, attitude plays a huge role! Attitude, both good and bad, governs the way a person perceives the world and the way the world perceives a person.

As leaders develop subordinates we are challenged to lead by example. It is our duty to be positive role models by doing and by paying attention to what is important. I encourage Airmen and noncommissioned officers both to find those individuals who are getting the results. Watch them carefully to see what kind of attitude they have and how they express that attitude, and then copy them. One of my mentors gave me two pieces of very worthwhile advice, (1) actions speak louder than words and (2) attitudes are contagious. What do your actions say about you and is your attitude worth catching?