By Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Warren
62nd Airlift Wing command chief
The phrase “servant leader” was brought into the mainstream back in 1970 in an essay published by Mr. Robert Greenleaf. In this writing, he defines a servant-leader as someone who “is a servant first.” Servant leadership isn’t about positions and titles. Instead, it is an attitude that says people and relationships are important, valuable and essential to mission success.
What does it mean to me? It’s very simple. Putting the needs of your fellow Airmen first. Is this convenient? No. Is it rewarding? Absolutely! There is nothing more satisfying than to see someone you’ve worked with succeed. That is what personally drives me in the capacity I serve.
We often talk about getting to know one another and being good Wingmen to each other. For those in supervisory positions, we emphasize getting eyeball-to-eyeball with your Airmen, daily if possible, to identify when something might not be quite right with them.
For the servant-leader this isn’t a chore, it is an imperative embedded in their DNA; they genuinely care about others and know that mission success absolutely depends on individual successes of those around them.
In my opinion, some great examples of servant-leaders throughout history may be Jesus, Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr. These leaders absolutely put the needs of others before their own and, because of it, are considered some of the greatest, most beloved leaders to have ever lived.
An unknown author once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.”
John C. Maxwell, famous leadership mentor and pastor said this, “True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader.”
These two quotes are at the heart of servant-leadership and define your leaders here on McChord Field.
In closing, I’ll say that leadership to me isn’t about the number of stripes on your sleeve or the shape or color of the rank on your shoulders; it is about serving others. No matter what capacity you serve in. I believe that success isn’t defined by how much you personally achieve but on how much those you influence achieve. Does this define you as a leader?
Photo: Chief Master Sgt. Gregory Warren is the 62nd Airlift Wing command chief at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)