Leadership starts with you

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Rashone J. Tate
  • 81st Communications Squadron commander
Recall if you will the tale of King Arthur and the "Knights of the Round Table." It was King Arthur who withdrew the legendary Excalibur from the stone to prove his right to lead. It was Arthur who stepped up to the leadership challenge and united all the knights in the kingdom in a quest to build a better England.

Leadership is the initiative to seize new challenges. As a leader you have to embrace change and lead an organization into an unpredictable future in a fiscal constrained era. You are challenged to overcome unprecedented obstacles such as budgetary cuts and manpower shortages, but your ability to inspire others during these hard times will speak wonders of your leadership abilities. King Arthur, while a legend, was faced with similar leadership challenges, embraced change and viewed these challenges as opportunities.

There are many examples of great leaders. What is often lacking, however, is what distinguishes those who, on impulse, grab the opportunity to lead and those who wish they had grabbed the opportunity. Leaders lead people, and people follow leaders because they trust their direction, integrity and have confidence in the one who's leading.

As leaders, it is very important to avoid condescending behavior toward followers and never underestimate their value toward an organization. Never compromise nor jeopardize integrity, trust and respect from your followers. Once these key ingredients are lost they're very hard to get back. Every day when you drive through the gates of Keesler, you are presented with two choices: either you accept the challenge to lead or forever wonder.

Every endeavor requires leadership. Every Keesler member should want to be a leader. Imagine for a moment that the legendary Excalibur is before you and the stone represents our core values (integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do); it is the foundation of leadership. The sword is symbolic of your ability to cut through adversities, slash uncertainties, and seizing opportunities to make a difference. But, the question remains, "Will you accept the challenge?"

We accomplish amazing feats each time a student graduates, C-130 takes off, the Hospital saves a life, or an Airman deploys across the oceans combat-ready and mission-focused. None of this could be accomplished without dedicated leaders like you. Leadership is a challenge and it starts with you. Are you the one who dares to pull the sword from the stone and grab the opportunity to lead?