Past and Present Chiefs' Perspectives: Open and Honest Communication
By Shelly Petruska, Air Force Network Integration Center
/ Published February 12, 2014
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --
Recently, local Air Force Space Command units had the opportunity to meet and listen to former Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, Robert Gaylor and AFSPC Command Chief, Doug McIntyre, during all calls held at the Air Force Network Integration Center.
"Having the privilege to hear former CMSAF Gaylor and Chief McIntryre speak and share their breadth of experience and wisdom on the same day is something that doesn't happen very often, and I'm happy to have been a part of it," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Derby, a cyber ops defense journeyman for the 38th Cyberspace Readiness Squadron.
Gaylor, who served as the fifth CMSAF from 1977 to 1979, was invited here to speak at the Air Mobility Command Chiefs' Leadership Course, but also took time to speak with local AFSPC units. McIntyre spent two days meeting with local AFSPC personnel and understanding their mission firsthand.
At the first session, Gaylor shared some humorous stories about his Air Force career, the sacrifices he and his family made and his wisdom about how opportunity, aptitude and attitude are keys for success in a career as well as in life.
"Opportunity can be subtle, right in front of you and you may not even notice," said Gaylor. "You have to give to get...and make room for the new."
Gaylor asked the crowd what type of investments they were making for themselves.
"You have to make the investment today; tomorrow is too late," said Gaylor. "I controlled my knowledge level and willingness to apply it."
Investing in yourself develops aptitude, which is the second key measure of success Gaylor added. Aptitude is knowledge ability, skill and the constant pursuit of knowledge. He emphasized Airmen need to continue to read books, talk to people and take courses.
Gaylor then expanded on his third key to success, attitude.
"Attitude is desire, willingness and mental attitude," said Gaylor. "Check your own attitude...when you have aptitude, attitude and opportunity, you have success."
Gaylor said he loved being a cop and meeting people, and being an instructor for the Noncommissioned Officer Academy. Although the job wasn't always easy, he expressed how he always tried to keep a positive attitude.
"I loved being a cop. I loved being a PME Instructor. I didn't enjoy it, I loved it," emphasized Gaylor.
Gaylor's words of wisdom and passion for the Air Force resonated with and inspired the young leaders of today's Air Force.
"I liked that he said he wasn't the smartest person around but he just did his best at everything that came his way," said Senior Airman Katherine Fort, network server technician for the Air Force Network Integration Center. "That is definitely what I try and do with every situation that I am given."
When asked by a member of the audience on advice about how one can better handle today's current challenges in the Air Force, Gaylor emphasized the importance of being open and honest no matter what the situation.
"The key is openness and transparency," said Gaylor. "You can't always tell people what they want to know, but you can do your best...no one person has all the answers as they come from many sources, especially during these really tough times."
McIntyre not only foot stomped Gaylor's point of being open and honest, but carried that theme throughout his entire enlisted all call with the local AFSPC units.
"The first thing I want to say is, 'Thank you for your service,'" said McIntyre. "What you do is important each and every day."
McIntyre kicked off the all call by showing his appreciation for what AFSPC enlisted Airmen do for the Air Force. McIntyre then discussed applying for specialized job opportunities and explained changes with the military feedback forms and performance reports.
"I discovered that the Air Force is transitioning to a far more feedback-oriented culture, instead of purely basing performance reports on numbers and statistics," said Derby. "Having one-on-one discussions between subordinates and supervisors is more vital than ever."
As the session concluded, McIntyre emphasized a key role he has as the AFSPC Command Chief. He is the voice for the enlisted, and he will continue to bring the concerns from leadership to the Airmen and the concerns of the Airmen back to leadership.
"I represent you...that is my greatest honor," said McIntyre. "Each and every day I try to be the best Chief I can be. On the days I feel like I fall short, I get up the next day, brush myself off and I try to be the best Chief I can. At the end of the day...I am there to represent you and bring your concerns to leadership."