It’s the Little Things

Success in leadership is about how you treat people, CMSAF Rodney McKinley said Friday. “Care about your airmen; make sure they know you care,” he said at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. McKinley said all it takes are little acts from leadership to show airmen that they are valued, such as a pat on the back, a simple “How ya doing?” or even extending a birthday greeting. Yet these simple acts can “mean the world” to someone, he said. To illustrate his point, McKinley cited the case of a command chief master sergeant at Eielson AFB, Alaska, who, along with the base’s wing commander, would greet departing airmen at the base gate to wish them well and reinforce the message that they are valued. On one particular night of inclement weather, the command chief greeted a female airman and told her to be careful on the dangerous roads. This seemingly innocuous act gave the female airman, who later acknowledged she had been thinking about committing suicide that evening, the strength to carry on, McKinley explained. “You never know the impact you can have on someone’s life,” he said.