Check your attitude, then check it again

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Sheri Bennington
  • 700th Contracting Squadron Commander
I am a new commander here in the 86th AW, and I learn something new every day about the great mission of this wing, its many different tenants and the many missions on our installation. The work being accomplished by so many is nothing short of amazing and your contribution is vital to the success of the mission, no matter what your rank or position may be.

With that, I want to explain a little about how I see attitudes through one of my family's favorite movies.

The Scene:
The TC Williams High School football team (Alexandria VA - 1974) is in Gettysburg for their annual summer camp. In addition to learning the normal football skills required to have a successful season, the team has to deal with adversity in the form of race integration. The team is divided and not practicing well.

The Event:
The Caucasian team captain, and defensive linebacker (Gerry Bertier) calls out one of the African American defensive players (Julius Campbell) for not doing his part as a fellow linebacker. Bertier compliments Julius on his raw talent, but then says his attitude as well has his effort was poor. His reply, "Attitude reflects leadership, captain" (he uttered with a sneer).

The Result: (Spoiler Alert)
This caused Bertier to re-evaluate his own leadership style. Soon after that exchange, the attitude of the team captain (Bertier) changed, which, in turn, causes an attitude change in the entire team. Shortly thereafter, the whole team comes together to go on to a 13-0, state-championship season. It's a true story, and a telling lesson on attitude, because truly, "attitude reflects leadership."

How does your attitude help or hurt the morale and cohesiveness of your unit? Do you come in everyday with a "let's get it done" mentality? Or with the weight of the world on your shoulders? Everyone has rough spots and tough times (yes, everyone, zero exceptions), but in order to contribute positively to your unit, your family and your community, your attitude must be positive. It is the one thing you can control among the many you cannot.

Said another way - only you can determine how you respond to a situation, criticism, or other incidents in your life which affect your mood, disposition and your attitude. Personally, I try to come in every day with a positive attitude, a good sense of humor and the ever popular - witty sarcasm.

Fellow leaders, first-line supervisors, make sure your airmen, civilians and local nationals know how important they are, and ensure you are not negatively infecting your unit by your own attitude. All others - don't let a negative attitude hurt the morale or cohesiveness of your unit. Find ways to be a positive influence on your unit, your family and your community.

A great personal motto from my Commodity Flight Chief, Capt. Adam Vance: "Negative attitudes are cancerous and poisonous while positive attitudes are contagious and are a force multiplier." If you are having trouble finding ways to have a good attitude - come see me, I can help.