What you allow in your presence is your standard

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- I heard a quote the other day, "What you allow in your presence is your standard." Those are some strong words.

When thinking of a successful team, unit or even a leader, what characteristics come to mind? I think of dedication, strength, loyalty and an adherence to standards. Respect for rank of others, accountability, obeying orders and instructions, maintaining physical fitness and technical proficiency. All are standards we expect of our Airmen. By meeting or exceeding these standards one can practically ensure mission accomplishment and success.

A standard is an agreed upon, repeatable way of doing something. Standards help to make tasks simple and to increase the reliability and the effectiveness in our effort to accomplish the mission. Standards are found in Air Force instructions, maintenance technical orders and operating instructions.

No one wants to follow a weak leader or serve with Airmen who are permitted to do what they want, when they want. We want to work with disciplined, competent people who we can count on to get the job done. Basic military discipline is ingrained in us when we go through training at boot camp. For some reason, this level of discipline is diminished as time goes on.

Why does this happen?

Can it be we lose self discipline or that our leaders don't demand the high level of military discipline? It is the little things that matter: addressing Airmen by the proper term of address, saluting, following orders, standing up when speaking to a superior and making time to stay in shape. If we lose focus on the little things, bigger things will begin to slip.

All Airmen, regardless of whether they are commissioned officers, NCOs or junior enlisted, are charged with maintaining discipline and meeting standards. We should demand no less from ourselves or our Airmen.

My challenge to all Airmen is to lead by example, take pride in their jobs, enforce standards for everyone (not just those subordinate), recognize outstanding performance and correct poor performance.

What do you allow in your presence?