COMMENTARY – Atmosphere 6: Attitude

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The Command Chief's "12 Atmospheres" are designed to invoke a monthly focus on simple everyday concepts that sometimes get lost in light of increased ops-tempo and Air Force jargon. Leaders at every level are encouraged to incorporate the monthly "Atmosphere" focus in their area of responsibility by whatever means they deem fit, but keep it very casual, fun. Each month a corresponding short video will air on the Commander's Access Channel, Chief's Corner website and will be available for use at commander's calls.

We're blessed in that we have a superior group of men and women charged with protecting our base--those employed by US Protect. They exhibit a positive attitude without exception. A while back, Robin and I were coming home from a night event, during a seldom rainy, dreary eve and were greeted with the usual happy chatter and smile by a rain-soaked security officer, "Hunter."

Not surprised by his upbeat disposition, Robin said, "Don't you hate standing out here in the rain?" Without missing a beat, he smiled and simply said, "You all are worth it ma'am." One of the finest examples of positive attitude I've ever seen.

In one of my college classes, we're studying success relative to attitude disposition. Our text is a book called "Social Intelligence" by Karl Albrecht and is the most provocative book I've seen on the subject of leadership character. In his book, Albrecht goes to great length to draw parallels between personal attitude and sound, successful people. Much of his prose is given to the converse, "toxic boss."

Most people are able to identify a person in their life whose focus, though perhaps well intended, is innately negative. Unfortunately, that approach ultimately doesn't nurture personal and personnel growth or a positive, progressive work environment; often manifesting itself as an affront to human dignity.

In Albrecht's book, he suggests the "toxic" person, boss or otherwise, may not even know their disposition and its subsequent impact on the people and mission around him or her. I have accepted his challenge by accentuating the positive in order to create a more nurturing work and home environment in the hopes of helping those around me grow rather than cower.

Furthermore, May is the month we celebrate the military spouse. Whether male or female, young or old, active duty or civilian, I'm amazed of the supportive attitudes of our spouses! Recently, I approached a spouse of one of our deployed members to offer a little encouragement. I was surprised that not only did she not need it, she ended up encouraging me. As it happens, she has never felt more connected to her husband's devotion to the profession of arms than she does now. Her supportive attitude is no doubt an enabler for her husband's work but serves as an inspiration to me as well.

In your work and beyond, and especially as we celebrate our military spouses, consider taking the challenge with me--a positive word or disposition goes a long way. To be cliché, "You get more bees with honey." In spite of a worldwide bee shortage, the proverbial honey well is plentiful. It need only be tapped to a greater extent and your attitude is the tap.