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RHIP – It starts and ends with leadership

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Timothy C. White Jr.

“Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them” — Simon Sinek

Teammates — I hope everyone had a chance to take advantage of some much-needed down time throughout the holiday break. Spending time with family and friends or just stepping away from the daily grind is an excellent way to regroup, recharge and recenter. The new year is well underway, so it’s time to synchronize energies and efforts toward the common goal of being the Air Force the nation needs.

I previously expressed the importance of every member reading, understanding and striving to execute individual roles and responsibilities laid out in TASKORD #1. As an initial follow-up, the boss released a 90-day focus directive, highlighting the previous 90 days of execution while spotlighting lines of effort for the next 90 days, just to ensure we remain zeroed in.

The focus on Human Capital Management has never been more important. We cannot afford to get this one wrong. To help bring transparency to Human Capital Management, we recently released the Ready Now Dashboard, which allows leaders to see trends and threats to their greatest asset — you.

Although the TASKORD details individual responsibilities for the future fight, we win, lose or draw as a team. The Air Force Reserve is seeing its highest-ever turnover rate in second-term Airmen. Leaders must stay focused to ensure Airmen remain motivated, capable and ready to answer the nation’s call.

It’s every leader’s responsibility to identify obstacles and alleviate barriers keeping Airmen from being mission ready in all aspects. It boils down to the leader’s ability to connect with Airmen as mentioned in my December commentary, “Constructively or Physically Present — What Type of Leader Are You?”.

If you conducted a survey of the average military member on the acronym RHIP, a fair majority would probably describe it to mean “Rank has its privileges.” I heard this myself as a young Airman from supervisors and peers alike who strived to climb the promotion ladder.

I submit that every leader should view RHIP as “Rank helps inspire people.” Although Airmen are ultimately responsible for their own careers, leaders bear the responsibility of inspiring Airmen to be the best version of themselves. It starts and ends with leadership.

Recruiters recruit Airmen and military training instructors train Airmen, but it’s leadership’s job to keep Airmen. Airmen enlist for a variety of reasons, and often, enlistment day and the day one joins is not one in the same.

I recently visited the 514th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and met Development and Training Flight trainee Mary Jane Pecson, who enlisted to provide a better future for her family. Whether Trainee Pecson stays for a full career may very well come down to the type of leadership she is exposed to during her first or second term.

My point is this … every Airman has a “why” — why they enlisted, why they joined, why they stay or why they choose to walk away. Most Airmen enlist for the opportunity of a better life filled with benefits associated with military service, but ultimately find themselves staying to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Anytime an Airman separates within their first or second term without reaching their full potential, every leader and the leaders above them should ask themselves why.

The boss and I are ultimately responsible for policies, procedures and the overarching bureaucracy that limit Airmen from reaching their full potential. We own that piece of it and rightfully take the hit for it.

My question to leaders at every level across the command is this: What are you doing at your level to inspire and motivate Airmen? Are your Airmen Ready Now for the future fight? Is the organization within your span of control or influence Transforming for the Future? If you pondered over these questions more than a second before answering, this is an opportunity to reassess, reengage and reattack.

As always, it is my distinct honor and privilege to serve alongside each and every one of you as your Command Chief.