Senior NCOs get it done

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Mulcahy
  • 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
Motivation is a force, whether it is negative or positive. Its presence can be obvious or hidden, can spawn from deep inside oneself or come from an external source. Regardless, motivation is a force which causes human action and it's our responsibility as senior NCOs to sustain this strength.

I still remember the motivating force which helped me become promoted in to the prestigious senior NCO tier. I would be lying if I said I studied to attain more authority, regard or money.
My true motivation was my supervisor's poor leadership and my desire to lead our flight differently. He was a "retired-on-active-duty" master sergeant who enjoyed surfing the Internet and perusing the aisles of the Base Exchange during duty hours. He was a self before service and integrity last kind of fellow. His troops busted their butts to get the mission done while he took the credit. Thankfully, he left the Air Force in 2001.

Today, we cannot tolerate "retired-on-active-duty" members in our Air Force, especially within our senior NCO tier. Our mission is too demanding and the size of our force is too streamlined to permit mediocre performance from any member.

I made master sergeant on my second attempt and felt prepared to take on the prominent senior NCO role.

It was a very humbling experience when I discovered the influence one attains upon entering the Air Force's top three enlisted ranks. It's one thing to read about it and an entirely different matter living it.

Commanders wanted my advice, listened to me more intently and gave me more responsibilities. They offered visions of unit goals and expected senior NCOs to translate that vision into action. In short, senior NCOs were expected to get the mission done.

My Airmen treated me differently as well; they anticipated more. I became the "go to guy" for advice, encouragement, direction and correction, but I also learned to rely on my Airmen as much as they relied on me. No longer was I judged solely on my successes, but on what our team accomplished.

Air Force Instruction 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure, defines senior NCOs as leaders among leaders, managers, team builders and vision translators. Senior NCOs are highly visible and skilled at assisting others. They help develop company grade officers, exceed standards, ensure resources are used effectively, and promote and encourage retraining and special duties. Finally, they constantly seek professional development.

The life of a senior NCO is very demanding, but also very rewarding. Many Airmen depend on us to get it right, tell it right, and make it right. Senior NCOs get it done.