New Year’s resolution: be a positive influence

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Chris Atteberry
  • 25th Flying Training Squadron commander
Yes, it's that time of year again. It is time to figure out ways to improve your life via a New Year's resolution.

Maybe you're thinking about getting back into good physical condition, or perhaps you've decided to read more often and pry yourself away from that marvel of modern hypnosis called the television. Have you set a truly impossible goal like cleaning out the attic/garage/shed?

These are all great resolutions, but let me suggest another one that will pay dividends all year long. Be a positive source of morale where you work.

Positive morale derives from every member of the group, whether they are the boss or the person at the end of the leadership chain. I think many people get so mired in their daily work that they forget what unit morale is all about.

People who are "stuck in the mud" don't necessarily detract from unit morale, but they don't add much either. I'll admit it's easy to fall into a work routine that stifles imagination. Often there isn't much time during the day to think about ways to improve what's going on around you.

As a commander I get mired down as well, and I certainly need some creative help occasionally.

Let me be more specific. I'm suggesting that squadron members--substitute "employees" for our contractor counterparts--take the initiative to boost unit morale. Use your imagination, and don't be reluctant to bring up a good idea.

I think my fellow commanders would agree that there is nothing much better than when a subordinate walks into the office with a plan for a hail and farewell, holiday party or a unit road trip. One of my people recently suggested a squadron trip to Colorado next summer to go whitewater rafting.

Wow! I would've never dreamed up that idea, but what a great plan nevertheless. Even better, I think it's actually going to happen.

On that note, here's a word of caution. I have learned that it's difficult, and perhaps impossible, to please everyone all the time.

For example, I probably have some people in my squadron who are allergic to whitewater rafting. Or maybe someone hates Colorado because they prefer concrete and smog to mountains and wilderness.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating a little, but I'm continually surprised by the good ideas that get squelched for reasons I could not have anticipated. My solution is simple. Go with the idea anyway, and if you don't get full participation that's fine.

It's fine because the next morale event will capture some of the people who bowed out of other activities. As long as we keep generating ideas, we'll eventually get everyone involved.

If you happen to be that concrete and smog kind of person, please don't ruin the morale event for others in the group. Even as positive morale comes from each person, so does the negative side.

If you don't like what's going on socially in your organization, don't complain about it. Instead, fix it. Find a way to make the unit what you want it to be.

Throw a different sort of party from the last one, or maybe pick a different venue. Just do something. That's my New Year's challenge to my squadron and to all the other people who work at Vance.

Let 2008 be chock-full of positive morale for all of us.