Good leadership is leading, integrity, caring

Vance Air Force Base, Okla. -- Quick, somebody give me a definition of leadership. No, don't go running for Webster's Dictionary. I don't want the "book" answer. I want to know what leadership means to you.
What exactly is good leadership? How do you define it? What makes one person a better leader than another? Was General Patton a good leader? What about President Carter? How about your squadron commander? Your supervisor? Are you a good leader?
I submit to you that it is often hard to quantify good leaders and define good leadership because it is more of an art than a science. Good leadership is one of those things that is difficult to define, but you know it when you see it, and you certainly miss it when it's not there.
There are many methods to good leadership, and I believe a good leader may even adapt his or her leadership style to fit the differing situations they encounter. So, rather than define leadership or a particular leadership style, I would like to give you four elements I believe you must posses if you want to be a successful leader.
First, and this may sound obvious, but you must lead. A good leader sets the pace and the tempo of the organization from the front of the pack. You must set the vision and define what the measure of success is for your unit. You must be visible, accessible, involved, listen more than you speak and most importantly make a prompt decision when the situation dictates. Nothing is worse than a leader who will not make the tough call.
Second, you must not only "talk the talk," but you must "walk the walk." Integrity and good leadership are inextricably linked. Your word must be your bond. Everyone in your organization is watching you to see what you do. Set the standards high and enforce them, but live up to them yourself. Those you lead watch what you do more than what you say.
Third, good leaders send the "we care" message to those who work for them. A note on birthdays, a card for promotions, a phone call or visit when there is illness or tragedy goes a long way. The little things matter. When those who you lead know you really do have their best interests at heart, they will work hard for both you and the organization.
Finally, good leaders have fun. Leading a group of people to success is a blast. Enthusiasm is contagious. A leader with a good plan who is excited about getting the job done will best a leader who has a perfect plan but shows no enthusiasm every time.
Good leadership is essential to overcome the demands that our expeditionary Air Force challenges us with every day. We are never going to have all the money, equipment, people or time that we would like. However, good leadership is a force multiplier and can overcome a multitude of shortfalls. Wherever and however you lead in this great Air Force, always remember to lead from the front, never sacrifice your integrity, take care of your troops and have fun! Your unit and our Air Force will be better for it!