The Power of Influence

  • Published
  • By Suzette Betsill
  • 71st Force Support Squadron Deputy Director
As a deputy director of a force support squadron, it has become very clear to me that mentoring is the key to an organization's success. My mentors have shown me that being a mentoring leader and not a dictator, builds unity, loyalty and dedication to the mission among your followers. In other words, follow The Gold Standard, be a servant leader and treat others as you would want to be treated, and then and only then will you have the power of influence.

As I move throughout Team Vance I witness firsthand much of The Gold Standard being used as a natural part of daily business. I find that we understand the context, as well as gain the proper perspective as servant leaders helping their Airmen grow and be the best that they can be.

These good leaders form relationships, develop support systems and lead by example. They do what they say and say what they do.

These leaders also seem to naturally live by core values of integrity, service and excellence. They adapt internally, get involved in daily work where needed, and they stay in touch with what's happening throughout their organization.

I am fortunate to witness this true mentoring leadership style firsthand every day. 

However, it resonated during a recent Team Vance pilot graduation when senior leaders gathered leadership to recognize the team for top notch service. It was truly amazing to see those in positions of leadership stop by the kitchen of Vance Collocated Club and genuinely communicate with the staff. The staff was very motivated and the pride continues to show.

Another key characteristic I have grown to appreciate in good leaders and now practice as part of my own personal leadership toolbox is being visible and approachable. When employees see you care, that is when they care, and I have assessed this to be a key ingredient to Team Vance mission successes. 

Even under stressful situations, I see where the power of influence increases, and it presents the perfect opportunity to teach skills, mentor and share insights and experiences. 

I have also learned this style of leadership does not allow the status quo to set in but excites feedback so that you as a leader know what is working and what is not.

In my 25-plus years of service, I have attended leadership schools, studied leadership principles and read autobiographies of great leaders. 

I had one goal in mind during my studies, and that was to identify qualities that, if applied, would make me a successful leader. What I learned is The Gold Standard qualities for a successful leader can be quite different, depending on the individual, yet they can be equally successful. 

But, as I continue to study leadership and observe and learn from those in leadership positions around me, especially my mentors, I no longer have that goal. Now I understand that if you take care of your people, they will take care of the mission and the organization. 

Finally, it starts with employing The Gold Standard - being and knowing yourself and your employees better in order to influence them to perform and gain results.