As a senior military leader, responsibilities span across combat readiness, strategy, operations, etc.--all of which need to be supported by highly refined characteristics and traits. Unsurprisingly, effective leadership is a critical piece to the equation. Lt. Gen Richard Scobee is one of those leaders, currently serving as Chief of the Air Force Reserve. General Scobee commands an agile, combat-ready force of 70,000 Reserve Citizen Airmen while also serving as principal adviser to the Secretary of the Air Force on all reserve matters.

Since his graduation from the Air Force Academy in 1986, General Scobee has always stood by core values that enable him to be an effective leader--and shared 3 powerful techniques he has applied along the way:

1. Understand your limitations and invest in [relevant] human capital

To be an effective leader, General Scobee stresses the need to be acutely self-aware--and needing to keenly understand where personal limitations and weaknesses exist. If you walk into an office full of highly qualified people, it can help enable success and see the blind spots. And in acknowledging your limitations, you will have heightened clarity on your holistic needs as a leader.

The right amount of humility is a formidable weapon that should be embraced.

2. Appreciate the true value of people

In the Reserve, most airmen are balancing their service with a family and full-time work--and as you can expect, life has its fair share of turbulence along the way. General Scobee takes a strategic approach to people, allowing him to genuinely understand the high-level details of someone's life and tactically adjust accordingly. For instance, if there's a significant life milestone going on, consider how you can pivot the conversation in a way that can still achieve an outcome of long-term value. That 'value' extends well-beyond economic, but emotional as well.

People make mistakes. People have busy lives. We are all human. No one is disposable. And we are all valuable. Treat one another with respect and genuine empathy.

3. Appreciate the journey and be a sponge for advice along the way

General Scobee is the son of retired Lt. Col Francis Richard Scobee, who was an Air Force aircraft mechanic, test pilot, and NASA astronaut. Lt. Col Scobee served as Commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger, which suffered a catastrophic booster failure in 1986. He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame for his incredible service. General Scobee proudly continues his legacy today while applying sage wisdom and a priceless appreciation for the journey.

General Scobee shared that his father was a humble introvert--and wasn't a fan of the spotlight. He started out as a young enlisted man where he was turning wrenches on the line as a mechanic and ended his career as Commander of a space shuttle. Those are two polar opposites of the spectrum--which provides for humbling perspective. 

When General Scobee asked his father how he got there, his advice was simple: always do the best job for any task. Whether it was as a mechanic or test pilot, he always gave his best, no matter the task. Preparedness was also a critical component to any task, which was part of the reason his career advanced the way it did--he was always prepared. The bottom line is that you have to have an appreciation for your journey and absorb any advice that comes with it. 

General Scobee's core leadership principles should serve as a guiding perspective as you continue your journey--the qualities exemplify what attracts and retains the right talent. Leverage your own values to help define, and refine, how you effectively lead.

Wherever you are in your journey, young or old: you must appreciate how you lead your life to effectively lead those around you. 

Published on: Nov 13, 2018