Stay in your lane!
By Master Sgt. Linda McGinnis-Weber, 17th Training Support Squadron first sergeant
/ Published May 29, 2009
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
No matter the unit of assignment, good order and discipline is integral to mission efficiency and effectiveness. How we perceive what is going on in our squadrons, for example, can determine the balance of good order and discipline.
When Airmen are treated fairly and recognized for their achievements, they will respond by performing to the best of their ability.
Sometimes, however, even if great leaders and mentors are available and are doing their part, there will still be times where good order and discipline will be challenged or jeopardized and has the potential of being disrupted.
This is where knowing how to stay in your lane comes into play. Just as it is important to stay in your lane while operating a motor vehicle on the highway so that we don't have a major collision, we should consider applying this same concept to our professional careers as well.
Think of it in these terms: each enlisted tier has a lane that they need to travel down so that the missions/objectives given to us can be accomplished efficiently and effectively.
No matter which tier we fall in as Airmen, our supervisors take time to sit down with each of us to help guide in setting personal and professional goals and to prepare us for the challenges that we will face.
When we fail to take the advice our leaders, mentors, and supervisors have shared with us, and we do not attempt to correct situations we may have placed ourselves in, then this is where the good order and discipline will begin to deteriorate.
Just like the highway, there are various types of traffic movements that we as operators on the roadway can perform at specific times.
There are places where we can make a U-turn, merge, turn left or right, or just have to stay in the lane we are currently in when none of the previous is allowed. If we think of our careers, the same concept applies. For the majority of us, we just stay in our lane awaiting direction from our leaders. If there are questions as to what lane you should be traveling in, request a mentoring session with your supervisor.
When we as Airmen fail to make the appropriate lane change and begin to do whatever we want to do (i.e., not following the orders of the officers appointed over us, disobeying orders, loss of respect, etc.) this is where a serious collision could occur.
By communicating with our leaders and following the direction they provide us, we learn where our place is as Airmen.
I have yet to meet a leader, mentor or supervisor here at Goodfellow Air Force Base who would ever intentionally steer any Airmen in the wrong direction.
We know which lane we need to be in and when we need to be in another. When a dangerous situation is ahead we may pull over (take a breather) or make a U-turn (an about-face to stay completely away).
There will be times as Airmen that we will travel through our careers beside one another, have to pass a fellow Airmen, or possibly pull over to help other Airmen in need.
I know this is just a simple analogy of how good order and discipline plays a role in our overall effectiveness in the Air Force, but it really is essential to meet the standards of discipline.
We have an endless supply of resources at our fingertips, and the Air Force Core Values guide us. Know your lane, listen to the advice your leaders are giving you and use the resources available... all of these things will help maintain the good order and discipline that is essential to mission accomplishment.