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Some advice for the new year

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Over the years I've collected some homegrown leadership-axioms from various commanders that I've worked for. I thought you might like to read and think about a few of them. By the way, feel free to apply them.

- If you don't know, ask. If you ask and still don't know, something's wrong.
- Organizations can survive on either attitude or aptitude, but they'll only thrive on a combination thereof.
- Spirited discussions are indicators that the unit is alive and well, and that your subordinates are enthusiastic and communicating. Never crush the spirit or the discussion.
- You can't always win, but if you consistently lose, perhaps you're in the wrong line of work.
- Explain your way before demanding that someone get out of it.
- Never lose your military bearing. Never allow your subordinates to lose their bearing.
- Failure at a task is either lack of understanding or a lack of ability. Fix the problem, not the indicator.
- Leadership isn't popularity, and popularity isn't leadership. Never confuse the two when making decisions.
- Leadership is best when done as a selfless act--but always act like yourself while doing it.
- When you screw up: admit it, fix it, learn from it, and get on with it.
- Micromanagement ensures consistency and kills initiative and creativity.
- Never fail to say "thank you."
- Ration your stress.
- Believe the best in people--they tend to live up to expectations.
- For every primary, there is ALWAYS a back-up.
- Always keep a hand in the details and an eye on the big picture.
- Establish rules early, ensure they are clear and live within them.
- You're the boss: act like it.
- A positive outlook is the single most powerful leadership tool!