How the Air Force Core Values Align with My Individual Values
From day one, every Airman is introduced to the Air Force core values of Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do. These core values are taught by peers and seniors. However, before a person decides to become an Airman, they have already been taught individual values. An individual’s values are set by their environment. Blending individual values with the Air Force core values become essential and set the foundation that guide an individual through their career and life. Like the Air Force core values, individual values directly impact a person’s attitude and behavior. The personal values of dedication, professionalism, success, teamwork and passion are supposed to enhance the Air Force core values we are taught. The following Air Force Core Values essay will explain why my individual values are important to me, how they align with the Air Force Core Values and how I plan to align all values together.
Air Force Core Values
Dedication is an important value to me. It means being proficient in my job and going above and beyond to make a difference. To be dedicated is to give my best effort every single time. It means accomplishing the mission and not lowering standards. It can also be displayed by helping a fellow Airman who is struggling with a task. It could also be shown by volunteering my time in the community, or for extra duties that no-one else wants to do. I think this value correlates with the Air Force Core value of Excellence in all we do. If I am dedicated to the Air Force by aligning my personal goals with that of the Air Force, then my unit, my fellow Airman and I will also portray Excellence in everything I do.
Professionalism is another important value. Professionalism gives me the ability to develop myself and those I am responsible for. One way I can do that is by continuing my civilian education and promoting my Airman to further their education. It means having the right customs and courtesies. It also means upholding all the core values, especially Excellence in all we do. For example, if I need to counsel an Airman on poor performance, it might make sense to correct them right on the spot. It could also make more sense to pull them aside for some additional one on one training. If they don’t understand what they did wrong, just telling them what to do may not help them learn. So, for me to sit back and align my values with the Air Force is for me to understand the difference between being professional with my colleagues compared to having that one on one professional talk with my airman.
The next value I admire is success. Success can be measured at different levels. It can be the result of individual efforts or by a team. I interpret success based on the mission at hand. If I am tasked with getting something done on my own and I do that, I was successful. If I am tasked with a bigger job and need a team, I look at how we did as a unit. Success can be measured by getting a better PT score than the last time or taking the unit a half mile further than the previous session. I think this value correlates with Service before self. It is our duty to put service before personal desires. I view this as, how can my performance make the Air Force more successful. To me, that means training another Airman to be successful to continue the trend down the chain of command towards success.
Teamwork is the next important value as it is vital to a person and teams well-being. It means ensuring all job duties are understood, supervised and accomplished. I think it is important to challenge Airman to solve problems as a team. It builds unit cohesion and trust. It makes people feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves. It also builds camaraderie. I view teamwork as the nucleus of a mission’s overall success rate. This ties in with Service before self and demonstrates that a leader is also part of the team, how you communicate to others and build trust and confidence with them to achieve a common goal. I am learning that working as a team will often have a higher success rate than those who choose to work on their own. This perfectly aligns to the fact that the Air Force teaches us Service before self and doing this will make me a better supervisor and team leader.
Lastly, the value of passion hits home for me. It is important due to the fact that it is the heart felt connection towards the Air Force. Passion can be found and seen in many forms. It can be heard in a person’s tone of voice during a presentation. If they are monotone, maybe they aren’t passionate about the topic they are speaking about. Passion can be seen when an Airman goes the extra mile for another Airman who is struggling with something at work. Passion lines up with Integrity first in the following ways. In order to have self-respect, you need to have passion for something; you need the morale courage to stand up and do what is right while having that passion to help you along. On the other hand, you can say passion has nothing to do with the Air Force core values because not everybody exemplifies what it means to have Integrity and the passion they have has nothing to do with the Air Force and what it stands for.
To conclude, the Air Force core values of Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do and the values of dedication, professionalism, success, teamwork and passion work so closely together that one can accomplish much more if they just apply the values together. Taking what I learned and applying it to everyday life, or my work centers, help justify my understanding of upholding the Air Force core values. I try to demonstrate and live the Air Force Core Values in everything I do.
- United States Air Force. (2019). Core Values. https://www.airforce.com/mission/core-values
- Laver, J. M. (2006). Integrity First. Air & Space Power Journal, 20(1), 75-79.
- Baldwin, J. R. (2006). Service Before Self. Air & Space Power Journal, 20(1), 84-88.
- Williams, D. (2006). Excellence In All We Do. Air & Space Power Journal, 20(1), 89-92.
- Edwards, K. (2014). The United States Air Force Academy's (USAFA) Character and Leadership Development Program. USAWC Strategy Research Project.
- Smith, J. W. (2008). Ethical leadership: An analysis of the United States Air Force core values. Journal of Business Ethics, 81(2), 287-295.
- United States Air Force. (2015). Air Force Doctrine Document 1, Air Force Basic Doctrine. https://www.doctrine.af.mil/Portals/61/documents/AFDD/AFDD1.pdf
- American Council on Education. (2016). The Air Force Culture and Language Center (AFCLC) Overview. https://www.acenet.edu/News-Room/Pages/The-Air-Force-Culture-and-Language-Center-AFCLC-Overview.aspx
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