July Chief's Perspective

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robert McNeal
  • 169th Security Forces Squadron

With the end of a military career that has spanned over 34 years, including four years as the Chief of Security Forces, there have been countless opportunities to reflect on the numerous aspects of my military career that got me here. Still, the most crucial element that comes to mind is my goal of striving to be the leader I would want to follow. You can say this is a spin on the Golden Rule, “Treat people the way you want to be treated” (Matthew 6:12). Or the words of the well-known philosopher Confucius, “Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.” During my years in uniform, I have had the distinct pleasure of working for some terrific leaders who motivated and pushed me to achieve standards higher than I set for myself. These leaders demonstrated total dedication to the Air Force, the Air National Guard, and the 169th Fighter Wing.  As I get ready to close this chapter in my career, the following are a few leadership principles that were passed on to me from outstanding leaders, and now I wish to share them with you. Many of these principles are related to the Air Force Core Values. Applying them daily will allow you to experience and maintain success in all your efforts.     

  • Maintain Integrity – Be honest and fair by establishing a set of values and adhering to them
  • Take care of your people – People are our most valuable resource and should be cared for to the best of your ability
  • Motivate people – “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” – John Maxwell
  • Be a follower – To be a good leader, you must first be a good follower 
  • Know your Job – People will follow a competent person who has the knowledge needed to complete the mission
  • Know yourself – Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is essential to successful leadership
  • Set the example – You must set the standard for the unit.  People will emulate your standards of personal conduct and appearance (every day is an interview)
  • Communicate - Information should flow continuously throughout the organization
  • Educate yourself and others – People should be adequately trained to do their jobs
  • Equip your troops – It’s your responsibility to ensure the unit is equipped to accomplish the mission
  • Accept responsibilities – (Read the book, “Extreme Ownership”)
  • Develop teamwork – As a leader, you cannot accomplish the mission alone. 


This is a small example of what helped me throughout my career, and I hope it may help you.  As any leader will tell you, Airmen are the most valuable resource in our organization, and without their support, a unit will fail!  It’s been an honor serving in 169th Fighter Wing as a Defender. I have met, worked alongside, and deployed with many great people who I consider lifelong friends. Take care, and I wish you all the best!