During my military career, I had the honor of being assigned to the 366 Fighter Wing, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho from the fall of 2007 until my retirement in 2012.
The Wing’s motto is, “Fortune favors the bold”. The Latin, “Audaces fortuna juvat” was at the bottom of the Wing patch that we proudly displayed on our uniforms.
During the Vietnam conflict, the motto was evident when pilots reported missed opportunities to shoot down enemy MiGs because their F-4s didn’t have a cannon and their missiles were only capable of long-range shots. The maintainers responded by mounting Gatling gun pods on the F-4s and in under one month, the 366th pilots had shot down four MiGs.
The bold actions of the pilots and maintainers resulted in the fortune of successful response to enemy aggression. It also earned the 366th the nickname still used today: “The Gunfighters”.
Fortune favors the bold is so profoundly true. And, it is not solely for a military unit. It is also true where you work.
Leaders display boldness every day. Decisions are made that affect many different factors, from your people, to your customers, to the direction of the departments you lead. Obviously, the higher up the ladder you are, the more impactful the decisions.
But what if you are not in a management position at work? Can you still display the boldness of leadership? Absolutely!
Like the maintainers who understood the need of their pilots, they boldly presented the solution of attaching the Gatling gun pods to their F-4s. The pilots (in the leadership positions) agreed and the rest is history!
Leaders often rise in an organization because of their ability to find solutions. The best ideas of how to find solutions, or make the working environment better, usually come from within the ranks and not from the top.
If you have an idea to make your team more successful, line up the details and explain how it will make things better. Be bold in your convictions and share the idea with your supervisor.
Leaders at all levels should encourage team members to share ideas and be bold in their implementation. True engagement occurs when employees feel they are positively contributing to the betterment of their workplace and not just droning through the day.
A winning work culture is one where boldness of ideas can flourish. Encouraging solutions and better ways of doing things creates a strong workplace.
Remember, a leadership title does not make a leader…action does. Leaders, learn to listen and encourage ideas from within your teams.
Fortune favors the bold!