Leadership Behaviors


Read the case study on the Air Force Supply Squadron at the end of Chapter 3. Present what you feel are the effective leadership behaviors displayed by Colonel Novak and react to the evaluations of your fellow students.




Air Force Supply Squadron

Colonel Pete Novak was assigned to com-

mand an air force squadron that airlifted sup-

plies to combat units during the Korean War.

The squadron had more than 200 men and

several cargo planes.When he assumed com-

mand, the situation was bleak. They were

short of supplies, personnel, and replace-

ments. Organization and coordination were

poor, and there was little cooperation and

teamwork among different sections. Morale

was low due to the unrelenting workload,the

constant bickering and disagreements, and

the stress of flying into combat zones.Colonel Novak held a meeting of the

squadron to introduce himself and talk about

how important their mission was to the success

of the war effort. He talked about how the

men in the front lines were counting on the

squadron to bring them the supplies and am-

munition they needed to keep the enemy

from overrunning the country. He reminded

them that every man had a vital function in

the operation of the squadron.

Then Colonel Novak set out to learn  more

about the men in his unit, beginning with the

officers. He held frequent staff meetings with

the section heads and some key noncommis-

sioned officers (NCOs) to discuss the meth-

ods used to carry out the mission of the

squadron.He visited the enlisted men at work

and off duty, talking to them and showing a

personal interest in them.He listened to their

complaints, and whenever possible tried to

deal with their concerns about the poor living

conditions at the base.He flew along with the

airplane crews on some of the supply mis-

sions. On one occasion when supplies were

desperately needed at the front lines and the

squadron was shorthanded,he pitched in and

worked beside the men all during the night to

load the planes.

It was not long before Colonel Novak had

learned each person’s name, what his job was,

and something about his background. As he

found out more about the capabilities of the

men, he reorganized the squadron to place people where the best use could be made of

their skills and experience. In staff meetings,

disagreements were discussed and worked

out, and responsibilities were assigned when

all concerned were present. Authority was

clearly delegated to reduce confusion and

duplication of orders. The NCOs were held

responsible for the actions of their men and,

within limits, their decisions were enforced

without question.

Within two months the effects of the

changes were evident.The officers and enlist-

ed men learned what was expected of them

and began to see themselves as an essential

part of a well-run organization. They began

to take pride in their ability to accomplish

their mission despite the hardships. Morale

and teamwork improved. Before long the

squadron became one of the most efficient in

Korea. ■