The 39th Flying Training Squadron hosted leadership expert Dr. Gordon Curphy for an in-depth look into squadron mission and leadership practices on Jan. 18 at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Parr Officer’s Club.
Curphy, a previous Air Force Academy graduate and instructor, helps organizations improve leadership bench strength, coach senior leaders to perform at peak levels and build high performing teams and groups.
Lt. Col. Kyle Goldstein, 39 FTS Commander, invited Curphy to brief his squadron leadership because he is always seeking techniques and principles to help his staff improve as instructors, leaders and mentors. Further, he said this leadership training assists in the advancement of 340th Flying Training Group Commander, Col. Roger Suro’s strategic priorities of developing exceptional airmen and improving efficiency of operations.
“Our instructors get a lot of technical and tactical training,” said Goldstein. “The leadership lessons Curphy teaches provide a different perspective that I believe will help our instructors enhance our human capital, become more well-rounded leaders and ultimately, better Airmen.”
Curphy takes a science-practitioner approach to leadership. His presentation offered key tips on building cohesiveness and recognizing how inter-dynamics affect team success or failure. One of the presentation’s key points emphasized the importance of leaders recognizing what Curphy called their “dark side”. The dark side refers to the dysfunctional dispositions that interfere with a person’s ability to build relationships with staff members and create cohesive, goal-oriented teams.
“Stress is part of every person’s job,” said Curphy. “The most effective people understand their dark side personality traits, recognize situations where their dark sides are likely to emerge, and devise strategies to minimize the emergence of their dark side tendencies.”
Another critical team-building point highlighted by Curphy was the art of followership. He said, “There are troves of books on leadership, but followership -- the flip side of leadership -- gets only a small fraction of the press that leadership does.”
He said followership is the ability to take direction, to get in line behind a program, to be part of a team and to deliver the expected results. Further, he said, how well followers follow is probably just as important to success as how well the leaders lead.
Curphy, whose son is a senior airman medic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, in Bethesda, Maryland, was delighted to get the invitation to brief the 39 FTS leadership. He was glad to reconnect with the Air Force and to do his part to develop leadership in the Air Force pilots of tomorrow.