SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Lt. Col. Christopher Teke, 50th Civil Engineer Squadron commander
Leadership Perspectives: 50th CES
1. How would you describe your leadership style?
I think I have a coaching and empowering leadership style. I definitely do not try to come across as having all the answers, as in a commanding or authoritarian leadership style. I find it is best to develop people for the future, by mobilizing them toward a vision. This style also empowers people to take on the day-to-day decision making and allows them to assume responsibilities commensurate with their level.
2. What do you feel your strengths and weaknesses are?
I feel one of my strengths is having a very calm demeanor. I try to promote a collaborative working environment within the 50th Civil Engineer Squadron, without passing on undue stress to my team, which enables my folks to focus on the mission. I also think another strength of mine is being approachable. Being approachable allows your personnel to share with you successes and identify problems and issues, without living in fear of the consequences. One of my weaknesses is I try to multitask too often, but end up getting nothing completely done in the process. It really helps to focus on one task at a time, but it is easy to get pulled back in to trying to multitask.
3. Who is a leader who stands out to you and why?
My dad stands out as a leader in my mind. He was a self-employed contractor and home builder for over 35 years. He always led his crews and his business to success. He taught me a lot about efficiencies and productivity in accomplishing construction tasks and getting the job done.
4. What aspects of leadership are the most important to nurture?
Trust and empowerment. We as leaders need to build trust with our people and empower them to make appropriate decisions at their level. As a Commander, you do not have time to make all the decisions, nor should you. So you have to build trust to yield a successful organization.
5. How do you handle stress or challenges?
I take time off away from the job and Air Force, I put away the phone and email, and I recharge my batteries by spending time with my family. You have to disconnect and disengage your mind for a while so you can come back fresh.
6. How do you prepare junior Airmen for leadership roles?
The best way to prepare junior Airmen for leadership roles is to give them opportunities to test their skills, by allowing them to lead a job or an event. If you start with small tasks, and work towards larger more important tasks, you allow the junior Airmen the ability to succeed or fail with minimal implications. This allows him or her to learn and grow.
7. Is there anything else you would like to add about leadership?
Being a leader is often times a lot of work. There are many frustrations and struggles that go along with being a leader, but there are also plenty of rewarding accomplishments and events to help balance them out.