So I had a completely different blog post in mind, and then a stop through Procrastination Land (aka Facebook) brought to my attention a recent policy letter on breast feeding from the commander of Mountain Home AFB. You can find some of the story on the John Q. Public page, and a really great response here, and the very predictable announcement of the policy being reminded here. Amazing the speed of these things - published policy to public apology in under a week.
My focus today has nothing to do with the topic of the policy, but rather the leadership issues it exposed. Surely the wing commander had his staff review it, right? Did he not have a closed door session with his group and squadron leadership to brain storm approaches? Did no one speak up and make him aware that breastfeeding is an enormously debated and emotional issue for families and perhaps a written policy isn't the best approach?
Problems are rarely black and white and solutions are rarely absolute. You can resolve problems without resorting to a clunky written policy. This is where the "art" of leadership comes in. No commander has to make decisions alone, and listening to other perspectives might have helped resolve, or at least diffuse this issue a bit.