Lens X: A Practical Approach to Taking Care of Your People


  • Daphne DePorres United States Air Force Academy
  • Matthew Orlowsky United States Air Force Academy
  • Matthew Horner United States Air Force Academy
  • David Levy United States Air Force Academy




Leadership, Self-Determination Theory, Belonging, Engagement, Retention


Graduates of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), as commissioned officers, are charged to “take care of their people.” While this leadership aphorism makes sense, this article describes what it means in practice. An interdisciplinary USAFA team explored the dynamics of leader development from multiple angles, resulting in a focus on two dimensions (or “lenses”) that help a leader understand what actions can be taken to help an employee achieve subjective well-being at work. The intent is to draw attention to the nature of the interaction with organizational members that foster engagement and need fulfillment. We do that by focusing a leader’s attention on needs, narratives, and micro-exchanges. Those interactions, behaviors, and micro-exchanges are the foundations of and the most tangible, changeable element of climate and culture. This practical lens equips any leader to seize every opportunity to foster fulfillment of the psychological needs for belonging, agency, and efficacy. This framework can be used by anyone but is particularly relevant to supervisors and USAFA cadets who will be entrusted to lead an all-volunteer military force.


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How to Cite

DePorres, D., Orlowsky, M., Horner, M., & Levy, D. (2024). Lens X: A Practical Approach to Taking Care of Your People. Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 11(1), 46–52. https://doi.org/10.58315/jcld.v11.289