Commentary

May 9, 2014

Professional Development – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

Chief Master Sgt. Thomas B. Mazzone
MacDill AFB, Fla.

The U.S. Air Force requires much of us these days, and members of our profession of arms are busy meeting these demands.

We must ensure we’re not too busy to ignore our responsibility of continually developing each other.

Mentoring, feedback sessions and counseling are all forms of professional development, often leading us to the thought that it’s “top down” communication only.

However, “peer-to-peer” and “bottom-up” communication provides information just as relevant, and sometimes even more important. As the MacDill command chief, I’m afforded several opportunities to speak with all tiers of our force structure. I’m constantly amazed how much I learn from each of these engagements, whether I’m speaking with young Airmen or senior leaders.

What do you do with what you learn? Do you share it?

Of course we should! We should spread the word as wide as possible. Part of being a good wingman is always striving to develop other Airmen, allowing them to side-step the “landmines” in their career paths.

Throughout my years of service I’ve learned that the rank and age of an Airman giving me advice doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact they were looking out for me, saving me from those “landmines,” and permitting me to help develop others. If I don’t use what I’ve learned to continually advance the Airmen within my scope of influence, then I fail as a leader. More importantly, I’d fail those who tried helping me. I’m not going to do that…neither should you!

Make and take the opportunities to provide and receive professional development whenever possible, enabling continuous progression.

Sharing your experiences with others shows your commitment to their development. It also shows your level of compassion, letting them know you’ve been down a similar road before. Being open-minded to the experiences of others and using the information appropriately is exactly how you side-step the “landmines.” Pretty soon, you’ll be leading the next group through the safe path. The positive impacts of assisting someone through a career decision expand well beyond that person. Your influence is boundless.

The advice I give today has a foundation set many years ago. My superiors, peers and subordinates vectored me well. They did a fantastic job of providing me opportunities to soar while keeping me grounded and focused when necessary. I try to use similar methods in developing others for continued success.

As you go further in your career, there’ll be a time when it seems as though you’re dispensing more advice than receiving it.

Trust me, it’s a misconception. If others continually seek your guidance, it’s because you’re still actively receiving guidance.

That’s important, because it shows you’re not afraid to ask questions, especially in an effort to benefit others. Remember, nobody knows everything, but everyone knows something. Leverage that, and continually expand your network of knowledge throughout our Total Force, developing those who develop others.

Don’t let the demands of our profession get in the way of developing the Airmen following in our footsteps. Show them the way. Lead them through the mine field. Lead ‘em!




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Focus group Here’s your chance to be heard. The Edwards Commissary is looking for volunteers to participate in a group discussion about your Commissary. They will be conducting focus groups July 29 from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you would like to participate, send an e-mail to...
 
 
aafes-school

Exchange moves to the head of the class with extra back-to-school savings

With the first bell about to ring on a new school year, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is giving lessons in savings. The Exchange is helping military shoppers make the grade with competitive prices and tax savings on...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit

Major wins major bucks on ‘Price Is Right’

Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit Maj. Kevin Van Stone, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 5, and his wife, Melinda (right), speak to a representative from CBS after being handed a giant check for...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

NASA Armstrong Support Center receives LEED platinum certification

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida Large expanses of windows and curved rooflines highlight NASA Armstrong’s new Facilities Support Center. The 38,000-square-foot structure has been certified that it met the Leadership in Ene...
 
 

Exchange shoppers can keep on ticking with Hello Kitty sweepstakes

Military shoppers can keep time with Hello Kitty thanks to the latest sweepstakes from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. Twenty-five winners will take home a Hello Kitty watch, valued at $85. From July 25 to Aug. 22, Exchange shoppers can enter to win by emailing patriotfamily@aafes.com and putting “Hello Kitty Sweepstakes” in the...
 
 

Leadership Lessons: Who would you follow?

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.†-†Over the last year I have enjoyed reading articles from our wing leadership on their perspectives and experiences which have made them better leaders. I have great admiration for their words of wisdom and have benefited from their shared experiences. When I was asked to write a leadership piece I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>