Commentary

May 11, 2012

The enlisted perspective: Now is the time for bold leadership

by James A. Roy
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

A week ago, I sent an email message titled Leadership vs. Policy to Command Chiefs and Career Field Managers. You may have seen that message, or parts of it, but I’d like to take this opportunity to address it with you directly.

The theme of the message was that too much arbitrary guidance could prove to be counterproductive. As supervisors, the more leverage we have to deal with situations on a case-by-case basis, the better.

Junior Enlisted Airmen. Young Airmen are our most precious resource. We spend millions of dollars recruiting, training and equipping them to execute the tactical parts of the mission, and they never let us down.

We owe Junior Enlisted Airmen the proper training, education and experiences it takes to develop them into leaders in their field. We owe it to them to explain what is expected of them, and to follow up with how they are meeting our expectations. We owe them the mentorship and guidance they need to succeed, and they should be expected to do everything they can to meet the high standard set by the supervisor.

NCOs. What our Junior Enlisted Airmen learn about leadership and mentorship will shape how they eventually supervise. Therefore, first-line supervisors have an incredible responsibility. NCOs should set young Airmen up for success by outlining specifically how to earn their highest rating. Following that, mentoring and additional feedback should address specific shortfalls and how to overcome them.

We are growing leaders, not judging Airmen on their ability to get it right on their own. As a supervisor, you should do all you can to help your Airmen succeed. When used properly, the formal feedback process is a good foundation for making this happen.

Senior NCOs. Our most senior enlisted Airmen have a tremendous amount of impact on this process. SNCOs should hold their NCOs and Senior Airmen accountable for conducting required feedback sessions, and support their fair ratings. SNCOs should understand that a “4” is not a bad rating, and that some Airmen will earn that rating in a given period. Rating an Airman fairly will not hurt their career; it should help them grow.

Commanders. In addition to the email message I sent to Chiefs, I sent a similar message to major command commanders, asking them to pass it down to their commanders. Because most of our reports are signed by a commander, I felt it was important they understand where we’re coming from. Commanders are the key and final component of this process, and their support for fair and accurate ratings is critical.

Bold Leadership. Some have suggested we set some arbitrary quota for the number of “5” ratings allowed in a given shop. They claim that would make things easier.

I’m not interested in doing what’s easy; I’m interested in doing what’s right. Implementing a quota would strip first-line supervisors of the leverage they need to grow tomorrow’s enlisted leaders.

We don’t need quotas. Instead, we need bold leaders to set high standards and help Airmen achieve them. We need bold leaders to confront those Airmen who don’t meet standards and document that feedback. We need those bold leaders to rate each individual fairly and accurately, and that isn’t easy. They will need the support of SNCOs and commanders to make it work.

It takes bold leadership on everyone’s part to develop Airmen.

Now is the time to do everything you can at your level to make this happen.




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


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo

Chief of staff visits Luke

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty, spent time meeting with Airmen and leadership Monday at Luke Air Force Base. Welsh highlighted Airman health, wellness and quality of life activities. He also...
 
 

Mentoring fosters dreams, strengthens us

A few days ago while reading an online commander’s call, I came across an article dated Dec. 31, 2014, stating President Obama proclaimed the month of January 2015 National Mentoring Month. Although this topic is thoroughly discussed in our Air Force today, I felt compelled to write on its importance all the same. In a...
 
 

Have you joined the Air Force yet?

I enlisted into the Air Force in February of 1997. However, I didn’t join the Air Force until March of 1999. No, I’m not talking about the Delayed Enlistment Program. There was no doubt that after high school I would attend college. However, not having applied for any scholarships and realizing that I didn’t have...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Prevention training goes face-to-face

Courtesy photo Maj. Jennifer Tomlinson, Air Education and Training Command Medical Readiness Division deputy chief, serves as facilitator during the AETC Medical Services and Training directorate annual Air Force Suicide Preven...
 
 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

Thunderbolt looks to future

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Maddie Baker, 56th Dental Squadron acting commander secretary was an Air Force Honor Guard member prior to crossing over to the dental field. As the commander’s secretary, she plays a piv...
 
 

Tuskegee Airmen commemorated

The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airman Inc. celebrated the 2nd Annual Tuskegee Airman Commemoration Day with a wreath ceremony Wednesday at the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day is the result of legislation signed into law by former Arizona Governor Janice Brewer in 2013 and is the first such law...
 




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>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin