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.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>