Commentary

August 8, 2014

Serve Airmen by knowing them

Master Sgt. ERIK BENSEN
56th Security Forces Squadron

Knowing your Airmen is not a new concept in the Air Force. This concept has been mentioned in various professional development situations and throughout guidance from Air Force senior leadership for some time now.

As with many processes and concepts this is easier said than done and takes significant commitment from the leader. In short it demands a little work. While senior leadership at the squadron level or higher will make an effort to learn about their Airmen, the person who has the potential to make the most impact is the first-line supervisor. This level of supervisor usually has no more than a handful of Airmen they are directly responsible for, but their actions can have huge impacts to their units and subordinates alike.

Just like we are all familiar with performance feedbacks, guidelines and expectations, a supervisor should be familiar with who their Airmen are. We preach the whole person concept, so we need to learn the whole person as well.

Supervisors are expected to know where their folks are from, if they’re married, have children, their ages, where they live, if their spouse works, what their hobbies are, their fitness habits and levels, and other things that make those Airmen who they are. Learning these types of things will build a picture of who they are and what drives them, as well as life challenges and stressors they face.

For those who have reviewed the new Airman Comprehensive Assessment, an entire section is devoted to this very thing. Some standard questions are even provided that will trigger two-way communication with open ended answers.

All of this is designed to develop our replacements to do more and go farther in our Air Force. No matter what rank or position you are in, the nature of our culture is that we are temporary place holders. We must look forward and take action to develop successful replacements. We as supervisors have failed if we operate solely in a reactive mode. Sure, there are times we have to, but most fires can be prevented with proactive efforts.

Especially those taken to learn about our people to both develop them and resolve issues at the lowest possible level. I am pretty sure I have heard that concept before once or twice.

Please do not take this concept lightly, because people’s lives and careers are at stake. Use your experience, instinct, and communication skills to find root problems and help your Airmen to work on them. We often focus on administrative or disciplinary actions when presented with poor performance or misconduct. While that must be documented, it should be a flag to push for a root cause. We all are juggling various things in life, and we each have our own priority lists that will determine what gets dropped when the pressure is on. Having candid, face-to-face, sincere talks with your Airmen will be crucial in resolving their issues at the lowest level. It will make them a stronger and better Airman in the process.




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


 
 

 
Airman 1st Class James Hensley

Luke cuts ribbon on F-35 Academic Training Center

Airman 1st Class James Hensley Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, cuts the ceremonial ribbon Oct. 9 marking the completion of the academic training center building at Luke Air Force Base. The buildin...
 
 
Forino_J

U.S., Singapore partnership standout

Lt. Col. John Forino Aug. 9 marked the 49th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. The 425th Fighter Squadron is an operational squadron comprised of elite U.S. Air Force and Republic of Singapore air force personnel design...
 
 
shirts-graphicbw

‘Guts’ required to enforce standards

A few years ago, a fellow senior NCO requested I talk to her subordinate about her appearance, specifically pertaining to her hair. Naturally, I asked about what the issue was and why she couldn’t have a discussion with her o...
 

 
141008-F-HT977-008

Airmen get new ‘Community Commons’

Renovations on Bldg. 700, which houses the Health and Wellness Center, will take place April 2015 through spring 2016 at Luke Air Force Base. Subway and the barbershop will remain open during construction. Other amenities, such...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

Keep good mental health Calling all Airmen! Sleep disturbances such as insomnia and nightmares can affect people personally and professionally. Reaching out to a medical provider is a step in the right direction to good health. Courtesy of the 56th Medical Group Haunted house The 56th Mission Support Group is featuring Operation: Haunted Block House...
 
 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Jessica Behrens 56th Medical Support Squadron Pharmacist Hometown: Seneca, Missouri Years in service: Three Family: Husband, Chris; daughter, Katelyn, 2; son, Levi, 5 months Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Arkansas and doctor of pharmacy from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska Previous assignments: Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida; Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Spring...
 




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