Air Force

February 28, 2014

Mentoring: from a first sergeant perspective

Tags:
Senior Master Sgt. William A. Ray
50th Aerial Port Squadron, first sergeant

Senior Master Sgt. William A. Ray, 50th Aerial Port Squadron first sergeant and Capt. Ernest Wong, 50th Aerial Port Squadron operations officer, conduct a feedback session with each other, demonstrating that mentoring can and should be done across all levels of leadership within the Reserve.

I was recently asked about my thoughts on mentoring and how this tool has had an impact on my 18 years of serving in both the active duty and Reserve components. I began to think about those, in my past, who have helped guide me. I questioned whether we, as current leaders, are doing what we need to do to properly mentor and shape our current Airmen toward a successful life and meaningful career.

Mentoring can and needs to happen at all levels of leadership, in both directions, from our newest Airman Basic through our senior leaders. We, as leaders, should also not be afraid to mentor those Airmen who are not our subordinates.

I remember making a pretty major mistake as a Technical Sergeant several years ago. I was somewhat disrespectful and insubordinate to my supervisor, who was a Senior Master Sergeant, because I, of course, was right and he was wrong. This was observed by another Senior Master Sgt., who was soon to be a Chief Master Sgt. After my supervisor stormed out to compose himself before letting me have a well-deserved counseling session, this soon-to-be chief pulled me aside and very bluntly, but professionally, mentored me on how my actions were incorrect, how I needed to better control my emotions if I ever wanted to be a successful senior leader in the Air Force, and more importantly how I needed to properly address my superiors if I have a disagreement with them.

As a first sergeant I am constantly asked, by my commander and other leaders, for my thoughts on various situations, and behind closed doors we are able to have some very heated, but respectful debates, which is something that I might not be able to do if it wasn’t for the valuable lessons previously learned.

What about reverse mentoring? Be honest senior non-commissioned officers; how many of you have those young officers you wish you could pull aside and give them a good mentoring session? Why don’t you? Everyone makes mistakes and has room to grow, and as leaders we all need to work together to foster this growth. We have several great officers within the 50th Aerial Port Squadron, and all of them are very open to hearing the opinions of their senior NCOs. Many of our officers in the Air Force Reserve are prior enlisted, and often times come to us from our sister services.

Capt. Ernest Wong, one of our operations officers for example, spent 10 years as an enlisted member in the Navy as a submariner before joining the Air Force and becoming an officer. There has been an occasion or two where the good captain and I have not seen eye to eye on certain issues, and after sitting down to discuss our views he is often able to see things from my perspective. We both agree that this type of mentoring is not only beneficial to our working relationship, but for the unit as a whole.

Although mentoring needs to be official, documented, and done according to AFMAN 36-2643, it should also happen consistently and casually with all of our Airmen. I am a true believer that most Airmen want and crave mentoring, they want to be corrected, and they want to feel comfortable enough to approach superiors if they see those superiors doing something wrong. It is the responsibility of all of us to constantly mentor all Airmen, at all levels, throughout the entirety of their careers in order to foster growth in helping all to become well-rounded and professional leaders. The impact of well-developed mentoring can last a lifetime and span a career.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang

Airman retires after 37 years of service

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joseph Dangidang Chief Master Sgt. Karen L. Krause, 452nd Maintenance Operations Squadrons superintendent, receives a flag from a Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard member during her retireme...
 
 

Look past 1947 for Air Force roots

The Air Force officially turns 67 this month, but my Uncle Gino thinks it’s older. He’s 90 and the lone surviving brother of my father. Both of them served in World War II, as did two of their siblings. My father was in the Navy, as was his eldest brother, Europeo (his real name, I...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Pilots earned top honor for WW II actions

Courtesy Photo First Lt. Donald J. Gott and 2nd Lt. William E. Metzger Jr. of the 452nd Bombardment Group, were killed when their heavily damaged B-17 Flying Fortress exploded Nov. 9, 1944, as they raced to friendly territory i...
 

 

A reminder of our 24/7/365 responsibility to ourselves and each other

All Airmen have a responsibility that last much longer than a one-month campaign. This responsibility extends beyond ourselves and includes our work environment, our families, friends, fellow Airmen and our communities. While Suicide Prevention Month is observed across the United States in September, the month-long event is a reminder of everyone’s 24/7, 365-day responsibility to...
 
 
HBI-Web-Graphic

Online risk assessment offers ways to evaluate, improve health

How well do you know yourself? Poor health is not always obvious. Even people who appear healthy can be at risk for medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) Health Risk ...
 
 

Life is all about choices

Back when I lived in the rural Midwest, late September and October was harvest time for the farming communities. For many frantic weeks, farmers would be out in the fields from morning to night, trying to beat the first snowfall, gathering in the crops they had planted earlier that spring. In southwest Minnesota the harvest...
 




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