Invest time to help Airmen


TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.–Think back to when you joined the Air Force.  Did you know everything about your AFSC, how the promotion system works, assignments, performance evaluations, deployments and the list goes on? 
I would have to say no, however, I would bet that at multiple points and times throughout your service someone took the time to show you how they worked and explained the ins and outs.  Today, we call it mentorship.  Some say that it’s a catchphrase or a passing fad, but in all reality it has always been occurring, you more than likely just didn’t think about them as mentors.
I remember back to when I was new to the Air Force.  At my first duty section on the last duty day each week, my superintendent had us join him at the club, where we would just sit around and talk about things at work and what was going on in our lives.  Looking back at what he was doing, I really appreciate what he did for us. 
I understand now that he was mentoring us and it was at these shop gatherings that I learned about things like the assignment system, weighted Airman promotion system testing and things that were happening in the Air Force at the time.  Additionally, he learned what was going on in our lives and it gave him the opportunity to save me more than once from doing something stupid.  Trust me he was a busy guy.  I have tried to find him on several occasions so I could thank him for his mentorship as he was key to my success in the Air Force.
Mentorship to me really just boils down to helping others navigate their path and ensure they know and have the necessary resources for both their professional and personal lives.  We all have a responsibility to develop those we lead and supervise in becoming our replacements for tomorrow’s Air Force. 
You always hear people say that they want their children to be better off than they were.  Well, as leaders and supervisors, we should be saying the same about the Airmen who we are entrusted with mentoring.  We have to take the time daily to help people reach their full potential.  That can be by having simple conversations, joining them in a task, or just simply explaining to them how a particular process is performed.
Take the time to guide and teach your peers and subordinates on a task, about professional development, things happening in their personal lives or changes taking place in the Air Force.  Be that role model that you had when you first joined the service or when you got to the base. 
Don’t sit back, watch and think that someone else will take care of it.  Be that positive force in someone’s life.  If each and everyone one of us took the time to mentor someone and help them succeed in the duty section, squadron and wing,  you will uphold and reflect “excellence in all we do.”