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Chief’s Corner - week of July 17

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Feedback

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feedback as, "helpful information or criticism that is given to someone to say what can be done to improve a performance, product, etc." The definition seems so simple but yet, we as an Air Force, seem to struggle with giving feedback. It could be the rater does not want to hurt the ratee's feelings, the Airman is already "squared away" so there is no need, or quite possibly some people are just lazy. These are just a few of the reasons for not providing feedback I have heard during my Air Force career. But the Air Force Instructions are clear; there are no good reasons why an Airman should not receive proper feedback.

The Air Force recently changed the way we conduct feedback. In fact, it is no longer referred to as feedback, but as the "Airman Comprehensive Assessment." The goal is to have an open dialogue between the rater and ratee, and for the ratee to assess themselves. However, this new way of conducting feedback does not make the process automatic or take the human aspect out of it, so it is still every rater's responsibility to conduct an assessment. The ratee is still responsible for requesting feedback when they feel they need it and using the chain of command when the rater does not or will not provide it.

If you are still reading this, many of you may be asking, "Why is the Chief writing about something we all already know?" Throughout the last 18 months, I have asked different forums of Airmen the same question, "Who has not received feedback in the last year or within the last six months?" Continually well over one-third of the audience raises their hand as having not received proper feedback. While I am a firm believer that feedback is and should be given verbally every day, it is every supervisor's responsibility to conduct written, meaningful feedback. The Air Force takes it seriously and so should you.
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