Develop, train, reward
By Lt. Col. Sean Scott, 21st Space Operations Squadron commander
/ Published January 21, 2014
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Times have changed for the military and will continue to evolve in the upcoming years. Most of us are familiar with a time in our military careers of having abundant ready-made opportunities to develop and train ourselves and others into the men and women the Air Force wants and needs. Although none of us can foresee the future, these standard ready-made opportunities are few and far between. Fortunately for us, the requirement and ability to develop and train will always remain in the Air Force forefront; it simply takes a more creative approach to accomplish what available military dollars once made so much easier.
As leaders and supervisors, we must look beyond the classroom as our go-to development and training model and impart the lessons we have grown to live by on our future leaders. Ask yourself, do your Airmen possess the necessary skills and qualifications to accomplish the task set before them? If not, can you offer cost effective training options that don't require temporary duty dollars. Classrooms and classes only provide part of the Airman's toolbox. Your wisdom is critical to providing the rest. I challenge each of us to log off our computers, get out from behind our desk and spend time with those who will carry the flag when we are gone. Whether you are talking to a young "E" or "O," you have an incredible opportunity to mold our future Airmen into the Air Force you have been living and supporting your entire careers.
As subordinates, it is incumbent on you to seek out development and training from your supervisors. Think outside the box about qualifications that would make you a better, well-rounded individual who can better support the team. If you find yourself in a temporary assignment waiting to start your 'official' career path then use that time wisely. Ask your senior leaders for opportunities to do more or be trained in an area that may be beneficial to you and the team in the future. This step is often overlooked, but in hind sight is the one most wish they would have done differently. It is essential to remember that each of our jobs should be part of a domino effect for good and ultimately ending in keeping our great nation safe, secure and ready.
Rewarding is an often overlooked, but essential part of our mission. Rewarding includes honors, plaques, titles and promotions, but these are only part of it. Rewarding our Airmen is the job of each person. The first task is to do your job so that you recognize it is a job well done. Next, big and small tasks done well should be acknowledged in a manner that helps the individual and the team want to give their very best. Many are inspired to work harder by a simple 'thank you' or "I noticed you did a great job." It is human nature to want to feel appreciated, but it is equally important to develop an Airman's character with the desire to do a job well. As an Air Force, we must continue to do both.