Leadership and Force Development

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- When we talk about leadership in today's Air National Guard, many believe that it has to do with senior management's ability to effectively influence and guide our Airmen into accomplishing the mission. That is only part of it, there is so much more to being an effective leader! AFI 36-2618, The Enlisted Force Structure states that we must "continue to develop [our] leadership and management skills." In doing so, we must use all of the tools we've acquired in our respective leadership and management tool kits to inspire and educate our men and women to continually improve themselves both personally and professionally.

I believe the key to success rests within the self-initiative of an individual. There are many opportunities afforded each of us within the Air National Guard. It is up to each of us to research and exploit those opportunities when they become available, but always keeping in mind that we are here to accomplish a mission. The ability to understand the mission at the Tactical, Operational and Strategic levels and combining your respective personal talents and abilities in accomplishing those missions will prepare you for those increased responsibilities corresponding to higher positions within the Air National Guard. Air Force Doctrine Document 1-1, Leadership and Force Development addresses this at each of the levels in expanding your skill-sets in dealing with people, teams, and organizations.

The Air Force offers a myriad of written and electronic references on what is expected from each of us at our various levels of responsibility. One of these is found on the Air Force Portal and is called "MyDP" or My Development Plan. MyDP offers enlisted members the opportunity to determine what "squares" do I need to fill in order to be successful or become a better leader or manager. MyDP provides Airman through the rank of Chief Master Sergeant with a clear picture of what every member needs to know to improve themselves and the positions and education recommended to achieve higher positions of authority and responsibility within today's Air National Guard.

There are never any guarantees of a future promotion or opportunity, but certainly, the "road map" to success dictates that we must minimally take the self-initiative to recognize and plan our futures. Accomplish Professional Military Education "PME," joint military education classes, or other forms of specialized training classes. Also, expand your experience base and volunteer for special duty positions such as recruiter, first sergeant, council officers within the "Top Three," "Junior Enlisted Council," "First Sergeants' Council" and "Chiefs Council," PME Instructor, group superintendent, career field functional manager, and Command Chief!

How can you help yourself and those within your sections and units, practice the second Air Force Core Value of "Service Before Self." These are not only words contained in the Air Force ethos, but a mutual means to benefit the mission and you at the same time! The units within the California Air National Guard are continually experiencing mission resets and conversions in order to ensure we stay relevant and in a capable state of mission readiness in today's Air Force. Formulate lesson plans, suggest inputs for base and unit operational plans, unit operational improvements and participate in your organization's member family, student flight and member support programs.

Your senior effective enlisted management team or "E2MT" also has a responsibility to each of our members within the California Air National Guard in looking for ways to improve and enhance existing Airman, NCO and SNCO development and leadership processes. Some of these initiatives include the Enlisted Performance Feedback, Enlisted Performance Report, and Career Motivation Programs which all fall under the strategic umbrella of Force Management and Development. Your self-initiative is the road map to success!