Leading people key to mission, UEI success

Leading people key to mission, UEI success

Leading people is one of the four major graded areas of the Commander’s Inspection Program, designed to help Air Force units identify improvement areas and recommend solutions. The 50th Space Wing Inspector General’s office conducts individual unit inspections throughout year leading to the wing’s unit effectiveness inspection in December. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Chris Blake)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play together is another story.”

Both a player and later a manager in the mid-1900s, baseball legend Casey Stengel knew individual talent is not enough to win ball games. While Stengel was unable to defeat father time, his words have stood the test of time.

According to the 50th Space Wing Inspector General’s office, the challenges of leading people is one of the Commander’s Inspection Program’s four major graded areas, which is designed to keep the wing mission ready.

The CCIP also helps the wing prepare for the “Super Bowl of inspections,” a unit effectiveness inspection in December. In keeping with sports challenges and triumphs, the program’s theme is “Stay ready in the offseason.”

There are five main tenants of leading people: communication, discipline, training, development and quality of life.

Communication

“In the military, we are all leaders in some sense,” said Capt. Branden Jarmon, CCIP wing inspection team manager with the 50th SW IG. “Leaders set the tone and decide how you accomplish tasks. If leaders don’t know how to articulate roles, there will be confusion and mission degradation.”

Staff Sgt. David Gutierrez, management internal control toolset program manager with the 50th SW IG, said good communication sets the tone for organizations.

“Through communication we know not only what the wing’s vision is, but we can understand how we fit into it,” he said. “There is also a direct tie to motivation and innovation.”

“People will start to lose motivation if their tasks don’t seem to have a purpose,” he explained. “Communication has to happen up and down the chain of command. We tell our people to be innovative, but that’s going to be hard to do if they don’t understand what they’re doing and why.”

Discipline

“Discipline is a fundamental element of the military,” Gutierrez said. “Whether we are defining it as corrective action or attention to detail, we all have to be on the same page. There has to be set, established rules and standards of conduct. Each of us as leaders are responsible to hold our fellow Airmen accountable.”

According to Jarmon, discipline also impacts unit pride.

“A well-disciplined unit is going to have a lot of pride in what they do,” he said. “When you set high standards and hold people accountable for those standards, you’re going to distinguish yourself quickly and foster a culture of excellence.”

Training

“If you can’t train your subordinates, you can’t lead your subordinates,” Gutierrez said. “You should be an expert at your job and be able to articulate it into training for your people.”

Jarmon said training is critical for individual and team development.

“You don’t start your job as an expert,” he said. “Your team doesn’t become an effective team overnight. Just like in sports, there is no such thing as perfection.”

According to Gutierrez, the rapid advancement of technology is a key reason training is important.

“Technology is constantly changing, which means our jobs are constantly changing,” Gutierrez said. “We need to be proactive and stay abreast of changes so we can train for them beforehand instead of playing catchup.”

Development

“This one ties back into training,” Gutierrez said. “You start off on one end of the scale in terms of skill and capability. Through experience and training, you develop both personally and professionally.”

Professionally, the Air Force endorses military education throughout various career stages. Some PME courses are mandatory, but many are optional. Gutierrez said it’s important units foster an environment that encourages Airmen to seek out PME and mentorship opportunities.

“Leaders mentor and are mentored,” Gutierrez said. “Actively try to mentor others and seek mentorship from people you look up to.”

Personal development encompasses the four pillars of wellness.

“When leading people, it’s important you help them personally develop because that’s going to give you well-rounded Airmen who are ultimately fit-to-fight and accomplish their mission,” Jarmon said.

Quality of life

“The quality of life in your unit will play a big part in mission accomplishment,” he said. “If morale is low because of issues in or out of the shop, there will be noticeable impact to the unit and member.”

Jarmon said it’s important leaders be proactive in monitoring members’ quality of life.

“Only ‘caring’ when you see something wrong is a good way for things to go bad,” Jarmon said. “Actively get out in front of morale issues by fostering a climate of dignity, trust and respect.”

Jarmon said it’s also important leaders ensure their people are aware of resources available to them to improve their quality of life, such as Outdoor Recreation and the Military and Family Readiness Center.

To help the base “stay ready in the offseason,” the 50th SW IG office distributed a Commander’s Inspection handbook to units that breaks down the MGAs and gives examples of things inspectors are looking for during inspections.

“It is important that leaders at all levels are familiar with the guidance this handbook provides,” said Lou Fischer, direction of inspections with the 50th SW IG. “The wing can only be successful in its CCIP execution if leadership at all levels take an active role in knowing our process and supporting it.”

To view the handbook, click here. To obtain a hard copy, people are advised to contact their self-assessment program managers.

Editor’s note: this is part two in a four-part series on the major graded areas of the commander’s inspection program.