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Center enhances leadership arsenal

Posted 2/26/2013   Updated 2/26/2013 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs

2/26/2013 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- At some point in their career, supervisors have had or will have that one troop. That one troop whose body seems to have never met soap and shower in his or her lifetime or whose teeth have never touched the bristles of a toothbrush.

Realizing it may hurt his or her feelings one way or another, how do you communicate, "You stink," to your subordinate with a little tact or finesse?

Leaders have always struggled and are still struggling with how to communicate issues with their subordinates since well before the Air Force was even born.

Fortunately, the Professional Development Center holds various classes that aim to help supervisors and others enhance their communication skills and build their leadership arsenal. These include "You Stink," "Silver Bullet," "Time Management" and "How to be a Better Supervisor."

"You Stink focuses on how to deal with sticky situations you may encounter with your subordinates, peers, and seniors," said Master Sgt. Amy Hunter, Schriever career assistance advisor. "The instructors will give examples on how to confront others in the areas of personal hygiene, dress and appearance, rules and regulations, and other situations."

During the class, Hunter walks participants through the given examples and scenarios. It's an interactive class where there's no right or wrong answer; however, everyone can learn from each other.

"It's really based on people's experience," Hunter said. "There may be methods that are better than others."

Hunter said tackling personal issues is more situational since everyone is different.

"The way cops handle something maybe different than how a medic would," Hunter said. "Also when you supervise, you handle things differently based on the person you are supervising."

For the Silver Bullets class, participants learn the mechanics of writing award packages, enlisted and officer performance reports as well as the level of writing.

"You wouldn't write the same bullet on an airman that you would on a senior master sergeant," Hunter said. "We distinguish those situations as well. If you're going to give somebody a five rating, the bullet has to match that five or vice versa. If you're giving somebody a two rating, you are not going to write a bullet saying the Airman is an excellent performer."

Though a performance report includes action, impact and result, there can still be various differences supervisors must think about.

"Every wing, group and squadron has its own standards," Hunter said. "I suggest that when you go to your duty station, find their standards."

Senior Airman Latoya Harper, 4th Space Operations Squadron, said she attended a Silver Bullet class because she needed a refresher course on how to write an enlisted performance report correctly.

"The class was very informative," Harper said. "It definitely helped with writing your EPRs to make it easier for your supervisor. I recommend Silver Bullets as well as the other classes to everyone, even the new Airmen so they'll know the process of writing their bullets and what their supervisors are looking for."

Meanwhile, the Time Management class also offers help in prioritizing responsibilities and requirements.

"I find the class most important for first-term Airmen," Hunter said. "They are just getting used to the Air Force way of life and they have a lot on their plate. They have to accomplish their career development courses and the mission as well as incorporate fitness into their lifestyle."

Hunter said it can be very overwhelming to them, trying to figure out what they need to do versus what they want to do.

"The class has a lot of exercises where people sit down and write basically a log of where they spend the most time," she said. "We talk about goals and managing how to get there."

As for Be a Better Supervisor, the class is geared toward improving communication between supervisor and subordinate.

"We don't just talk about your responsibilities as a supervisor, but also your responsibilities to yourself," Hunter said. "It also goes back to time management. You have to make time for yourself and your family."

She said supervisors need to be physically, technically, mentally and spiritually ready and connected.

"To be a better supervisor entails communication, knowing your people and being involved," Hunter said.

The Professional Development Center also offers a basic Post 9/11 GI Bill briefing to military members where Hunter talks about benefits and eligibility as well as how to transfer benefits. Peterson Air Force Base is the servicing education center.

Additionally, the center now offers Stripes to Bars, which offers a panel of prior enlisted, company grade officers who have commissioned through the various programs. Stripes to Bars is 3-4 p.m. March 8 in Building 210, Room 310.

For more information, call the center at 567-5927 or click here.

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