Training; it's our duty

  • Published
  • By SMSgt. T. Todd Mastin
  • 388th Component Maintenance Squadron
Training your replacement is a two way street, are YOU doing your part? When you look up and down the chain of command you see many different responsibilities but the one thing high on my radar is training my replacement. As a first line supervisor you are not only a leader and manager but a vital trainer who holds the valuable tools that can be used to measure our Air Force's success. Our peers and subordinates are focused on their daily task and the Airmen that work for them. This is the perfect opportunity for your young leaders to engage in training their replacements; they just need you to become their mentor! The thing to remember is that these supervisors must have all the tools in their toolbox as they prepare for this important task...have you prepared them properly?

What is a toolbox and what should be in yours? I think a toolbox is all the resources that I require to complete the mission. The tools include but are not limited to: pride, ownership, respect, understanding of the enlisted force structure, solid foundation within your career field, motivated trainer/supervisor and constant feedback and follow-up. These items can be provided during performance feedbacks but also can be discussed on a daily basis.

The personnel and budgetary reductions the Air Force has encountered since 2008 have taken a huge toll on every career field in the Air Force, yet the mission tasking, if anything, seems to have increased. Our airmen deserve to be passed a box full of tools which they can carry with them every day with pride so that each of them can continue the proud traditions that were passed onto us.

I hope by reading this article you will take the time to reflect on your careers and how your supervisors took the time to train and develop you and how it allowed you to grow into the successful airman you are today! If however, on the odd occasion that you did not receive the valuable training you required I ask that you do not continue that same negative trait for your airmen...instead ensure you train your replacement the way you should have been trained. Engage with them on a daily basis, provide constant feedback (positive and negative) so they know where they stand and if they need to improve and what those areas are! A person will continue the same bad habits if never told they are doing something wrong, so engage on a regular basis. Help them set goals! Without goals the airman will be like an airplane without a vector, simply floating where the air stream carries them, or spinning in circles and getting nowhere. People need goals in order to ensure they are constantly moving from point A to point B to point C and so on.

Finally, get out from behind your desk (comfort zone) and ensure "at all levels" that your airmen are receiving all the tools and mentorship required to fill their tool they can begin the face-to-face engagement with their airmen while training their replacements. In accomplishing this, each of you can ensure the leadership torch is passed from generation to generation so our great Air Force can succeed in all of its future missions.