Shaping the Air Force's future through our Airmen

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Winning the Global War on Terrorism wouldn't be possible without Airmen stepping up to the challenge. It also wouldn't be possible without the supervisors who lead and mentor them. But, the real key to success lies with the first line supervisors - staff sergeants and technical sergeants. Your day-to-day interaction with these young men and women plays a key role in their professional and personal development and will shape the future of our Air Force.

On the professional side, you need to ensure our Airmen complete their Career Development Courses and on-the-job training in a timely manner. Promote a warrior ethos by ensuring they, as well as yourself, stay in top physical condition and are ready to deploy at any given time. Mentor them on our core values and lead by example in areas such as personal integrity, loyalty, leadership, dedication and devotion to duty. Always uphold Air Force policies and execute them as if they were your own. Hold yourself to the highest of standards and more often than not they'll follow in your footsteps.

On the personal development side, you must be committed to providing our Airmen the tools needed for not only career building but personal well-being. Constantly remind them of the importance of on/off-duty education and completion of their Community College of the Air Force degree. Get involved. Ensure things such as their personal well being, finances and quality of life are taken care of. As first line supervisors you are the single most important person in prevention issues. If you feel you are unable to help them with their problems or questions, refer them to folks who are, and always follow up until the matter is resolved.

Create a motivating work environment that fosters growth and team building. Set clear and measurable goals and always have an open line of communication. Remember, successful supervisors listen to their people and try to understand their perspective. As first line supervisors you are the eyes and ears of management. You are the first to know when problems arise in the work area and key to resolving them before they escalate.

Finally, be the leader your Airmen want to emulate; an outstanding leader who lives by the highest set of standards on and off duty and is willing to go to battle for your folks as well as discipline them when necessary. Always remember that people and mission go hand-in hand. Never lose sight of the fact that developing your people and communicating with them are great leadership qualities and go a long way toward accomplishing the mission.