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Airmen need feedback to reach their potential

Published: 02:26PM April 3rd, 2014

Airmen need feedback, meaningful and purposeful feedback to reach their full potential.

The importance of feedback is not new to our Air Force, yet we often struggle to capitalize on this opportunity to strengthen our team. We all need feedback and we need it often; it enables us to accomplish great things for our nation, as individuals and as a team. Whether we’re brand new Airmen or seasoned veterans, we’re all moving towards a goal, a destination — a target we’d like to hit in the future.

To reach those goals, we need feedback. It’s one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement. It is essential to winning the fight, strengthening the team and shaping the future.

Feedback comes in many forms. It’s anything or anyone that tells us where we are, how we’re doing, where we need to go and how we need to get there. Feedback keeps us on track or puts us back on track; it clarifies how others perceive our performance. We must have feedback to fully reach our potential and capitalize on opportunities. It’s something we need to do in our Air Force, and need to do well.

Soon we’ll have the tool to do it better than ever before. In the coming months, we’ll release the Airman Comprehensive Assessment. As the name implies, it’s comprehensive. The form facilitates a meaningful and purposeful dialogue between supervisors and the Airmen they lead. It includes a self-assessment, a detailed evaluation of current performance, and specific questions for the rater and ratee to discuss. It will take time, but it will be time well spent.

If you’re a supervisor in our Air Force, you must provide feedback to those you lead. Good supervisors know their people; they know what’s important to them, their goals and aspirations. You have to know what’s going on in their life well enough so you can support them, understand them and appreciate them. We owe our Airmen direction and guidance with clear expectations; feedback provides the forum. Supervisors must take the time to sit down with Airmen and have that conversation. It is a responsibility.

Airmen must seek and be open to feedback; this can be challenging, yet essential to reach your full potential. We must be honest and open with our concerns. We must take the time to understand our strengths and weaknesses. We must ask our own questions, clarify the answers and take action.

Our Air Force depends on Airmen who lead cutting-edge research, explore emerging technology and promote innovation across government, industry and academia. We vigorously pursue excellence that will catapult our force to greater heights. We must rely on feedback, grow from it and be confident it’s the pathway to winning the fight, strengthening the team and shaping the future.

Chief Master Sgt. Cody’s message was his latest monthly “Airman’s Roll Call,” designed for supervisors at all levels to help keep Airmen informed on current issues, clear up confusion, dispel rumors, and provide additional face-to-face communication between supervisors and their teams.