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A letter from the command chief on mentorship

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas --


Greetings Gunfighters, 

Many of you have asked, “How do you like your new job?” or “How do you like working at the Wing?” My answer to those questions is that I’ve been in the military for almost 30 years – most of it as a traditional Guardsman. I love the work. It is definitely different from being a narcotics sergeant civilian police officer or from being the wing weapons manager for maintenance. I love to strategize and collaborate on the most important thing – taking care of airmen. 

I enjoy focusing on things like trying to fill our vacancies as we plus up aircraft or getting members their professional education (EPME, CCAF), recognition, equipment, tools, supplies, and pay. I enjoy advising our commanders on my perspective as it relates to the enlisted force. I also advise members on our leadership’s intent as it pertains to our mission (“Do your job and don’t be a jerk!” – Col. Madden or “Let’s build speed and efficiency into our processes.” - Gen McMinn) and let them know what leadership’s vision entails. I love to tell someone, “Now that’s Uncompromised Excellence!” when they have excelled.  I get to say it a lot!

One aspect of the job I don’t enjoy, however, is dealing with personnel problems. When it gets to the wing leadership level, there are many sides to a problem; and with large problems, there are many wrongs that need to be corrected. The old saying goes: “There are always two sides to every story,” but what I have discovered is that in most cases, there are two to three or even four sides to some stories.  I have learned to be open mined until all avenues have been explored.

In my experience, the main reason for most personnel issues is the fact that everyone thinks he or she is number one and have not been given the correct, documented and proper feedback. If feedback is given on a regular basis, there should be no surprises when it comes to one’s performance ratings or promotions. I give feedback like this: I tell them what they are good at (praise), give a little sting (critique) and always show a way forward (mentoring). Lastly, I document that feedback. If that recipe is followed, you are deliberately mentoring, giving feedback and letting people know how they’re doing.  Sounds like a whole lot of communication to me. How about you?

I’ll end my conversation with this last bit of advice:  Give proper and documented feedback, mentor, get mentored, and "do your job and don’t be a jerk!” If you do that, you will have Uncompromised Excellence and Mission Dominance!

I work for you. I am here for you. Let me help you succeed. 

 

Duty- Honor-Texas,

Chief LaCour