Focus on PEOPLE - not promotion

people graphic

(U.S. Air Force graphic/2nd Lt. Shelley Gregory)

FAIRCHILD AFB, WASH. -- The new U.S. Air Force promotion and stratification process is a hot topic concerning our Airmen. When addressing recent chief's and shirt's panels, I have found it best to emphasize and encourage our Airmen to establish and follow a proven leadership philosophy. Too often our Airmen are focusing on the end result or the next promotion and not the journey of development. A good leadership philosophy should be based on the acronym "P.E.O.P.L.E."  These approaches not only ensure an Airman's next promotion, but may help ensure our Air Force will have great leaders in the future.

The U.S. Air Force promotion and stratification process may easily identify tangibles, quantifiable skills and achievements, but P.E.O.P.L.E. should really be your focus. As supervisors, a top concern should be how we are developing our Airmen. These Airmen should be striving to master their profession and trust that the new promotion process will highlight their efforts. Airmen, redirect your focus on the following acronym to help you through this new promotion process. Be:

Proficient:  Are you competent, credible and capable to accomplish your job in the U.S. Air Force?
Learning never stops. Knowing how and what to do in your job is critical to our Air Force mission. You should seek opportunities to continue your own personal and professional education.

Empowered:  You are our most important asset, thus we must recognize and empower our future leaders. We must recognize your hard work and the great ideas you bring to the organization.

Open and honest communication:  The core value of integrity goes hand in hand with communication. Leaders don't want "yes men" around, and future leaders need to practice having these tough conversations to ensure our Airmen follow military standards.  

Pioneering:  Are you exhibiting initiative to get things done and seeking opportunities to highlight your accomplishments to the organization? There is value when Airmen take action and even make mistakes; there are many great leaders who have learned from their own mistakes and have become stronger through these life lessons. 

Level and balanced:  Quality leaders balance work and home. As outlined in AFI 36-2618, 3.1.4 "Airmen must be technically, physically, mentally and spiritually balanced." Do not neglect one at the expense of the others.

Exchange of Ideas: You should feel free to reach out to current and previous leadership. The need to discuss ideas that can improve the organization and fix underlying issues is critical to Airmen being successful. Don't tell leadership what you think they want to hear, be real and honest. 

The "P.E.O.P.L.E." acronym is the key to success in the U.S. Air Force and should be every Airman's focus.
Promotions will come when we focus on these areas.