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Take look inward with honesty, responsibility

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Robert Johnson
  • 570th Contingency Response Group superintendent
Honest self-evaluation is something you must actively do, it is not something that just happens. During my time in the Air Force, I have found that truly outstanding Airmen are often their own worst critics. They constantly evaluate their overall performance, from supervising and leading, to how well they follow and carry out the orders from those appointed over them. I have also found that average Airmen also do this sometimes, and below average Airmen evaluate themselves very little or not at all.

Here is a simple test you can do on your own: Ask an Airman that you feel is truly outstanding how well they think they are doing in their current job. Answers will vary from time to time, but for the most part, you will get an answer close to this: "Well I think I'm doing a pretty good job, however there is always room where I can make some improvements." They may also point out specific areas where they think, or know, they need to improve. Now, ask an Airman that you feel is an average or below average performer the same question. Again, answers may vary, but you should notice some differences. The answers may sound something like this: "I think I do a good job" or "I think I do a good job but there can be some improvements."

Can you pick out the differences? Here is what I have noticed through the years, normally the truly outstanding Airman is humble and they tend to shy away from self-praise. The average to below average Airman normally does not shy away from self-praise and ,this is key, they actually believe they are doing a great job, despite the fact their performance may not be all that great. Also, when the word "improvement" is used in the answer, the outstanding Airman will own it while the other merely suggests improvement can be made and not necessarily apply it to themselves.

Why do I point all this out? Well, quite simply, I have two challenges for you. First, ask yourself how well you self-evaluate. Do you really take the time to think about how you are as a person? Do you evaluate how good you are as an Air Force member, mentor, trainer, supervisor or friend?

One of the hardest skills to master is to evaluate one's self honestly, and then develop a plan to correct or enhance any weakness that you may have. Second, if you know you have trouble speaking in public, training Airmen, time management, communication, writing, spelling, etc., what are you doing to correct these attributes, or at the very least become better at whatever your weakness is? Just admitting your faults is not enough; you must actively work on fixing them. If you do, then you are on the right path to become or stay a truly outstanding Airman. If not, then you will be stuck in the vicious cycle known as mediocrity.