August Chief's Perspective
By Chief Master Sgt. Carmen Harkins, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published August 01, 2016
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Greetings my fellow Swamp Fox's! I am the newly assigned Superintendent at the Base Command Post, and I would like to chat about the importance of MENTORING.
Mentoring is essential in developing well-rounded, professional, and competent airmen into effective leaders. I certainly wouldn't have gotten where I am today if it weren't for mentorship. My experience started with my fourth supervisor while Active Duty and 20 years later I still keep in touch with my first professional mentor. Over the years, I have accumulated a number of mentors and continue to reach out to them for advice and guidance. As a military member it is your inherent responsibility to mentor others.
Mentors help promote the value of continuous self-development in our future leaders. The Air Force identifies different types of mentoring: Flash Mentoring, Group Mentoring, Peer Mentoring, Reverse Mentoring, Situational Mentoring, and Virtual Mentoring. I suggest reading AFMAN36-2643 for the detailed descriptions of these relationship types.
Mentor Expectations for Mentees
- Exemplify Air Force Core Values
- Provide counsel, guidance, feedback, and acknowledge accomplishments
- Support career planning and goal setting
- Assess strengths and weaknesses for personal and professional development improvement
- Share knowledge, experience, and provide appropriate resources
- Identify and help resolve potential issues
- Facilitate opportunities to gain new experiences and build skills
- Request assistance when needed, fully engage, and actively listen
- Be open to feedback and be willing to accept new challenges
Mentees play a critical role in their development. I encourage mentees to seek out a mentor(s) and be actively involved in developing and reaching your education and professional goals. I highly recommend attending the Professional Organizations we have here at McEntire. Organizations like The Airman's Council, 5/6, Top 3, and Chief's Councils; all organizations meet on Sundays of Drill weekend.
Supervisors and leaders, please promote these organizations and give your folks the time to attend. Get involved and ask them to provide a small brief to share what they have learned with their peers.
- Work with mentors to develop a career plan that identifies goals
- Gain in-depth understanding of the mission, goals, and structure of the Air Force
- Accept responsibility for personal learning and developmental needs
- Enhance institutional and occupational competencies
- Leverage opportunities for career advancement
- Expand leadership abilities
- Be receptive to feedback
Bottom line be COACHABLE
A great resource that the Air Force has developed is the "MyVECTOR" website which can be accessed through the AF Portal. This site offers a great place to map out your career goals and find an online mentor or mentor group. You can join or create discussions on subjects that interest you like education, AFSC information, commissioning guidance, PME...etc. You can also register yourself as a mentor and provide guidance on those who seek it.
A great option this site has to offer is the Bullet Tracker. Airmen can keep track of their accomplishments and turn them into bullets for EPR's, OPR's, and awards packages etc. This instrument will help you learn how to successfully write a bullet and it also allows you to print your accomplishments to give to your supervisor.
Supervisors, I highly encourage you to get familiar with this site and use it as a tool for developing your Airmen.
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader" -- John Quincy Adams