Mentorship strengthens Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alessandra N. Gamboa
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
How can an Airman head in the right direction, if he doesn't even know where he is right now?

"This is where mentorship through feedback comes in," Master Sgt. Marty Joyce, 28th Operations Group first sergeant said. "I would never want an Airman to think they were doing well when they were not meeting expectations. By the same token, I wouldn't want an Airman to think they were failing when in fact they were doing a good job."

Sergeant Joyce said communication is instrumental in effective mentorship and leadership.

"The ability to get your message across effectively is such a valuable skill set," he said. "So many times the meaning can get lost. It's important that information make sense to the listener for it to be useful. After all, Airmen can grow and improve only if they correctly interpret your guidance to them."

"There's no rank requirement to be a mentor," he said. "A mentor can be anyone with whom you feel comfortable talking to and who possess qualities you admire whether personally or professionally. The goal of mentorship is to increase the knowledge and skills in someone. So if there is something I do not understand or I have never dealt with before, I look to my family, friends and co-workers for advice."

Sergeant Joyce said he has gained valuable experience throughout his 16 years in the Air Force, but constantly strives to learn and improve to be a better senior NCO.

"I like to keep an open mind and ears peeled to differing viewpoints. Learning from the experiences of others can nourish your professional and personal growth."

"If I was a younger Airman, the first person I would talk to is my front-line supervisor, because he or she is the person who is the most actively engaged with me at work," Sergeant Joyce said. "In my opinion, supervisors see their Airmen on a regular basis in the work centers and are better prepared to build a foundation for the mentorship process."

Sergeant Joyce said one of the most important qualities for a supervisor and mentor to have is empathy and to try and meet the needs of the Airmen.

"The bigger picture here is that if Airmen aren't being looked out for, they may lose their ability to properly focus on their duties, and the mission will suffer as a result," he said.