Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Monday, December 21, 2015

Airmen become resilience 'warriors', better leaders

by Candy Knight
Air Mobility Command


12/21/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- On the path to self-improvement, people often cite variations of the quote "it's not the destination that matters, but the journey."

For the Airmen who recently ascended to the "Warrior" tier of the Leadership Pathways (LP) initiative, the lessons learned along the way about becoming more resilient meant more to them than reaching Warrior status. 

"Earning Warrior-status is an honor," said Staff Sgt. Jahmel Sargent, 60th Aerial Port Squadron, Passenger Operations Supervisor at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

"Honestly, reaching the Warrior-tier was initially my goal when I started the program. Along the way it became more about how much more information, techniques, and advice I gained and brought back to the workcenter."

Individuals participating in Leadership Pathways earn credits based on completion of a class, workshop, seminar, or event related to increasing personal resilience.

Air Mobility Command implements a three-tiered status based on course credits earned. Individuals are awarded Wingman status, upon achieving 10 LP credits; Leader upon achieving 20 LP credits and Warrior upon achieving 30 LP credits.

"It took a lot of dedication to stick with LP," Sargent said. "Seeing it all the way through puts you in an elite group of Airmen who strive to be better leaders today for tomorrow's Airmen. Every time I took a class, I'd go back to work, and tell everyone how the class has helped me personally and professionally. I've actually gotten quite a few Airmen to sign up for classes."

Airmen reaching the Warrior-tier may also receive additionally recognition. However, the additional recognition doesn't compare to the self-improvement benefits they received from the overall LP experience, they said. 

"LP fosters collaboration and offers Airmen an opportunity to learn how to take care of themselves and others," said Ivera Harris, Air Mobility Command's community support program manager. "Life is not always easy, and not everyone gets a trophy. But Airmen are taught skills to assist them in making good choices.  It is not just one thing or one person, but everything and everyone working together to foster a resilient culture."

Since the initiative began in 2012, AMC numbers have steadily increased.

"We have seen class attendance go from a baseline of 32 thousand in 2012 to about 70 thousand in 2015," Harris said. "We are excited about LP and its possibilities. It is a team effort, and we have some great teams out there."

Tech. Sgt. Kristine M. Gamilla, 321st Air Mobility Operations Squadron's commander's support staff NCOIC at Travis, said the abundance of courses to choose from amazed her.

"I enjoy reading self-help books and attending self-improvement classes. Any course I can take to further develop me and the people around me helps out the entire Air Force. As many of us know, we cannot change others unless they want to change themselves. So as a leader, I took advantage of what I learned from these courses and exercised them by making changes in myself."

Sargent stated another reason he began the program was he felt the courses would give him a different perspective on the type of leader he could become.

"One of many things I gained from LP was learning about yourself first," he said. "I've had bad leaders in my past. I chose the courses I did because I personally wanted to know how I could become a well-rounded leader and get some information out to those that needed it. Knowing what type of leader you are currently and what type of leader you want to be go hand-and-hand."

Both Gamilla and Sargent said that reaching Warrior status took dedication and persistence, and they're grateful for the recognition. However, they don't intend to stop there.

"I am honored to receive the Warrior status," Gamilla said. "The different base agencies here at Travis continue to offer new and developmental classes. I will continue my self-development journey and encourage others to sign up for classes with me. It's always more fun attending classes with friends and coworkers."

"I hope LP gets more recognition across the Air Force," Sargent said. "I've talked to my friends: many of them have no idea about LP and what the program offers and how to take advantage of the phenomenal courses. After I explain to them, they're interested. Maybe there should be an Air Force-level award to keep pushing after 'Warrior' level."

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