MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
Chief master sergeants stationed here attended a professional development seminar, Mar. 22, 2019, at Boise State University.
In attendance were 14 Gunfighter chiefs representing units and squadrons from the base.
Chief Master Sgt. Wendell Snider, 366th Fighter Wing command chief, partnered with Laura Porter, BSU military programs coordinator, to put together a professional development seminar that focuses on teaching senior enlisted workers how to communicate better with younger generations.
“We recognize that there is a need for professional development opportunities for base leadership," Porter said. "We invited our Center for Professional Development team to complete a needs assessment for the chiefs."
The ability to work with the community became a vital aspect in the process of developing this course and for the chiefs, this seminar was a unique opportunity to learn types of cross-generation communication skills taught by two of BSUs world-class instructors.
The seminar featured lessons taught by Dr. James Graves, BSU leadership development specialist and Carol Barkes, BSU neuro peak performance specialist.
"I wanted to leverage the recourses we have in the community to professionally develop the enlisted force," Snider said. "Particularly, I wanted to focus on all the chiefs, reason being is unfortunately these courses aren't offered to all chiefs at this time, most of the courses go to command chiefs.
Snider said he wanted to have a personal development course that taught chiefs how to communicate through generations.
"I had visited Airmen in the field as well as Airmen who had just completed the Transition Assistance Program,” he explained. "A reoccurring theme that I heard was that supervisors were struggling when it came to communicating with their subordinates.”
The education team at BSU was able to develop a curriculum that specifically addresses this issue.
"There's often a disconnect and this seminar addresses ways to take that into consideration in order to become a well-rounded leader," said Porter.
The skills learned in the seminar are expected to increase the communication effectiveness between chiefs and Airmen supervisors, and enhance the way task and objective information are relayed and received.
"By starting with the chief master sergeants, I would hope that they take this back to their units and begin to train their senior NCOs, and share this information so that it trickles its way down," Snider said. "I think it's going to be a combination of events like this to ensure we develop our supervisors and that they can take care of their Airmen."
The professors emphasized the importance of collaboration in an organization building leaders and empowering people to express innovative ideas. Bridging the gap between generations was a major point throughout the seminar.
"Ultimately it comes down to treating people with respect and understanding differences," Snider said. "We must respect new ideas and how people think. That, in turn, will drive innovation when we have an environment where people aren't afraid to bring new ideas to the table."
Through the process of working together with BSU to build this seminar, Mountain Home AFB has been able to work on building a foundation of trust and partnership with the community, and bring together Chiefs from both Hill AFB and Gowen Field for this experience.
Snider said they are partnering with the base career assistance and 366th Force Support Squadron in developing a product for supervisors on how to effectively communicate, supervise and train their Airmen.
"This is just another step we are going to use to ensure supervisors have the personal skills they need in order to take care of their Airmen." he said.
This was the first time Mountain Home AFB has organized a professional development seminar for chiefs. But Snider said he considers it to be a great success and is looking forward to future partnership opportunities.
"I’m excited about the relationship with Boise State moving forward," He said. "I'm also excited about building those relationships with our team members up at Gowen as we continue to help each other grow."
"Boise State is committed to helping service members achieve their educational goals at all stages of their career," said Sean Hunter, BSU director of community outreach. "Now we are coming along side that with professional development opportunities for enhancing their military career."