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News > Mentoring: the ultimate role of a leader
Capt. Darrell D. Bogan
Capt. Darrell Bogan, 94th Airlift WIng Equal Opportunity director (official photo)
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Mentoring: the ultimate role of a leader

Posted 3/15/2013   Updated 3/19/2013 Email story   Print story


by Capt. Darrell Bogan
94th Airlift Wing Equal Opportunity

3/15/2013 - DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga.  -- Air Force professional development teaches us that leadership is the art of influencing and directing people to accomplish the mission.

According to General Ronald R. Fogelman, former Air Force Chief of Staff, good leaders are people who have a passion to succeed. To become successful leaders, we must first learn that no matter how good the technology or how shiny the equipment, people-to-people relations get things done in our organizations. People are the assets that determine our success or failure. If you are to be a good leader, you have to cultivate your skills in the arena of personal relations.

In addition to cultivating our own skills, being a good leader requires the understanding that we share the responsibility of influencing leadership skills in our Airmen. Each individual possesses leadership skills; however, some may feel that since they do not hold a leadership position, they do not need to hone in on those skills. As leaders, it is our responsibility to mentor our Airmen and tap into their skills to ensure the forward progression of a successful U.S. Air Force.

Mentoring is an inherent responsibility of leadership. So much so that the Air Force has established a mentoring program with Air Force Instruction 36-3401, Air Force Mentoring, and the Air Force Reserve Command further established AFRC Pamphlet 36-3401, AFRC Mentoring Program. The sole purpose of the mentoring program is to systematically develop the skills and leadership abilities of the less experienced members of an organization. Leaders should know their people and accept responsibility for them. Each of us must take an active role in the professional development of our Airmen.

As a mentor and role model, it is important to convey to our protégé that our main concern is the success of their careers and personal lives. We must be able to define and identify barriers and obstacles that may obstruct this success. It is the people-to-people skills General Fogelman stressed that will allow us to connect with our Airmen and make a difference in their lives, career and ultimately, the Air Force overall.

The Air Force has come a long way since its initial origins in 1907 when the Aeronautical Division of the Army Signal Corps was mainly interested in balloons and dirigibles.

Historically, our active leadership has progressively enhanced the Air Force in becoming the greatest aerial force in the world. To ensure we remain the best of the best, all Air Force leaders must ensure mentoring is a number one priority. Success is our mission, rooted in our ability to continue developing future leaders.

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