Professional organizations build better leaders|
Posted 9/14/2012 Updated 9/17/2012
by Senior Airman Elisa Labbe
460th Space Wing Public Affairs
9/14/2012 - BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE,Colo. -- Today's Air Force is becoming a leaner, more efficient workforce. For Airmen, this means doing more with less and constantly preparing for the responsibilities of the next rank.
Professional organizations are one of the top resources for building better leaders and a highly proficient Air Force.
Master Sgt. Christopher Hart, Team Buckley career assistance advisor, has participated in professional organizations his entire career. Hart said, like many others, he was forced to attend his first meeting.
"My supervisor grabbed me by the collar and took me to a booster club meeting for our squadron. I didn't really understand what the whole thing was about until I got there," said Hart.
However, Hart believes those Airmen are usually not informed about the importance of long-term participation in these organizations.
"Everyone should be a part of at least one professional organization," said Hart. "I think too often supervisors tell their individuals that they need to go to a meeting for bullets and award packages. Instead the focus should be on the growth you can gain by being part of these organizations."
Participating in a professional organization is a change of pace from day-to-day military operations, but is still a way to be involved. Airmen of all ranks can find opportunities and challenges through volunteering, leading, organizing and mentoring.
"It has taught me leadership, responsibility and service before self" said Airman 1st Class Chih Hao Wen, 460th Force Support Squadron.
For Hart, getting involved in professional organizations throughout his military career helped prime and prepare Hart for additional responsibilities.
"When I was a technical sgt. and pretty new here to Buckley, I organized a couple events for the base. My chief saw the skill sets that I had and said, 'Hey, I want you to take over the unit deployment manager's office because we have an operational readiness inspection coming up, and it's really messed up. You've got the organizational skills and everything to get it back on track,' " Hart recalled.
Professional organizations can not only be a way of building better leaders for the military, but can also help to build stronger communities. Being part of a professional organization to further personal professional development is only a small part of the bigger picture.
For Wen, it took joining a professional organization as an executive officer to realize the impact was much larger than himself.
"I decided to get involved in Better Opportunities for Single Service members mainly because I wanted to get some volunteer work done, but now I enjoy helping other junior enlisted members," he said.
According to Hart, it's important to recognize how participating can benefit fellow Airmen, squadrons, the base and, in some cases, the entire community.
"We have to realize that we're part of the community. It's not just Buckley Air Force Base. Granted, we have our gates and our fences that enclose use, but we're still part of this community. They give a lot to us," said Hart.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in an organization and to excel, whether it's in an executive officer position or as a regular member. Most organizations meet monthly to discuss issues and upcoming events.
Though Buckley has a unique mission that can make it difficult for Airmen attend meetings during the duty day, Hart stresses the importance and role of senior leaders to professional organizations.
"As senior leaders we need to be making sure we are providing an opportunity for people to attend," he said.
The current list of professional organizations on Buckley is listed below.
Joint Junior Enlisted Group (JJEG)
Better Opportunities for Single Service members (BOSS)
Airmen Against Drunk Driving (AADD)
Buckley 5/6 Association
Buckley Top 3
Air Force Sergeant's Association (AFSA)