Program focuses on building better leaders

Leadership trainer Kathy Hanson challenges Tinker personnel with leadership questions and examples, sometimes getting revealing, humorous answers, during the Aug. 1 program at the Tom Steed Center on the Rose State College campus. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

Leadership trainer Kathy Hanson challenges Tinker personnel with leadership questions and examples, sometimes getting revealing, humorous answers, during the Aug. 1 program at the Tom Steed Center on the Rose State College campus. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE -- Sixty-five percent of performance problems in the work place have to deal with strained relations, not lack of skill or motivation, said organizational psychologist Dr. Johnna Shamp.
   The five-day Leadership Assessment Program focused on building better leaders to promote a stronger Tinker work force.
   Thirty-six specially-selected maintenance engineers and scientist participated in LAP designed to provide introspective training and assess leadership strengths and weaknesses. The Office of Personnel Management administered the course usually held in West Virginia at the Tom Steed Center in Midwest City, Okla.
   "The course is all about them as individuals. It's about developing character, personality, leadership and inspiring others to follow," said Kathy Hanson, training director.
   Jeff Catron, 76th Maintenance Wing engineering director, said much of the training and experiences faced by scientist and engineers is focused on developing technical skills.
   "This course exposes our future science and engineering leaders to the skills they will need to lead people. Specifically, this course helps a person recognize the leadership skills they need to develop and to identify a means to continually sharpen those skills," Mr. Catron said.
   A team of ten executive-level management coaches were brought to Oklahoma to give seminars, observe participants and take notes. One observer was assigned to watch six students and take notes on every move they made to provide accurate assessments of the participants.
   The course included a "360 degree assessment" in which participants were asked to assess their work character and get assessments from their supervisor and five co-workers to accompany the assessment the observer gave at the end of the course.
   The course concluded with individual feedback sessions where the coach and the student reviewed all assessments, set goals and made plans to implement changes.
   "So many people get focused on a project that they are working on, they forget to develop themselves. For a person to become a good leader, the also have to focus on their on personal development," said engineering training coordinator Tresa Moore.
   Gen. Judy Fedder, 76th MXW commander, said the participants were able to learn things about themselves that can help the Air Force continue down the right path.
   "We need people who can deal with the magnitude of changes that can't be fixed by more money ... challenges that require leadership," Gen. Fedder said.
   Donovan Moore, vice-director of process, control and improvement for the 72nd Propulsion Maintenance Wing, said the course helped him interrelate better with his staff of 77 people.
   "While the tasks may vary, it's how you manage those staff members that will get the parts on time and on cost to help the warfighter," Mr. Moore said.
   76th Software Maintenance Group engineer Russell Gartman said he learned he could be more assertive.
   "It gives you insight on why you do what you do and helps you understand people better," Mr. Gartman said.