Leadership Development for Civil Servants

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt Sybil Taunton
  • 97 AMW/public Affairs
Once the scattered sounds of clanking forks and lunchtime conversations had settled, phrases such as "benchmark program" and "best practice" lingered in the air as Col. Stuart Shaw, 97 Air Mobility Wing Vice Commander, gave a speech recognizing the success of the first ever Leadership Altus Air Force Base class at their graduation ceremony June 11. 

With approximately 62 percent of the workforce being civil servants, Leadership Altus AFB offered a unique opportunity for civilian workers at AAFB to gain leadership development, insight into other career fields and networking opportunities through the use of group projects and presentations. 

Brenda Andrew, the Manpower and Personnel Flight Chief, participated in a similar program offered by the Alamo Federal Executive Board in San Antonio, Texas. Though similar programs are offered in various cities throughout the country, this particular class was the first of its kind offered to enhance the leadership capabilities of civilian workers at Altus AFB. 

"Leadership AAFB was tailored to provide insight to the various groups on base: Medical Group, Operations Group, Mission Support Group, and the Maintenance Directorate. The Wing Staff Agencies coordinated a tour of city and county governments which operate in the city of Altus," said Ms. Andrew. 

Students taking part in the class were nominated by their commanders in order to be considered for the class. Once the nominations were submitted, the Civilian Advisory Board made the final selections. After this process was completed, 23 students were accepted into the program. 

The class then elected a president, Boone Nicolls, and a vice president, Paula Willis. 

With a unique curriculum offering little specific guidance, the students were required to read several leadership books, take part in group discussions and offer tours and presentations about the groups in which they work. 

When asked what the most beneficial aspect of the class was, Mr. Nicolls said, "seeing how the different groups and organizations have to work together to get the mission done. Training is usually always job specific and not career broadening." 

At the end of the course the students worked together on a group project in which they chose to recognize "unsung heroes" from the different groups on base for Public Service Recognition Week. 

When asked about the purpose of the group project and the lack of rules and guidelines given to the students, Ms. Andrew said, "They had to figure out how to work together, negotiate, and come to some sort of consensus. I wanted them to be creative and rules limit creativity." 

An anonymous statement given in the course feedback said, "Good overall structure. We finally realized that some things were up to us to figure out and that we needed to work together and actually be leaders, not just read and study about leadership." 

The class has ultimately been marked as a huge success that will continue to enrich the leadership styles for civilian employees and broaden their understanding of the various career fields working together to accomplish daily missions at Altus AFB for years to come. "It exceeded my expectations, the group was fantastic," said Ms. Andrew. "The fact that people are willing to compete to get in says a lot about the program," said Mr. Nicolls. 

The next class has already been selected, and will soon gain similar influential experiences and diverse lessons on leadership. 

For more information about Leadership Altus Air Force Base contact Brenda Andrew at (580) 481-7537.