Advice for new E-7

earlwellmanearlwellman Member Posts: 645 ✭✭✭✭
edited April 2006 in US Military Veteran Forum
Just promoted to AF MSgt 1 April and need some advice.
I am now in a new, fast paced, "get the planes fixed" management position. I am now the boss of former peers and get some grief when it comes time to get 'er done. I also have sillyvilians (civilian workers) under me. The problem is that sometimes I can't find how not to be a harda$$ . I get the "why are we doing this" and other gripes that I don't have time to explain every time.
Things aint the same as when I came up, Unions and civilian workers have ruined the younger GI's. They don't realize that there will be times that you will be told to do something and will have to just do it "now" or bad things will happen. I understand that this is mostly an AF frailty. I was AFSOC for 10 years and worked with the army a lot. On deployments with them, I never saw an E-5 second guess an order from an E-7 in front of an E-2.
How do I come off that I mean business and not have these guys shut down on me? I want them to repect and listen to me by my actions not my "roof" as they call it in the AF. I want to be a true MSgt and not just an E-7.

True advice, no trolls please.



  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Respect for the person has to be earned, but respect for the rank should be a given. I don't know how to answer this question...you don't have this problem in the Army. Your situation may not change until you are transfered to another unit where less folks know you on a personal basis...Good luck and thank you for your service!
  • FEENIXFEENIX Member Posts: 10,557 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I spent my first 10 years in the AF in the flightline (avionics). I do not know your workcenter historical background but here's my 2-pence. Don't be too quick to do the blame game and have an honest assessment of the situation, and most esp. of yourself. Remember, respect is earned, not issued. They might call you sir, but that does not mean they respect you. Make sure everyone understand the overall mission and expectations. You lead people and manage programs. Leadership is an action, not a position.

    Regardless hom many stripes you have on your sleeves, you cannot order them to respect you. Have an open mind, know your people very well, find out what makes them tick, show you care, etc ...

    You take care of your people, and your people will take care of the mission. People is your best resource, not the planes.

    Good luck!
  • MN HunterMN Hunter Member Posts: 2,299
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by earlwellman
    On deployments with them, I never saw an E-5 second guess an order from an E-7 in front of an E-2.

    not to be a smartass or anything, BUT my experience with the AF is exactly as how you describe it. rank was not an issue, ive had majors call me scott, instead of RANK_LNAME, and they expected/didnt mind being called 'hank' or whatever instead of sir or MAJ_LNAME sir.

    my stint in the marine corps, there was zero insubordination. i never once saw any NCO second guess a SNCO EVER and i never saw a NONNCO second guess a NCO...EVER when i was a non-rate, it was mostly listen or get your * kicked (well not literally, but your life would be living hell)

    i dont know if its the laxed attitude with the AF, which is perfectly fine. but on the other hand ive never heard of anyone in the AF getting charged with disprespect to a nco or a snco (both punishable under UCMJ, but i forget the article) not that it always happened in the MC, but it did and would happen if a non-rate wouldnt listen to a SNCO or not follow an order...and they would also get worked over by their NCOIC.

    like eric and feenix said, respect has to be earned. if that fails, resort to physical pain, late nights, long runs (which is more than 4 blocks [;)][:D]), early mornings, more long runs. that and take away their contract billeting/chow hall (which was my fav. of the AF..having someone clean your room.... ahhhh) CONGRATS!

    now dont get me started on the army...uggghhhh [}:)][;)][:D]
  • Red223Red223 Member Posts: 7,946
    edited November -1
    The AF has changed. If some airmen/nco second guess's your request make them give you 20 push ups off the bat. Your break down in the chain will be fixed with a quick meeting with your E-5's. Remind them they are charged with being NCO's and you expect them to NOT be buddies with the airmen but be LEADERS. If they fail to do so, make it reflect in their EPR's and shape those bad NCO's into what the country needs.

    REWARD those that do it right.

    REQUIRE mandatory uniform inspections and let them know just as they are going home they are getting a surprise inspection in the morning.

    Delegate responsibility and manage programs by inspecting what you charged NCO's with doing.

    Go to Civilian Personnel and get the job descriptions of your civilians. Study it. Require them to do what the paper says. They are not entitled to 1 hour lunches or 30 minute breaks. Remind them of what THEY are entitled to and if they break it....make it reflect in their appraisals. Make sure you held atleast 2-3 meetings with them with what YOU expect of them and what they are REQUIRED to do.

    UNIONS have no power unless Senior NCO's screw up and have no idea what they are doing.

    ""Things aint the same as when I came up, Unions and civilian workers have ruined the younger GI's.""

    This is not true. There are now less Civilians in the military and they ain't smokin wacky weed or cigarettes all day like they used to. Younger GI's are ruined now because NCO's are playing secretary and have less time to supervise (place foot up rears) of the troops. Plus all the bonuses have given Airmen 'Supermodel' mindsets. Bring them back to reality. Airmen work salary and are not entitled to 40 hour work weeks. Civil Service GS positions are salary. Civil Service Wage Grade's are paid by the hour and are entitled to only 40 hours per week.

    A true Senior NCO knows what his limits are and holds everyone to what their requirements are.
  • sarge_3adsarge_3ad Member Posts: 8,387
    edited November -1
    FEENIX is correct, take care of the soldier and they'll take care of you. You must always stay on top of any problems they may have, so they can perform thier duties. As a NCO, I was expected to know everything about my soldiers, their families, ect. Once at a promotion board, I was even asked if I knew what color carpet private so and so had in his room. They figured if I knew that then I was spending the time taking care of my soldiers. You Have to be superman, and always be one step ahead of them. You have to know all, and respectfully show it. Be able to do anything that is expected of them, better than they could ever do. Be straight with them and don't lie to get them to do task. Stop rumors before they get started, and get the facts to them quickly. If a soldier screws up, handle it yourself instead of running to the command. Give them corrective training if need be. Punishment should be fair and pertain to what was at fault. For example: if you have a group of soldiers who can not get to formation on time, hold a special formation for them like on Friday night at 2200hrs. Be there, Be Sharp, and explain the reasons why it's important for them to be on time. Friday night at 2200hrs, they'll wish they were out with the fellas. It takes alot of work but it works and it makes you shine in front of your command. If you have junior NCO's giving you trouble then have a professional developement class and refresh their minds on leadership. I'm sure there are FM's for you to use on Leadership. You'll need to set your NCO's straight first.
  • sandwarriorsandwarrior Member Posts: 5,599
    edited November -1

    Congratulations on E-7.
    Understand that there is a big difference between your MOS and those giving advice. I was a Ranger in the Army and that would definitely reflect what had been said in previous posts. Back when I was in wall-to-wall counseling was required at times. We had the luxury then of saying 'get with the program or get out'. We didn't care if it was somewhere else in the Army or out entirely.
    Nowdays I'm pretty much your civilian counterpart. I work in maintenance control with a part 121 Airline. It's way different in that the younger people with 2-3 years are your best asset for getting the work done. My thing with this is to determine if the individual is balking because it's a safety or improperly documented situation with an aircraft. In which case you are going to have to learn to put to use the management skills you've refined to get to E-7, break the problem down and find the right solution, i.e. t/s, correcting paperwork, time changes and managing when you can get those done. If it's because the individual is lazy you have every right and responsibility to do as mentioned in previous posts. Your ability to maintain discipline depends on it. Start working that individual under direct supervision. Warn him about insubordination and if it happens take appropriate action. It's not really being a hardass...It's motivation. When you lead you will find that motivation from both ends is necessary at times. Some need a kick in the butt, forward or out, and others need a direction and they will take you where you need to go.
    As for the civilians the rules apply too. Hold the line with them as far as what you expect. When things come up unexpectedly and take extra time to clear or circumvent, document the situation as you go. If never hurts to have a clear reason what the timeline was for it not happening when Col. so-and-so said have this A/C ready. Sometimes it's not feasible. He won't believe it though when he walks in the hangar and ten people are standing around. Something to think about too is when you feel the situation is a bit overwhelming it doesn't hurt to have the CSM/Chief Master Sergeant come around. They know he means business and that allows you to focus on some of the more minute details without babysitting certain individuals. -I'm sure I could go on and on but good luck with this.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    i beg to differ, 'take care of your men' wont always make them take care of you. and that by the way isnt loyality, its give and take, which means you must buy their loyality by giving them something when they only deserve a leather boot up their *.
    my best advice is enroll in a college level management course and learn about the science of humans and management styles.
    learn about type a and b personalities and the historical record of military management styles. be taught how foriegn techniques have influenced traditional styles of leadership with all the postive and negitive effects.
    for you to find the right answer here is like looking for a needle in a haystack. sadly, even if you do find a system that works, personel change and you must reapply entirely new methods all over again. and if you dont know them or recognize the stereotypes involved, it can be a total failure. regards...the Chief has spoken.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • codenamepaulcodenamepaul Member Posts: 2,931
    edited November -1
    Buy Neaderthals At Work and

    Zapped,The Lightning of Empowerment (actually 3 book series)

    These will help.

    These are not your friends (if they were) anymore. Start by coming down hard, stay on them, and back off when they get in line. This will take a few months.
  • earlwellmanearlwellman Member Posts: 645 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Thanx a lot all, used a little of the advice given and it worked well so far. Put things in a friendly tone of what was and wasn't going to fly with me. Put in terms "this is your last freeby". I also intentionally asked the opinion of the younger guys and explained to them the bigger picture. GOOD DAY HAD BY ALL, I THINK!!.

  • codenamepaulcodenamepaul Member Posts: 2,931
    edited November -1
    Good so far-communication is key. By asking the troops you got some "buy in" this means they have a stake in your success as well as their own. Sounds like you started on the right track. Congrats and good luck.
  • rogue_robrogue_rob Member Posts: 7,522
    edited November -1
    quote:If some airmen/nco second guess's your request make them give you 20 push ups off the bat. Your break down in the chain will be fixed with a quick meeting with your E-5's. Remind them they are charged with being NCO's and you expect them to NOT be buddies with the airmen but be LEADERS. If they fail to do so, make it reflect in their EPR's and shape those bad NCO's into what the country needs.

    What Red said. (coming from an Active duty E-7)

    Congratulations btw
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