Performance feedback is your fix for "I didn't know"

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Greg Curtis
  • First Sergeant, 452 LRS
Does your supervisor ever take the time to tell you if you are doing a good job?

Does he or she stop to help you identify areas in your performance where you may need help and guide you through a plan to become proficient in those areas?

As our lives get busier and we are asked to do more with less, it is critical for better job performance that communication is ongoing and two-way.

As a first sergeant, I have come across numerous situations where Airmen did not know what was expected of them or were given no standards for their jobs. This lack of communication and feedback always creates a problem down the road that first sergeants have to deal with.

The Air Force has a system in place to help Airmen and supervisors alleviate this 'I didn't know' attitude.

The Airman and Noncommissioned Officer Performance Feedback System is used to explain duty performance requirements and responsibilities, establish expectations and rate performance based on that criteria.

Formal and informal feedback are essential for the growth of all Airmen. However, formal feedback should not take the place of the latter. Informal, daily conversation concerning
performance should be used to build cohesive working relationships, whereas formal feedback should ask three specific questions:

1. Where do you need to be? This area describes specific job or career expectations the supervisor requires of you.

2. How are you doing? This is where the supervisor rates your performance based on the expectations in the first section.

3. What is your plan of attack? You and your supervisor can create a plan to develop your job and career.

Notice that the final section is for you and your supervisor. This is a team effort which allows you to learn from your supervisor's experience yet establish your own career goals at the same time.

Although formal feedback is only required once per year, you may ask for a feedback session with your supervisor at any time to address areas of concern you may have. The supervisor may also provide you with a feedback session at any time to get you back on track if need be.

Performance feedback is one of many tools we all should be using to become better Airmen. Communication is essential. Take the time to become familiar with the tools available to make you a better supervisor and pave the way for those who follow.

Make the time to learn all you can about how to best develop your career. Feedback is a start, but like almost anything, it won't work if you don't take the time to work it.

For more information on performance feedback, refer to Air Force Pamphlet 36-2627.